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Old 05-29-2020, 09:00 AM
 
4,516 posts, read 3,907,405 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Therblig View Post
I think you have that backwards. Other than as related to manufacturing, can you point to significant innovation outside the US and other 'importer' countries?

We design, they build, we buy. No?
Samsung is pretty innovative. I think they actually do have some U.S. based R&D, but their main engineering and R&D is in Korea. Their consumer electronics, chips, and appliances are world class and I'm pretty sure they design them, not Americans.

Maybe up until recently, we designed most stuff and had the Asians engineer/tool/build it for us. But they have PhD's and brilliant engineers and very smart entrepreneurs. In about a year or two, they'll be doing the designing, too. It's not like they're brain damaged and have no creativity or zeal for coming up with new ideas.

In the software field, I can tell you that outsourcing has fostered tremendously smart programmers in south Asia and eastern Europe. The U.S. was once the supreme software creator, and today it's more of the managerial center, with some light coding, while the serious software engineering is done elsewhere. To our detriment.

Hardware really went downhill decades ago. When I was starting college in the late 1970s, my uncle who was an EE working for some defense contractor told me to stay away from the field. He said they offer you a great salary right out of college to lure you in, but it doesn't really rise that much, they work you to the bone, and your job ends as soon as the product cycle is over.

Somehow, the Asians, particularly the Japanese, found a way to keep their engineers continuously employed and not screw them the way our companies did. We need to learn from them. Well, you could argue, we needed to learn from them 40 years ago.
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Old 05-29-2020, 09:23 AM
 
Location: Western NY
665 posts, read 718,723 times
Reputation: 795
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkyDog77 View Post
No no no.

Production costs alone don’t win the battle. Again, they are table stakes. If your cost basis is much higher than your competitors’ you can lose, but having production costs under control is only part of an overall winning strategy.

Apple has a great overall strategy AND keeps their production costs under control.
Focusing on production costs is a losing battle, not just "not a winning strategy" it is the battle to the bottom of the trash heap. This is why so many US companies FAIL at electronics. What they think is to focus on a pure "cutting to win" strategy. It is ONLY short term victory if indeed it produces any victory at all. But in long run it fails in electronics. Cutting to win is a purely failed strategy I would say, from TVs to stereos, to all electronics. In the '98 to 2010 timeframe Motorola had R&D and production in the same plants (maybe not all but in the ones I was in), and it worked. The mix always did good things, people in differing units contributed to what you see in the phone of today. They did not need to outsource their production to cheap labor. When they started to do that, they quickly lost to Apple. I watched it happen and I know if they had not focused suddenly on cutting costs by moving plants to cheap labor countries, but instead put those costs and time into releasing what they had in prototype they could have beat Apple. Easily too. You would have a Motorola phone not an iPhone in your pocket if they had not tried to jump into the "cut to win" strategy. Unfortunately, they saw everyone else doing it so they tried and they failed, failed badly, they lost the whole phone market.

We will have to see on Apple. People think separating it into units is good, it keeps costs low and design can still be done (like in super high cost places like California). Not so sure in what I have seen. Sure maybe some things can be outsourced, like loading trucks can be outsourced to UPS or FedEx, but with what I saw by the mix of R&D and production we all win. Not doing that hasn't produced great new iPhones, they are still great products and copies of what Motorola had in prototype, but fundamentally they aren't super advancing these days. Incremental yes. I still buy them, and will buy more often if they move back to USA. But they aren't exactly winning merit awards in production. The stories are pretty bad about how the plants are run. It is true Hon Hai owns those plants, not Apple, and that defers the blame, but come on. Apple can do better than build space ship HQ in expensive CA, then abuse labor in the rest of the world. If Apple wants there are remains of Motorola plants across the USA, some still left as they were when Motorola flopped as nobody wanted the plants. We will see on Apple, I am cautious.
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Old 05-29-2020, 09:30 AM
 
