Mackie Employees to Drop Trou and Resemble Ned Beatty...

Discussion in 'rec.audio.pro' started by Analogeezer, Aug 27, 2003.

  1. Analogeezer

    Analogeezer Guest

    I knew this was up but somehow missed the press release back a month
    ago. I'm sorry for the employees affected by yet another example of
    corporate america...I guess this means we'll be able to buy Mackie
    Control units for $129 this Fall:

    Analogeezer

    p.s. I find it VERY interesting that the opening statement does not
    have the word "manufacturer" in it.



    To Whom It May Concern,

    The purpose of this letter is to make you aware that Mackie has
    entered the final stages of an important transition. We believe this
    transition will further our position as a world-class developer,
    designer and marketer of professional audio products.

    For several years, Mackie has been laying the groundwork to outsource
    the assembly of a number of high-volume products currently produced in
    our Woodinville, Wash. headquarters. This transition will allow Mackie
    to bring more cost-effective and competitive products to market than
    ever before, while also allowing us to invest more resources in key
    areas such as Product Development, Engineering and Industrial Design.

    As a result of this new focus, Mackie has issued notices to
    approximately 200 employees in Woodinville manufacturing who will be
    directly affected by this transition. It is important to understand
    that cessation of Woodinville manufacturing is the next phase in a
    very important and deliberate transition, and not a scaling of
    workforce to revenue, as industry rumors may suggest.

    Manufacturing employees affected by this change will receive
    completion bonuses and severance packages based on years of service.
    They may also be eligible for federal help in the form of extended
    unemployment benefits and retraining benefits.

    As we move forward, Mackie will seek out the best possible resources
    around the world to provide manufacturing expertise equal to our own
    design and engineering talents. In some cases these resources will be
    internal; in some cases they will be sub-contractors carefully
    selected for their ability to meet our world-renowned quality control
    standards.

    In the coming months, Mackie will introduce an unprecedented range of
    new products. These products aim to redefine the pro audio industry
    with truly amazing features and value. These new products are also a
    clear indication of what we will be able to accomplish as a result of
    our new structure.

    Mackie remains committed to the creative horsepower of our
    Engineering, Product Development, Industrial Design and Marketing
    teams, as well as the pace-setting standards of our Sales, Sales
    Admin, Support and Service teams. All of these functions will remain
    fully active at the company's headquarters in Woodinville.

    We feel that we have turned a significant corner at Mackie and are
    once again on the path to growth. We look forward to building on the
    passion and product development talents that have made Mackie an
    industry leader for nearly 15 years.

    Sincerely,

    Jamie Engen
    President and CEO
    Mackie Designs Inc.
  2. nuke

    nuke Guest

    Yeah, they are moving manufacturing offshore.

    I watched a similar story on Nightline a few weeks ago about the furniture
    industry moving to china now. The story featured Hooker Furniture and one of
    their plants in North Carolina.

    The president of Hooker extolled how wonderful his employees were, how they got
    more productive when asked, improved quality when asked yet still couldn't
    compete with the cheap labor in china.

    However, I could not help but notice the footage of the factory floor. Not ONE
    SINGLE bit of new equipment in the plant. They were building stuff just like
    they did in 1950 with puchcarts and hand tools (air tools).

    No CNC, no automation, no robotic spray booths, just a bunch of antiquated
    jack-shit investment in the plant. The stuff they were making was plain old
    mass production crap.

    Hooker is doing 1/3rd of their production in factories in China now. They went
    on about how much cheaper the labor was and so on.

    But the real trick is the plants in China are brand new, fully equipped with
    the latest in automation and production equipment. Hooker invested in the
    chinese plants, but didn't put a dime in the US plants.

    But the story just kind of glossed over that point.

    >I knew this was up but somehow missed the press release back a month
    >ago. I'm sorry for the employees affected by yet another example of
    >corporate america...I guess this means we'll be able to buy Mackie
    >Control units for $129 this Fall:
    >
    >Analogeezer



    --
    Dr. Nuketopia
    Sorry, no e-Mail.
    Spam forgeries have resulted in thousands of faked bounces to my address.
  3. I visited Mackie a few years ago. It was all One Big Happy Family. Really. Or so
    it seemed.

    Mackie was highly automated. It's hard to believe the cost of labor was so high
    a percentage of the final cost that it justified the change.

    I hope their shift to off-shore production will result in lower prices. I mean,
    if you're going to screw people out of their jobs, at least have the common
    decency to pass the savings along to the customers.
  4. Bob Cain

    Bob Cain Guest

    It isn't just manufacturing that this is happening to. Ask
    any design engineer in embedded control, electronics or DSP
    that has found himself looking in the last few years.


