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Apple CEO Tim Cook  (Source: siliconbeat.com)
He said it's important to create jobs both abroad and in the U.S.

In an extensive interview with Businessweek, which was released today, Apple CEO Tim Cook confirmed that some Mac production would be moved to the United States in 2013.

Earlier this week, a report from CNN Money revealed an iMac purchase with the label "Computer Assembled in USA" on it. A reader by the name Aaron Gong had bought the 21-inch iMac in a San Jose, California Apple Store just last weekend.

However, another iMac buyer purchased the same unit at the Manhattan Apple Store last week, and it had the expected "Assembled in China" label. Clearly, Apple wasn't moving all Mac production to the U.S., but it sparked some speculation.

Now, Cook said himself that some Mac production will, indeed, make its way to the U.S. next year. He also noted that other parts, such as the iPhone's processor, is from the United States as well (Texas, to be exact).

"It’s not known well that the engine for the iPhone and iPad is made in the U.S., and many of these are also exported—the engine, the processor," said Cook in the interview. "The glass is made in Kentucky. And next year we are going to bring some production to the U.S. on the Mac. We’ve been working on this for a long time, and we were getting closer to it. It will happen in 2013. We’re really proud of it."

Businessweek further asked what it meant for an American company like Apple to be "patriotic." In other words, how important is it to bring production to the U.S. despite it being cheaper overseas?

"I do feel we have a responsibility to create jobs," said Cook. "I don’t think we have a responsibility to create a certain kind of job, but I think we do have a responsibility to create jobs. I think we have a responsibility to give back to the communities, to pick ways that we can do that … and not just in the U.S., but abroad as well.

"I’ve never thought a company’s measurement of job creation should be limited to the number of employees working directly for them. That’s a very old-time way of measuring. Our iOS platform allows developers to work as entrepreneurs and sell their applications to a worldwide market that didn’t exist previously. The mobile software industry was nascent before the iPhone. Now you’ve got hundreds of thousands of developers out there.

"Unlike other companies—at least I know of no other large companies—almost all of our R&D is sitting in California. It’s a part of our model. We do this because it’s important for people to run into each other and discuss ideas and collaborate. We’re building a multibillion-dollar headquarters to house them in what we think will be the center of creativity. We’re building a campus in Austin for people in Texas. We’re building three data centers—adding to the one we have in Maiden [N.C.] and establishing new sites in Oregon and in Nevada."

Source: Businessweek



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RE: So the question is.....
By PedroDaGr8 on 12/6/2012 6:23:10 PM , Rating: 3
There is more to manufacturing than just labor cost or materials cost or transport cost. There are a lot of intangibles that go along with having your manufacturing in the same country (let alone hemisphere) as your engineering.

Read this telling quote from a story in the Atlantic about GE returning a large amount of its appliance manufacturing back to once (more or less) dormant GE Appliance Park in Louisville, KY:
quote:
The GeoSpring in particular, Nolan says, has “a lot of copper tubing in the top.” Assembly-line workers “have to route the tubes, and they have to braze them—weld them—to seal the joints. How that tubing is designed really affects how hard or easy it is to solder the joints. And how hard or easy it is to do the soldering affects the quality, of course. And the quality of those welds is literally the quality of the hot-water heater.” Although the GeoSpring had been conceived, designed, marketed, and managed from Louisville, it was made in China, and, Nolan says, “We really had zero communications into the assembly line there.”

To get ready to make the GeoSpring at Appliance Park, in January 2010 GE set up a space on the factory floor of Building 2 to design the new assembly line. No products had been manufactured in Building 2 since 1998. An old GE range assembly line still stood there; after a feud with union workers, that line had been shut down so abruptly that the GeoSpring team found finished oven doors still hanging from conveyors 30 feet overhead. The GeoSpring project had a more collegial tone. The “big room” had design engineers assigned to it, but also manufacturing engineers, line workers, staff from marketing and sales—no management-labor friction, just a group of people with different perspectives, tackling a crucial problem.

“We got the water heater into the room, and the first thing [the group] said to us was ‘This is just a mess,’?” Nolan recalls. Not the product, but the design. “In terms of manufacturability, it was terrible.”

The GeoSpring suffered from an advanced-technology version of “IKEA Syndrome.” It was so hard to assemble that no one in the big room wanted to make it. Instead they redesigned it. The team eliminated 1 out of every 5 parts. It cut the cost of the materials by 25 percent. It eliminated the tangle of tubing that couldn’t be easily welded. By considering the workers who would have to put the water heater together—in fact, by having those workers right at the table, looking at the design as it was drawn—the team cut the work hours necessary to assemble the water heater from 10 hours in China to two hours in Louisville .

In the end, says Nolan, not one part was the same . So a funny thing happened to the GeoSpring on the way from the cheap Chinese factory to the expensive Kentucky factory: The material cost went down. The labor required to make it went down. The quality went up. Even the energy efficiency went up. GE wasn’t just able to hold the retail sticker to the “China price.” It beat that price by nearly 20 percent. The China-made GeoSpring retailed for $1,599. The Louisville-made GeoSpring retails for $1,299.

Source: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/1...

The story goes on to mention that they moved a dishwasher line back to Appliance Park. They got a team of factory line workers and engineers together to reimagine the dishwasher line. They said to cut costs where you can but that no one would lose their job from the cuts. The team ended up cutting 35% of the line. Another team was then asked what part of the dishwasher did they want to bring back in house. The 35% were then moved to that line.

I think that the tide is slowly changing as companies realize there is more to manufacturing than just labor costs.


"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007

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