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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Why we outsource manufacturing to China

This article is eye-opening.

There are two key points:

* China has so many people looking for work, in such concentrations, they can put together enormous operations, of both unskilled and highly skilled labor.

* China can change its manufacturing processes to accommodate changes way faster than any American plant. Apple's last minute substitution of "gorilla glass" into the iPhone would have taken months in an American manufacturing plant. In China, it took 6 weeks.

I've heard a lot of politicians lately, from President Obama to the mayor of Parker, talking about the need to get America to start making things again. Maybe there are some ways to do that for small run items, using, I suppose, more highly automated/robotic techniques. But it's hard to imagine how we could gear up to do big time manufacturing -- like consumer phones, tablets, etc. -- with competition like this. It's not that we don't have the knowhow. Ultimately, it comes down to the workforce. I'll have to think more about this one.

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