    Bob

    Analogeezer wrote:
    >
    > I knew this was up but somehow missed the press release back a month
    > ago. I'm sorry for the employees affected by yet another example of
    > corporate america...I guess this means we'll be able to buy Mackie
    > Control units for $129 this Fall:
    >


    --

    "Things should be described as simply as possible, but no
    simpler."

    A. Einstein
  5. Mike Rivers

    Mike Rivers Guest

    In article <vkqjm2rot4riad@corp.supernews.com> williams@nwlink.com writes:

    > I visited Mackie a few years ago. It was all One Big Happy Family. Really. Or
    > so
    > it seemed.
    >
    > Mackie was highly automated. It's hard to believe the cost of labor was so high
    > a percentage of the final cost that it justified the change.


    Mackie went into automated assembly early on. They made their
    investment and it paid off big time. That's how they got to be as
    successful as they were. But times change. When the competition is
    making a product which, to most customers, is completely
    interchangeable, and doing it for half the price, it's time to move on
    or move out. I'm happy that they're not moving out. At least they
    intend to keep on with the engineering, and being the kind of company
    that they are, they'll continue to be innovative.

    I was working there for a short time about 3 years ago, and it was
    indeed a pretty happy family. I visited there a couple of months ago
    and it's still a pretty happy family, but a much smaller one.




    --
    I'm really Mike Rivers - (mrivers@d-and-d.com)
  6. Arny Krueger

    Arny Krueger Guest

    "William Sommerwerck" <williams@nwlink.com> wrote in message
    news:vkqjm2rot4riad@corp.supernews.com

    > I visited Mackie a few years ago. It was all One Big Happy Family.
    > Really. Or so it seemed.


    > Mackie was highly automated. It's hard to believe the cost of labor
    > was so high a percentage of the final cost that it justified the
    > change.


    > I hope their shift to off-shore production will result in lower
    > prices. I mean, if you're going to screw people out of their jobs, at
    > least have the common decency to pass the savings along to the
    > customers.


    This suggests to me that someone thinks that people are somehow "owed" their
    jobs. Maybe in a true socialist state this could be true, but it's violently
    anti-capitalistic thinking.

    I think that in our heart of hearts most of us would like the world to run
    in a purely socialistic manner - everybody puts in what they could, and
    everybody takes what they want. Regrettably human nature isn't compatible
    with this, as has been proven again and again, since no later than the time
    of Christ.

    When I started looking at production consoles at all seriously, I was struck
    with how uncompetitive Mackie seemed to be in year 2003. Since this was
    their historic bread-and-butter, I suddenly grasped how dire their
    circumstance really was unless they made some striking changes.

    Go into a pro audio store and start turning over boxes and opening boxes
    looking for something that DOESN'T have heavy content made/assembled in
    China. Contemplate the meaning of (consumer) electronic brands like Apex
    that seem to be 100% designed&built you-know-where.

    The handwriting seems to be on the wall - the only part of the audio that
    the U.S. still does better-faster-cheaper than everybody else seems to be
    the basic business of making and producing recorded music.

    I think the moral of the story is don't get to hung up on where the tools
    are made, just devote yourself to benefiting from them the best you can.
  7. You ever worked with wood, nuke? I believe, after some 4 years during high
    school and summers, that my experience at a custom cabinet shop qualifies me
    to say that people working with wood, in old factories with the right jigs
    and the right hand tools, could do a 100% better job than any automation.
    You want automation, go buy Ikea. You want cheap labor, go buy Pier One.
    You want Thomasville, buy from NC antiquated furniture factories (although
    they are usually called shops).

    Sorry, I'm just of the mind that there are some professions that automation
    just can't handle. A robot can't examine a piece of wood for intent. It
    can spot blemishes and flaws, but can't know by looking at the wood just
    what it's going to be good for. A nice old raw plank might not be good for
    a bed frame, but be great for a coffee table with character out the butt.
    Assembly line production may not have quite this level of art with it, but
    still, other than shaving some seconds, a lathe still requires the same
    amount of time to turn a table leg. A table saw can't cut any faster. A
    router can't shape any faster. But there's nothing to say that you couldn't
    have 15 more routers or table saws or lathes and 15 more operators to run
    them.

    I'll bet this Hooker character is a 2nd or 3rd generation family owner with
    his eye on the bottom line and never spent a day in the shop. He probably
    views the shop as a dusty old place full of glue, paint and lacquer smells,
    while his father or grandfather knew every piece of wood he put into a piece
    of furniture.

