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View Diary: Apple and Foxconn to improve working conditions and hours (51 comments)

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  •  Which makes their entire claim of needing to build (4+ / 0-)

    the device overseas a load of horse apples. So Apple finally agrees to pay a bit more than slave wages but refuses to create American manufacturing jobs. Wow, I'm gonna rush out and get me an iPhony right now.

    "What profit a man, if he gain the world, but has to pay taxes on it?" Paul 8:36

    From the Gospel of St. Ron Paul in the Teachings and Misunderstandings of the Words of Adam Smith

    by ontheleftcoast on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 02:23:04 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  No, not really (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Native Light, billmosby

      Apple never claimed that wages were the reason why they manufacture their products overseas. It's because of manufacturing flexibility (the ability to reconfigure production lines and workers as changes to products demand) and proximity to factories of components. In addition to the assembly of the devices (which is what FoxConn does for Apple, I believe), there's also production of components like the LCDs, batteries, and silicon. That all happens in Asia, and much of that in China.

      •  And of course none of that could be done here (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Native Light, randomfacts

        American employees aren't capable of reconfiguring production lines or meeting demands of varying products. And those other components can't be built here either. Well, they would cost more if the toxic waste disposal wasn't "dump it around back" so there's that aspect of it. Sorry, I'm not buying the Apple-washing excuses. This is a cheap PR stunt from Apple. The whole electronics industry needs an overhaul, and Apple has the means to make a real difference. If not them, who? If not now, when? Ooh, but the new iPad has a higher resolution screen! Shiny!

        "What profit a man, if he gain the world, but has to pay taxes on it?" Paul 8:36

        From the Gospel of St. Ron Paul in the Teachings and Misunderstandings of the Words of Adam Smith

        by ontheleftcoast on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 04:05:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  What? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          We're not just talking about Apple's production here. We're also talking about the manufacturing for all the component parts. Which Apple buys from other companies, who all have their manufacturing there. So, Samsung, Toshiba, LG, STMicroelectronics, WinTek, all those companies build their things there.  Instead of jus going and ordering parts from a factory a couple miles away, you're shipping stuff from across the globe. Instead of getting parts you need, say screws or whatever, from nearby in a day, you get them in a couple weeks.

          This isn't a simple thing with a single quick solution and one entity that can fix it all. The US gave up manufacturing of these kinds of products a long time ago, for a variety of reasons, and bring it back isn't a quick fix for a single company.

          •  Of course it's not a quick fix (0+ / 0-)

            But there are companies, companies without $100 billion in cash floating around, that are trying to do it. Early this year a company started making LCD monitors in the US. Apple deserves to be called out precisely because they are the one company in the nation that could make a difference on this front. If they gave a damn about American manufacturing they'd do it. Just throwing their hands up and saying "It's hard" means they're part of the problem, not part of the solution.

            "What profit a man, if he gain the world, but has to pay taxes on it?" Paul 8:36

            From the Gospel of St. Ron Paul in the Teachings and Misunderstandings of the Words of Adam Smith

            by ontheleftcoast on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 05:41:34 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Are the LCDs made in the US? (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              drmonkey, where4art

              Maybe you should check your facts. I know of no US company with the technology or resources to manufacture large, high resolution LCDs and the investment in a factory to produce them is on the order of 2 Billion Dollars plus.

              I'm willing to bet they buy the LCD panels for Asian sources, where the industry is located.

              The US has a small handful of LCD plant manufacturing small displays for Military/Aerospace applications, and even most of those come from Japan.

              BYW, the Clinton Administrations program to revive LCD manufacturing in the US was a mis-guided, dismal failure since US LCD technology trailed Japanese by a decade by the time it started.

              As I noted up-tread, this is really not as simple as it seems.


              What about my Daughter's future?

              by koNko on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 06:02:11 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  The reasons why many companies left the US is so (0+ / 0-)

                they can pollute the environment without being penalized.  Many countries in southeast Asia have no regulations or the regulation are not inforced.  The solvents used in the assembly of electrical components are very damaging to the environment.

          •  So how about (0+ / 0-)

            Shipping those component parts to the US and then making the ipads here?  Sooner or later, the elements have to cross the ocean, either as completed ipads or component parts.  

            Yes, it's not a quick fix, but if one of the arguments is that a company has to wait a couple of weeks for the parts, then the counter-argument is that the completed product is now days, perhaps hours, away from the consumer.

            •  Only about 1/3... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Sky Net, Wham Bam

              ...of Apple's revenues come from the "Americas" -- which, of course includes much more than just the United States. And, in the long term, I would bet that Apple is looking for more growth in emerging markets other than the United States.

              I can't find numbers for this, but I'm pretty sure a substantial (probably a majority?) percentage of Apple employees ARE in the United States - and at high paying jobs (esp. engineering). Their manufacturing is, of course, contracted out so those are not their employees.

              If Apple were to centralize both their engineering and contract manufacturing in the United States, any other country that they sold product in could complain about the lack of local labor content just as vigorously as those who object to Apple contracting with Chinese companies for their manufacturing. Personally, I think the United States gets the good end of this deal by Apple keeping many of the high paid engineering jobs in the United States rather than shipping those jobs overseas and focusing on manufacturing in the United States.

              Although I'm no expert on manufacturing, there are likely good reasons to want to centralize manufacturing for a global product line in one geographical area. Centralization would likely simplify bringing new products up as engineers would not need to communicate and coordinate changes to multiple sites. It would likely increase the consistency of quality control. It would likely reduce supply chain costs. It would likely reduce training costs (one language etc...) and increase efficiency of knowledge transfer.