Location: Washington Park, Denver
8,082 posts, read 7,505,926 times
Reputation: 9105
Quote:
Originally Posted by TestEngr View Post
Focusing on production costs is a losing battle, not just "not a winning strategy" it is the battle to the bottom of the trash heap. This is why so many US companies FAIL at electronics. What they think is to focus on a pure "cutting to win" strategy. It is ONLY short term victory if indeed it produces any victory at all. But in long run it fails in electronics. Cutting to win is a purely failed strategy I would say, from TVs to stereos, to all electronics. In the '98 to 2010 timeframe Motorola had R&D and production in the same plants (maybe not all but in the ones I was in), and it worked. The mix always did good things, people in differing units contributed to what you see in the phone of today. They did not need to outsource their production to cheap labor. When they started to do that, they quickly lost to Apple. I watched it happen and I know if they had not focused suddenly on cutting costs by moving plants to cheap labor countries, but instead put those costs and time into releasing what they had in prototype they could have beat Apple. Easily too. You would have a Motorola phone not an iPhone in your pocket if they had not tried to jump into the "cut to win" strategy. Unfortunately, they saw everyone else doing it so they tried and they failed, failed badly, they lost the whole phone market.

We will have to see on Apple. People think separating it into units is good, it keeps costs low and design can still be done (like in super high cost places like California). Not so sure in what I have seen. Sure maybe some things can be outsourced, like loading trucks can be outsourced to UPS or FedEx, but with what I saw by the mix of R&D and production we all win. Not doing that hasn't produced great new iPhones, they are still great products and copies of what Motorola had in prototype, but fundamentally they aren't super advancing these days. Incremental yes. I still buy them, and will buy more often if they move back to USA. But they aren't exactly winning merit awards in production. The stories are pretty bad about how the plants are run. It is true Hon Hai owns those plants, not Apple, and that defers the blame, but come on. Apple can do better than build space ship HQ in expensive CA, then abuse labor in the rest of the world. If Apple wants there are remains of Motorola plants across the USA, some still left as they were when Motorola flopped as nobody wanted the plants. We will see on Apple, I am cautious.
Spoken like a true engineer.

Yes, you have to have a great product first, but you can’t ignore costs and expect to be around very long in a competitive environment.

Apple’s brilliance come from its ecosystem, not just the quality of its phone.
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Old 05-29-2020, 09:39 AM
 
Location: Western NY
665 posts, read 718,723 times
Reputation: 795
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkyDog77 View Post
Spoken like a true engineer.

Yes, you have to have a great product first, but you can’t ignore costs and expect to be around very long in a competitive environment.

Apple’s brilliance come from its ecosystem, not just the quality of its phone.
Motorola was in the communications and phone business, a highly competitive field, from 1928 to roughly 2012, but the cost cutting they saw everyone doing tempted them into essentially death. So they knew, in a competitive environment 1928 till they outsourced, exactly what to do and how to do it. Only when, and exactly when, they decided they had to enter the "cutting to win" strategy did Motorola fail.

Apple is currently in a place where they can move forward to something better as a company, they can probably buy half of Motorolas phone plants in the USA for pennies. If they want they can win for the next 50 years, but they must move forward. I saw the space ship HQ like everyone else, not sure what that buys me. We will have to see, always hopeful on Apple, but also have to see too.
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Old 05-29-2020, 09:46 AM
 
277 posts, read 503,943 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blisterpeanuts View Post
Since the late 1990s, nearly all high tech devices have been manufactured in Asia, initially in Japan, Korea, and Taiwan, later in mainland China, Malaysia, and Vietnam.

Why has this happened, and is it likely that some electronics manufacturing might come back to the West? What obstacles might be preventing this?

I have my own theories, based on general knowledge of current events, but I'm not in the hardware business (well, actually I do work for a company that manufactures various types of devices with factories worldwide, but I'm not on the hardware side).

It seems to me that Westerners have a pretty good grip on research and invention, but when it comes to the nitty gritty of steadily engineering, assembling, and improving fundamental components, we lack long term focus.

The Asians, however, seem to have the patience to do repetitious, detailed work like soldering chips and other parts into tiny circuit boards. Also, they now have almost a total monopoly on chip foundries and other fundamentals of electronic products like LED displays.