    But the obvious bottom line in all of this is that the US has to help get
    the rest of the world up to snuff in the world economy so that there's not
    so much disparity in wages. Think about how much investment we're talking
    about. Assuming that some NC company still wants to produce NC pine
    products, they'd have to ship the wood to China, have the wood milled, cut,
    drilled, assembled, sanded and finished and STILL ship it back cheaper than
    they could do it in NC. With all that shipping one wonders if it's the
    numbers that play with people's heads. Cheap labor has to account for 51%
    of the savings just to make that justification viable, because shipping
    costs can't be a positive for the bottom line. In other words, say the
    original factory makes 1000 pieces in a week. Unless there is a significant
    increase in numbers of manufacture, making those same 1000 pieces in China
    and shipping them can't equate to savings. So unless the number of
    manufacture increases 10 fold (and then there's a marketing problem), I
    don't see that the numbers could really work out. Then the question becomes
    whether someone somewhere in the world is going to be looking for that
    Chinese made North Carolina furniture. Perhaps the Fender model works best
    here. Have the more mass produced products at one price point but yet still
    keep Americans employed by making the quality furniture. And it somewhat
    appears to me that the onus has to be on the buying public, too. If Hooker
    were making the sales he wanted of quality furniture, then he'd need not
    shift his workforce to the Chinese. We're a mass produced, crap buying
    public used to throwing everything away in a couple of years, even if it
    still works. Not many of us are buying quality workmanship with an idea
    towards having something like furniture that will last 100 years. Or 400.

    Ah, but that's another rant.

    --


    Roger W. Norman
    SirMusic Studio
    Purchase your copy of the Fifth of RAP CD set at www.recaudiopro.net.
    See how far $20 really goes.




    "nuke" <larrysb@aol.commode> wrote in message
    news:20030827201533.22749.00000022@mb-m23.aol.com...
    > Yeah, they are moving manufacturing offshore.
    >
    > I watched a similar story on Nightline a few weeks ago about the furniture
    > industry moving to china now. The story featured Hooker Furniture and one

    of
    > their plants in North Carolina.
    >
    > The president of Hooker extolled how wonderful his employees were, how

    they got
    > more productive when asked, improved quality when asked yet still couldn't
    > compete with the cheap labor in china.
    >
    > However, I could not help but notice the footage of the factory floor. Not

    ONE
    > SINGLE bit of new equipment in the plant. They were building stuff just

    like
    > they did in 1950 with puchcarts and hand tools (air tools).
    >
    > No CNC, no automation, no robotic spray booths, just a bunch of antiquated
    > jack-shit investment in the plant. The stuff they were making was plain

    old
    > mass production crap.
    >
    > Hooker is doing 1/3rd of their production in factories in China now. They

    went
    > on about how much cheaper the labor was and so on.
    >
    > But the real trick is the plants in China are brand new, fully equipped

    with
    > the latest in automation and production equipment. Hooker invested in the
    > chinese plants, but didn't put a dime in the US plants.
    >
    > But the story just kind of glossed over that point.
    >
    > >I knew this was up but somehow missed the press release back a month
    > >ago. I'm sorry for the employees affected by yet another example of
    > >corporate america...I guess this means we'll be able to buy Mackie
    > >Control units for $129 this Fall:
    > >
    > >Analogeezer

    >
    >
    > --
    > Dr. Nuketopia
    > Sorry, no e-Mail.
    > Spam forgeries have resulted in thousands of faked bounces to my address.
  8. Arny Krueger

    Arny Krueger Guest

    "Roger W. Norman" <rnorman@starpower.net> wrote in message
    news:bikupf$a4c$1@bob.news.rcn.net

    > With all that shipping one wonders if it's the numbers that play with
    > people's heads.


    I think you just stumbled over one of the ways how we've arrived where we
    are today: cheap, fast shipping.
  9. Aha, and if it were just a point of WHERE the tools were made then it would
    probably be a moot point. However, in a lot of things Chinese, we are
    talking about a substandard manufacture. I realize that is pretty general,
    so I'll try to get more specific. Hand tools, for instance. Every Chinese
    hand tool I've had has been substandard. Softer metals in the hammers,
    parts that don't last for the life of the tool, and often a feel that just
    isn't quite right. I just had a relatively new pair of Chinese loppers
    break in my hand the other day. This time I replaced them with good old
    American loppers. The original savings? About $12, but they only lasted
    about a year. Another for instance. I wouldn't put off-the-shelf
    electronics into the next series of NASA's Shuttles. Would you?