              As far as shipping the discrete parts to the US instead of the completed products, it seems to be a more difficult logistics problem. If a single shipment of critical chips required for every iPhone gets delayed, you can't build ANY iPhones until the shipment arrives. If a single shipment of completed iPhones gets delayed, the rest of the world/region still gets their iPhones - much less impact.

        •  Apple doesn't have the technology (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          where4art, billmosby, randomfacts

          They buy it. Apple is a fabless company. They design and market products, not manufacture them.

          Without strategic technology they get from non-American companies, they would not exist. Of course, they also depend on technology from American companies too (including their own), but, for example, those displays come from Japanese (Sharp) and Korean (LG) companies.

          LCDs were invented in the US but very few were ever produced there, this was technology developed primarily in Japan and then transplanted to Korea, Taiwan and China (low end small LCDs).

          If you really want to understand this, I suggest you read the book "We were burning" by Bob Johnstone, published 13 years ago, but long after the cows left the barn.

          What about my Daughter's future?

          by koNko on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 05:50:50 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  But they used to be... (0+ / 0-)

            ...a manufacturing company as well as a design and marketing house.   Like many of their competitors, they made the decision to get out of manufacturing and contract that work out.  

            Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

            by TexasTom on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 10:21:17 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  It's not that simple (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      where4art, billmosby, randomfacts

      The global supply chain of parts and services is predominantly Asian. American manufacturers started abandoning consumer electronics manufacturing in the 1970's and by the 1980's it was essentially out of the business, long before Chinese labor entered the picture.

      Consequently, the US lacks a manufacturing base that would require hundreds of billions of dollars to reproduce, and perhaps more importantly, the technology and IP.

      People like to complain Chinese have taken American jobs in this sector but that is hardly the case; the manufacturers with the largest share of value contribution to Apple products are primarily Japanese, Korean and Taiwanese (including Foxconn, who employs most of the Chinese workers).

      BTW, just about any phone you would buy is assembled in China, Taiwan, Korea or Japan, but primarily China. As far as I know, the last US factory making such products was Motorola Libertyville, which ceased production around the turn of the century.

      With the notable exception of a few IC producers such as Intel, American don't contribute much manufacturing to these products, but the value of those parts is relatively high and actually accounts for more value-added than Chinese labor.

      Pretty much the last nail in the coffin was the Dot Com Bubble and Crash which induced the few remaining American companies in the business to abandon lower value consumer products for higher margin IT infrastructure products, and when that market crashed, it took many companies and jobs along with it.

      What about my Daughter's future?

      by koNko on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 05:38:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Apple did manufacture in the U.S. early on... (0+ / 0-)

        ... but the web is being pretty uncooperative as I try to find out when that stopped. I wonder if the original iMac was made in the U.S.? I remember being a little bit surprised when I bought a lampshade iMac and noted that the shipping company tracking started out in Taiwan. I don't remember my lime-colored original iMac coming from overseas, but that memory's getting kind of old and unreliable.

        Do you have any info on manufacturing locations over time?

        Moderation in most things.

        by billmosby on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 10:29:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I can answer most of your questions (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Apple had factories in Fremont and Sacramento, CA, Fountain, CO, Carrolton, TX, Cork Ireland (still a service center) and Singapore. I'm personally familiar with the Sacramento, Singapore and Cork plants, from about 1990 onward.

          iMac was manufactured in Singapore.

          Carrolton, TX and Cork, Ireland opened in 1980. Carrolton was before my time and manufactured only Apple II as far as I know. I don't know when it closed. Singapore opened in 1981.

          Fremont was started in 1984 to manufacture the first generation Mac and closed in 1992, when Fountain and Sacramento were opened (the latter was actually a replacement/expansion of the Fremont operation).

          Fountain was sold-off to Apple subcontractor SCI (now Flextronics) in 1996 and stopped manufacturing Apple product soon after. I never visited but know this was, at peak, the largest Apple plant.

          Sacramento started in 1992 and closed in 2004, at which time Singapore and Cork ceased production of box build, becoming service centers.

          Only the Cork, Ireland facility remains as a service and and logistics center, and this was the last Apple factory operating as a box build plant ending with the G2 MacPro, although it still does MacPro system integration, and was the integration site for X-san servers until they were discontinued.

          Singapore was the largest pant for notebooks and iMacs, Cork, the most highly integrated in terms of product mix and  business functions, becoming and remaining to this day Apple's international (ex-USA) headquarters.

          Apple's organization and culture were not ideal for manufacturing and I personally think Jobs made the right decision to go fabless, and concentrate on design, which they excel at. In any case, they didn't have much choice as their US manufacturing plants were piled to the rafters with dead inventory and bleeding red ink at the time he returned.

          Manufacturing is a tough way to make a living.

          What about my Daughter's future?

          by koNko on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 08:05:07 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thanks! (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            I had a 128k Mac about as soon after they came out as I could get one. I well remember the highly-touted Fremont factory. And I remember hearing about Cork back in the day, also. But from there it got a bit hazy.

            Moderation in most things.

            by billmosby on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 11:35:06 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Is there some reason I can't rec this? (0+ / 0-)

            I get no option to rec or hide any of your comments. Everyone else, yes. You, no buttons.

            Something I'm missing?

            The problem with going with your gut as opposed to your head is that the former is so often full of shit. - Randy Chestnut

            by lotusmaglite on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 12:42:01 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

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