Factors Involved in Pencil Making
Pencils are ubiquitously used as writing tools. Discovered in the late 1400s, pencils are the oldest writing tools still in existence today. Pencils are made from wood and graphite and the process of pencil making has been refined for years. Currently, the pencil-making process in America is mechanized with pencil companies churning out thousands of pencils daily. A critical analysis of pencil making and distribution reveals that many factors are involved to ensure that the average American student has access to a pencil.
The primary factors required for the making of a pencil are the key raw materials of wood and graphite. Wood is found through the exploitation of forests through lumbering. Graphite, on the other hand, is extracted from the earth through mining and is, therefore, a natural raw material that is susceptible to depletion. Therefore, the process of pencil making at its most basic involves activities such as mining and lumbering and the transportation of the raw materials to the pencil-making factories (Payne & Anderson, 2018). Wood has no substitute as a raw material in the process of pencil making. Natural carbon, however, can be substituted by artificially made carbon. The hampering of wood and carbon supply to the pencil factories, being essential raw materials in the manufacture of pencils, would lead to an immediate negative effect on pencil manufacturing if disrupted.
The finished pencil has to be distributed from the factories to the retailers who are much closer to consumers. This involves the transportation of pencils. Pencils are mostly distributed by roads due to their bulky nature and therefore pencil producers rely on good roads to minimize transportation costs and to ensure timely distribution. Besides, the road pencil makers rely on proper telecommunication infrastructure such as telephones to communicate with their retailers, consumers, and shareholders (Payne & Anderson, 2018). Transport and telecommunication infrastructure are of essence for pencil making and also lack substitutes. If the infrastructure supporting both transport and telecommunication is hampered then there would be an immediate negative effect on the making and distribution of pencils.
Government is not only involved in pencil making through the provision of auxiliary services such as the requisite infrastructure but also through the provision of essential services. The government is involved in pencil making from the factory to when the pencil is purchased and used by the ordinary consumer. The government provides patents and legal rights to the pencil factories to mine and exploit the relevant raw materials needed for making pencils. The government is also involved in the regulation of the pencil-making factory through policies and laws. The government imposes requisite taxes on the finished pencil therefore subtly determining the price of the pencil. Moreover, the government maintains peace, law, and order within the country’s territory to ensure that the pencil-making distribution process is smoothly carried out. The influence and effect of the government over the pencil-making and distribution process is vital and has no substitute. If government services affecting the process of making pencils are disrupted then there would be a delayed effect that would hamper the production of pencils in the course of several weeks or months.
Pencils are requirements in the learning process and are always deemed insignificant items largely due to their cheap costs. However, there are numerous activities, infrastructures, and resources that go into their production.
Payne, C., & Anderson, S. (2018, January 12). Inside One of America’s Last Pencil Factories. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/12/magazine/inside-one-of-americas-last-pencil-factories.html