    And yeah, I know, supposedly not a good analogy, but think about it this
    way. Computer parts and offshore manufacture. Take IBM for example. They
    moved a lot of their manufacturing to Indonesia and Malaysia, but they also
    built and operated the factories, which is entirely different than what's
    happening today. Or remember substandard memory coming from both Taiwan and
    S. Korea and then the "shortages" due to some fire or something. Those
    shortages were due specifically to faulty manufacture and product not
    working up to snuff, so there were a couple of times when they had to
    re-spec their entire production line.

    So I'd say that it is a point of WHERE products are made because it
    indicates how well they were made.

    --


    Roger W. Norman
    SirMusic Studio
    Purchase your copy of the Fifth of RAP CD set at www.recaudiopro.net.
    See how far $20 really goes.




    "Arny Krueger" <arnyk@hotpop.com> wrote in message
    news:wKWdnXR5KsZFbNCiU-KYgw@comcast.com...
    > "William Sommerwerck" <williams@nwlink.com> wrote in message
    > news:vkqjm2rot4riad@corp.supernews.com
    >
    > > I visited Mackie a few years ago. It was all One Big Happy Family.
    > > Really. Or so it seemed.

    >
    > > Mackie was highly automated. It's hard to believe the cost of labor
    > > was so high a percentage of the final cost that it justified the
    > > change.

    >
    > > I hope their shift to off-shore production will result in lower
    > > prices. I mean, if you're going to screw people out of their jobs, at
    > > least have the common decency to pass the savings along to the
    > > customers.

    >
    > This suggests to me that someone thinks that people are somehow "owed"

    their
    > jobs. Maybe in a true socialist state this could be true, but it's

    violently
    > anti-capitalistic thinking.
    >
    > I think that in our heart of hearts most of us would like the world to run
    > in a purely socialistic manner - everybody puts in what they could, and
    > everybody takes what they want. Regrettably human nature isn't compatible
    > with this, as has been proven again and again, since no later than the

    time
    > of Christ.
    >
    > When I started looking at production consoles at all seriously, I was

    struck
    > with how uncompetitive Mackie seemed to be in year 2003. Since this was
    > their historic bread-and-butter, I suddenly grasped how dire their
    > circumstance really was unless they made some striking changes.
    >
    > Go into a pro audio store and start turning over boxes and opening boxes
    > looking for something that DOESN'T have heavy content made/assembled in
    > China. Contemplate the meaning of (consumer) electronic brands like Apex
    > that seem to be 100% designed&built you-know-where.
    >
    > The handwriting seems to be on the wall - the only part of the audio that
    > the U.S. still does better-faster-cheaper than everybody else seems to be
    > the basic business of making and producing recorded music.
    >
    > I think the moral of the story is don't get to hung up on where the tools
    > are made, just devote yourself to benefiting from them the best you can.
    >
    >
  10. Roger W. Norman <rnorman@starpower.net> wrote:

    > You ever worked with wood, nuke? I believe, after some 4 years during high
    > school and summers, that my experience at a custom cabinet shop qualifies me
    > to say that people working with wood, in old factories with the right jigs
    > and the right hand tools, could do a 100% better job than any automation.
    > You want automation, go buy Ikea. You want cheap labor, go buy Pier One.
    > You want Thomasville, buy from NC antiquated furniture factories (although
    > they are usually called shops).


    When the cost of labor is a large factor in production modern machinery
    and modern assembly system layouts make a huge difference in the final
    cost of the product.

    Indirectly, have you seen the data that shows GM is the world's largest
    HMO and that it sells cars only to support its healthcare costs? That
    when buying a GM car one pays more for worker's pension and benefit
    funds that one does for steel? This is not to dismiss the value of
    pensions and benefits, but it raises questions in my mind about the
    stupidity of our national "health care" and human support systems.

    (Here comes Ty; I better shut up now.)

    --
    ha
  11. "Arny Krueger" <arnyk@hotpop.com> wrote in message
    news:G32dnec9nKmSn9OiU-KYuQ@comcast.com...
    > "Roger W. Norman" <rnorman@starpower.net> wrote in message
    > news:bikupf$a4c$1@bob.news.rcn.net
    >
    > > With all that shipping one wonders if it's the numbers that play with
    > > people's heads.

    >
    > I think you just stumbled over one of the ways how we've arrived where we
    > are today: cheap, fast shipping.



