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Remember the "nooks and crannies" in the Thomas's English Muffins? Apparently the know-how of getting these during the baking process is a huge trade secret no less than Coca Cola's secret formula ! One report suggests that the baking secret of "nooks and crannies" is known only to 7 people in the company and Chris Boticella is being legally prevented from walking away to a job with Twinkie makers Hostess Brands.
For some reason we tend to unfairly dismiss low-tech industries like food as not having great know-how. The only thing low-tech about any industry is the pace of change. It's just that for a while industries like computing and biotech have have been changing rapidly. R&D happens quickly in these industries and generally the scientists have a very specific advanced research background as do the managers. For example IBM and Apple had similar issues regarding scalable processors when iPhone 4 lead Mark Papermaster had moved to Apple.
Low tech industries involve slow change as individual customers really don't want to try a different random type of muffin or bagel every day. It takes years to get everything right . And to arrive at that winning muffin or twinkie is not easy and is very very valuable for the company that has got its product,marketing and distribution all finely tuned.