This last part puzzles me the most. Why can't someone set up a plant to make LED displays in, say, Florida or Arizona, that is equally competitive, given that the components don't require tremendous hand work? Literally, it could be a machine etching or extruding some kind of material with an almost completely automated process.
I DID work on the manufacturing side for a v-e-r-y well known firm. They simply couldn't afford to compete globally against entities that pay their people slave wages. That and the endless, never ending regulations that have punished American business. On this matter the sitting President is absolutely correct. Globalism has DESTROYED American business.
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Old 05-29-2020, 09:59 AM
 
1,963 posts, read 503,478 times
Reputation: 3165
Quote:
Originally Posted by bungalowdweller View Post
I DID work on the manufacturing side for a v-e-r-y well known firm. They simply couldn't afford to compete globally against entities that pay their people slave wages. That and the endless, never ending regulations that have punished American business. On this matter the sitting President is absolutely correct. Globalism has DESTROYED American business.
Unions, a desire to protect the environment for at least one more generation and consumer demand for the cheapest possible goods being irrelevant.
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Old 05-29-2020, 10:10 AM
 
2,338 posts, read 520,066 times
Reputation: 2027
Quote:
Originally Posted by blisterpeanuts View Post
Since the late 1990s, nearly all high tech devices have been manufactured in Asia, initially in Japan, Korea, and Taiwan, later in mainland China, Malaysia, and Vietnam.

Why has this happened, and is it likely that some electronics manufacturing might come back to the West? What obstacles might be preventing this?

I have my own theories, based on general knowledge of current events, but I'm not in the hardware business (well, actually I do work for a company that manufactures various types of devices with factories worldwide, but I'm not on the hardware side).

It seems to me that Westerners have a pretty good grip on research and invention, but when it comes to the nitty gritty of steadily engineering, assembling, and improving fundamental components, we lack long term focus.

The Asians, however, seem to have the patience to do repetitious, detailed work like soldering chips and other parts into tiny circuit boards. Also, they now have almost a total monopoly on chip foundries and other fundamentals of electronic products like LED displays.

This last part puzzles me the most. Why can't someone set up a plant to make LED displays in, say, Florida or Arizona, that is equally competitive, given that the components don't require tremendous hand work? Literally, it could be a machine etching or extruding some kind of material with an almost completely automated process.
The workforce in manufacturing could not get along. If Florida and Arizona establish a workforce of likeminded culturally the same people, then the goods will be made in America. That’s why the tech sector has done so well in places like SF and Seattle. It is also why China has been good for manufacturing tech goods. Like minds similar types of people getting together to create products. It’s always the people. The only way detail work can get done is without racial, cultural tension. Therefore, it would take a population without any racial or cultural differences.
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Old 05-29-2020, 10:17 AM
 
Location: Washington Park, Denver
8,082 posts, read 7,505,926 times
Reputation: 9105
Quote:
Originally Posted by TestEngr View Post
Motorola was in the communications and phone business, a highly competitive field, from 1928 to roughly 2012, but the cost cutting they saw everyone doing tempted them into essentially death. So they knew, in a competitive environment 1928 till they outsourced, exactly what to do and how to do it. Only when, and exactly when, they decided they had to enter the "cutting to win" strategy did Motorola fail.

Apple is currently in a place where they can move forward to something better as a company, they can probably buy half of Motorolas phone plants in the USA for pennies. If they want they can win for the next 50 years, but they must move forward. I saw the space ship HQ like everyone else, not sure what that buys me. We will have to see, always hopeful on Apple, but also have to see too.
Again, there is more to this than you’re discussing. Have you been to Silicon Valley lately? There is an arms race for talent. Apple’s HQ buys them talent. Buying factories from Motorola doesn’t.

Apple’s strategic/competitive advantage doesn’t come from hardware. Hardware is table stakes.
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Old 05-29-2020, 10:18 AM
 
Location: The Triad (NC)
30,211 posts, read 66,715,215 times
Reputation: 35671
Somebody around here said something that still bears repeating...
(offshoring was not about) just these electronic companies...
virtually every business that was dirty or dangerous or the owner was opposed to union rules.

Had those companies rebuilt in the US you can be certain the new (cleaner & safer) machinery and processes
they would install would require a whole lot FEWER man hours per ton of product output than had been the case before.

The problem is that no one really made this clear to the former workers who continued to produce replacement workers
for jobs that would no longer exist. That excess supply of the no/low skilled has been allowed, even encouraged, to reach epidemic proportion.
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Old 05-29-2020, 10:24 AM
 
1,963 posts, read 503,478 times
Reputation: 3165
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrRational View Post
The problem is that no one really made this clear to the former workers who continued to produce replacement workers for jobs that would no longer exist. That excess supply of the no/low skilled has been allowed, even encouraged, to reach epidemic proportion.
I'm not sure there's much value in continually pointing out a problem that will take two generations to two centuries to solve as the... focal point of solutions.
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