    From today's New York Times, an article about shipping and China:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2003/08/28/business/worldbusiness/28SHIP.html?th
  12. Scott Dorsey

    Scott Dorsey Guest

    Roger W. Norman <rnorman@starpower.net> wrote:
    >You ever worked with wood, nuke? I believe, after some 4 years during high
    >school and summers, that my experience at a custom cabinet shop qualifies me
    >to say that people working with wood, in old factories with the right jigs
    >and the right hand tools, could do a 100% better job than any automation.
    >You want automation, go buy Ikea. You want cheap labor, go buy Pier One.
    >You want Thomasville, buy from NC antiquated furniture factories (although
    >they are usually called shops).


    Right, but that's the issue. People don't want to BUY Thomasville. People
    want to buy Ikea.

    If you are in the market for making a lot of stuff that is all the same as
    cheaply as possible, automation is the way to go. You grind the wood up
    and extrude into sheets of particle board that fall apart after a few years
    to make it possible to use automation.

    >Sorry, I'm just of the mind that there are some professions that automation
    >just can't handle. A robot can't examine a piece of wood for intent. It
    >can spot blemishes and flaws, but can't know by looking at the wood just
    >what it's going to be good for. A nice old raw plank might not be good for
    >a bed frame, but be great for a coffee table with character out the butt.
    >Assembly line production may not have quite this level of art with it, but
    >still, other than shaving some seconds, a lathe still requires the same
    >amount of time to turn a table leg. A table saw can't cut any faster. A
    >router can't shape any faster. But there's nothing to say that you couldn't
    >have 15 more routers or table saws or lathes and 15 more operators to run
    >them.


    You're talking about craftsmanship and art, not cheap mass production of
    low-end junk. As long as the market demands junk at increasingly lower
    prices, manufacturers are having to figure out ways to make things cheaper
    and shoddier.

    >I'll bet this Hooker character is a 2nd or 3rd generation family owner with
    >his eye on the bottom line and never spent a day in the shop. He probably
    >views the shop as a dusty old place full of glue, paint and lacquer smells,
    >while his father or grandfather knew every piece of wood he put into a piece
    >of furniture.


    Maybe, but the problem isn't the folks making the products, the problem is
    the people buying them.
    --scott


    --
    "C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
  13. Scott Dorsey

    Scott Dorsey Guest

    Roger W. Norman <rnorman@starpower.net> wrote:
    >Aha, and if it were just a point of WHERE the tools were made then it would
    >probably be a moot point. However, in a lot of things Chinese, we are
    >talking about a substandard manufacture. I realize that is pretty general,
    >so I'll try to get more specific. Hand tools, for instance. Every Chinese
    >hand tool I've had has been substandard. Softer metals in the hammers,
    >parts that don't last for the life of the tool, and often a feel that just
    >isn't quite right. I just had a relatively new pair of Chinese loppers
    >break in my hand the other day. This time I replaced them with good old
    >American loppers. The original savings? About $12, but they only lasted
    >about a year. Another for instance. I wouldn't put off-the-shelf
    >electronics into the next series of NASA's Shuttles. Would you?


    The Chinese actually do make some decent quality tools. But they don't
    export them, because there's no money in exporting them when they can export
    junk and sell it just as well.

    Some of the best cutting edges made are hand-forged Chinese knives. But
    you won't ever see them in your local hardware store because that's not
    what the market demands. If you don't believe me, go to the Da Hua market
    downtown and check out some of them.

    When you can export ten cheaply-made lathes with soft-metal beds and leadscrews
    with pitch variations visible to the naked eye, or you can export one
    well-made lathe with a precision leadscrew, which one are you going to do?
    You're going to export the junk, because you make more money doing it.

    The folks doing this stuff are businessmen... they are in it for the money
    and they will make whatever people want to buy. And if people are willing to
    buy crap, they'll make it.

    I'm seeing a substantial improvement in the quality of some of the Chinese
    microphones these days, in part because the American importers have realized
    how bad some of them are and have decided that it's worth it to pay more
    money for better quality production, and in part because the American importers
    have hired folks to go to the Chinese factories and teach them to make better
    products. The factories make what the importers demand.
    --scott

    --
    "C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
  14. steve

    steve Guest

    At six Indian software engineers to one American (management rule-of-thumb), all
    our jobs are going there. Shipping is basically free. Email latency is 24
    hours, so my schedule is impacted until the entire group is in India (ie, I can
    see me unemployed from a company that *bought* me and my software 4 years ago).
    But it's so cheap that I can hear that giant sucking sound; wish I could get
    it on tape.

    Bob Cain wrote:

    > It isn't just manufacturing that this is happening to. Ask
    > any design engineer in embedded control, electronics or DSP
    > that has found himself looking in the last few years.
  15. Arny Krueger

    Arny Krueger Guest

    "Roger W. Norman" <rnorman@starpower.net> wrote in message
    news:bikvm8$brm$1@bob.news.rcn.net

    > Aha, and if it were just a point of WHERE the tools were made then it
    > would probably be a moot point.


    That was my point.

    >However, in a lot of things Chinese,
    > we are talking about a substandard manufacture.


    IME the Chinese are capable of providing a wide range of quality levels for
    what they produce. It's mostly a matter of what someone demands. Their
    business is now made up of providing competitive quality for
    hyper-competitive prices. IMO the depressed economic situation in much of
    the Pacific rim is due to this giant price/quality sucking sound coming from
    China.

    > I realize that is
    > pretty general, so I'll try to get more specific. Hand tools, for
    > instance. Every Chinese hand tool I've had has been substandard.


    IME YMMV.

    > Softer metals in the hammers, parts that don't last for the life of
    > the tool, and often a feel that just isn't quite right. I just had a
    > relatively new pair of Chinese loppers break in my hand the other
    > day. This time I replaced them with good old American loppers. The
    > original savings? About $12, but they only lasted about a year.


    I've had American-Made loppers do the same thing. I got what I paid for. I
    often get more for what I pay with Chinese tools.

    > Another for instance. I wouldn't put off-the-shelf electronics into
    > the next series of NASA's Shuttles. Would you?


    I think that today getting the right thing is a matter of specifying the
    right thing and making sure you get it, no matter what the country of
    origin.

    > And yeah, I know, supposedly not a good analogy, but think about it
    > this way. Computer parts and offshore manufacture.


    An area I am intimately familiar with. I'm an old-timer, I can still
    remember working with US-made motherboards. I can clearly remember Taiwanese
    brands that actually shipped Taiwanese-made motherboards and even US-made
    motherboards. Today, even high-end Taiwanese brands ship Made-in China
    motherboards. If you open up a Compaq, you just might find...

    >Take IBM for
    > example. They moved a lot of their manufacturing to Indonesia and
    > Malaysia, but they also built and operated the factories, which is
    > entirely different than what's happening today.


    I've compared power amps made in the USA to same make and model power amp
    made in China. The big tipoff was the label that stated the name of the
    country the amp was manufactured in. Was the Chinese amp made of US-made
    parts? Was the US-made amp made of Chinese parts? Were there Japanese parts
    in both or either? Did it matter?

    > Or remember
    > substandard memory coming from both Taiwan and S. Korea and then the
    > "shortages" due to some fire or something. Those shortages were due
    > specifically to faulty manufacture and product not working up to
    > snuff, so there were a couple of times when they had to re-spec their
    > entire production line.


    I remember that. It was also a long time ago.

    > So I'd say that it is a point of WHERE products are made because it
    > indicates how well they were made.


    I think that 20 or 30 years ago, some Chinese equipment might have been
    substandard because they didn't have the technology to do everything right.
    Perhaps at some lofty level of aerospace or biotech it's still true. IME at
    some time, maybe 5-10 years ago that issue mostly disappeared.
  16. Scott Dorsey

    Scott Dorsey Guest

    steve <steve@nospam_please.com> wrote:
    >At six Indian software engineers to one American (management rule-of-thumb), all
    >our jobs are going there. Shipping is basically free. Email latency is 24
    >hours, so my schedule is impacted until the entire group is in India (ie, I can
    >see me unemployed from a company that *bought* me and my software 4 years ago).
    > But it's so cheap that I can hear that giant sucking sound; wish I could get
    >it on tape.


    My experiences watching outsourced software development is that what you
    save in hourly wages you lose in the ability to work directly with developers
    and in quick turnaround. But let us face it... computer software is the first
    industry where quality control really hits rock bottom. And again, it is
    because the customers don't demand reliable software. It's true that
    Microsoft has certainly reduced people's expectations of software reliability,
    but that's no excuse not to demand a higher quality product.
    --scott

    --
    "C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
  17. dt king

    dt king Guest

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Scott Dorsey" <kludge@panix.com>
    Newsgroups: rec.audio.pro
    Sent: Thursday, August 28, 2003 11:37 AM
    Subject: Re: Mackie Employees to Drop Trou and Resemble Ned Beatty...


    > Roger W. Norman <rnorman@starpower.net> wrote:
    > >You ever worked with wood, nuke? I believe, after some 4 years during

    high
    > >school and summers, that my experience at a custom cabinet shop

    qualifies me
    > >to say that people working with wood, in old factories with the right

    jigs
    > >and the right hand tools, could do a 100% better job than any

    automation.
    > >You want automation, go buy Ikea. You want cheap labor, go buy Pier

    One.
    > >You want Thomasville, buy from NC antiquated furniture factories

    (although
    > >they are usually called shops).

    >
    > Right, but that's the issue. People don't want to BUY Thomasville.

    People
    > want to buy Ikea.
    >
    > If you are in the market for making a lot of stuff that is all the same

    as
    > cheaply as possible, automation is the way to go. You grind the wood up
    > and extrude into sheets of particle board that fall apart after a few

    years
    > to make it possible to use automation.


    Well, this thread could go on for weeks, but I'll just add a couple of
    thoughts here.

    When the dotcom bubble burst, many of the most creative web designers I
    knew transitioned into creating high-end, customized nitch products. We
    make things that you can't mass produce and we charge more for it. Never
    going to get rich that way, but I haven't set my alarm clock in years.

    > >I'll bet this Hooker character is a 2nd or 3rd generation family owner

    with
    > >his eye on the bottom line and never spent a day in the shop. He

    probably
    > >views the shop as a dusty old place full of glue, paint and lacquer

    smells,
    > >while his father or grandfather knew every piece of wood he put into a

    piece
    > >of furniture.

    >
    > Maybe, but the problem isn't the folks making the products, the problem

    is
    > the people buying them.


    It's an easy formula, fire American workers and make your product cheaper
    overseas. However, when you've put all the Americans out of work, who will
    buy your product?

    dtk
  18. Les Cargill

    Les Cargill Guest

    "Roger W. Norman" wrote:
    >
    > You ever worked with wood, nuke? I believe, after some 4 years during high
    > school and summers, that my experience at a custom cabinet shop qualifies me
    > to say that people working with wood, in old factories with the right jigs
    > and the right hand tools, could do a 100% better job than any automation.
    > You want automation, go buy Ikea. You want cheap labor, go buy Pier One.
    > You want Thomasville, buy from NC antiquated furniture factories (although
    > they are usually called shops).
    >


    Yes, but most people don't want Thomasville. They want something that
    looks nice and is cheaper.

    > Sorry, I'm just of the mind that there are some professions that automation
    > just can't handle. A robot can't examine a piece of wood for intent. It
    > can spot blemishes and flaws, but can't know by looking at the wood just
    > what it's going to be good for. A nice old raw plank might not be good for
    > a bed frame, but be great for a coffee table with character out the butt.
    > Assembly line production may not have quite this level of art with it, but
    > still, other than shaving some seconds, a lathe still requires the same
    > amount of time to turn a table leg. A table saw can't cut any faster. A
    > router can't shape any faster. But there's nothing to say that you couldn't
    > have 15 more routers or table saws or lathes and 15 more operators to run
    > them.
    >


    There's a lot of people out there making handmade, one-off furniture,
    but we're talking an order of magnitude more expensive
    than the next step down. Hand made one-off is fine if you sell to
    movie stars and CEOs, but the ranks of those are declining.

    > I'll bet this Hooker character is a 2nd or 3rd generation family owner with
    > his eye on the bottom line and never spent a day in the shop. He probably
    > views the shop as a dusty old place full of glue, paint and lacquer smells,
    > while his father or grandfather knew every piece of wood he put into a piece
    > of furniture.
    >


    I bet he's just reading the writing on the wall. It's fine that people
    can develop craft, but getting paid for it is another story.

    > But the obvious bottom line in all of this is that the US has to help get
    > the rest of the world up to snuff in the world economy so that there's not
    > so much disparity in wages. Think about how much investment we're talking
    > about. Assuming that some NC company still wants to produce NC pine
    > products, they'd have to ship the wood to China, have the wood milled, cut,
    > drilled, assembled, sanded and finished and STILL ship it back cheaper than
    > they could do it in NC. With all that shipping one wonders if it's the
    > numbers that play with people's heads. Cheap labor has to account for 51%
    > of the savings just to make that justification viable, because shipping
    > costs can't be a positive for the bottom line.


    No, if you can predict the demand for the shipping, it's bloody cheap now.
    The process called "containerization" means that it's arguably as cheap
    to go between say, New York and North Carolina as it is to go between
    North Carolina and China. Th eonly real cost is at the endpoints.

    The whole impetus behind the Three Gorges Dam project on the
    Yangtzee is to make Chanking (sp? - Chun King usedabe ) a major
    port.

    In other words, say the
    > original factory makes 1000 pieces in a week. Unless there is a significant
    > increase in numbers of manufacture, making those same 1000 pieces in China
    > and shipping them can't equate to savings. So unless the number of
    > manufacture increases 10 fold (and then there's a marketing problem), I
    > don't see that the numbers could really work out. Then the question becomes
    > whether someone somewhere in the world is going to be looking for that
    > Chinese made North Carolina furniture. Perhaps the Fender model works best
    > here. Have the more mass produced products at one price point but yet still
    > keep Americans employed by making the quality furniture. And it somewhat
    > appears to me that the onus has to be on the buying public, too. If Hooker
    > were making the sales he wanted of quality furniture, then he'd need not
    > shift his workforce to the Chinese. We're a mass produced, crap buying
    > public used to throwing everything away in a couple of years, even if it
    > still works.


    That's right.

    > Not many of us are buying quality workmanship with an idea
    > towards having something like furniture that will last 100 years. Or 400.
    >


    Couple in that the price of labor is *artificially* supressed n China,
    and that once you build something in China, you have a captive market for resale
    of the physical plant, it's going to be an interesting

    Oddly enough, this whole discussion is a 180 degree reverse of the one
    leading to the Boxer Rebellion. SO this ain't new.

    > Ah, but that's another rant.
    >
    > --
    >
    > Roger W. Norman
    > SirMusic Studio
    > Purchase your copy of the Fifth of RAP CD set at www.recaudiopro.net.
    > See how far $20 really goes.
    >

    <snip>


    --
    Les Cargill
  19. Les Cargill

    Les Cargill Guest

    steve wrote:
    >
    > At six Indian software engineers to one American (management rule-of-thumb), all
    > our jobs are going there. Shipping is basically free. Email latency is 24
    > hours, so my schedule is impacted until the entire group is in India (ie, I can
    > see me unemployed from a company that *bought* me and my software 4 years ago).
    > But it's so cheap that I can hear that giant sucking sound; wish I could get
    > it on tape.
    >


    I wish 'em good luck. I've tried to get my employers to think
    carefully about the cost of software development for 18 years.
    This always comes down to "let's not do anything unnecessary".

    Hasn't worked - the funny money thing wins every time. Rather
    than do things to reduce headcount, which can
    be shown to speed things up and reduce cost, it always ends up
    "we need more people".

    Would you really want product developed by people who *know*
    you're colonializing them and only doing it on a "they pretend
    to pay us, we pretend to work" basis?

    Also, remember the early Nineties, when lotsa stuff was exported
    to be done in Bangalore. Didn't work out then and faster email
    is probably not sufficient to make it work out this time.

    > Bob Cain wrote:
    >
    > > It isn't just manufacturing that this is happening to. Ask
    > > any design engineer in embedded control, electronics or DSP
    > > that has found himself looking in the last few years.



    --
    Les Cargill
  20. Les Cargill

    Les Cargill Guest

    Scott Dorsey wrote:
    >
    > steve <steve@nospam_please.com> wrote:
    > >At six Indian software engineers to one American (management rule-of-thumb), all
    > >our jobs are going there. Shipping is basically free. Email latency is 24
    > >hours, so my schedule is impacted until the entire group is in India (ie, I can
    > >see me unemployed from a company that *bought* me and my software 4 years ago).
    > > But it's so cheap that I can hear that giant sucking sound; wish I could get
    > >it on tape.

    >
    > My experiences watching outsourced software development is that what you
    > save in hourly wages you lose in the ability to work directly with developers
    > and in quick turnaround. But let us face it... computer software is the first
    > industry where quality control really hits rock bottom.


    You can't sell quality in software to anybody. It effectively has no
    demonstrable market value. When DSC took Nynex down, there was a
    flurry of activity, then it abated.

    > And again, it is
    > because the customers don't demand reliable software. It's true that
    > Microsoft has certainly reduced people's expectations of software reliability,
    > but that's no excuse not to demand a higher quality product.


    But that's no fault of Microsoft, which has actually done a good job
    of conforming to customer expectation. People simply will not
    pay extra for stuff that works well, unless they have legal requirements
    to do so. Not that good code has to be more expensive - quite
    the opposite - but it *appears* to cost more.

    The software business has been abused to "get the kids jobs". That's
    a laudable goal, but it is at cross purposes with making things work.

    The HR deprtment wants freshly scrubbed 28 year olds. A 28 year old
    is marginally at the good end of the journeyman phase of learning
    software development, assuming a graduation age of 23. And you're
    back to healthcare and pension liability for the 28 year old
    figure.

    There needs to be some age diversity. You can't really replace
    the old guys as an influence on the younger guys. With all due
    respect, they don't know much coming out of school.

    > --scott
    >
    > --
    > "C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."



    --
    Les Cargill

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