A Tiny Screw Shows Why iPhones Won’t Be ‘Assembled in U.S.A.’

A Tiny Screw Shows Why iPhones Won’t Be ‘Assembled in U.S.A.’

Low cost is no longer the only reason why US companies outsource manufacturing to China.

Despite Apple’s commitment to make a Mac computer in Austin, Texas, the inability of a US supplier to mass produce screws led the tech giant to order the items from China.

This situation exemplifies the challenges facing US manufacturing. Not only is it impossible to beat Chinese labor costs, but it is also difficult to compete in terms of scale, skills, and infrastructure.


Video Spotlight: Why the iPhone can’t be made in the US


This post is based on the New York Times article, A Tiny Screw Shows Why iPhones Won’t Be ‘Assembled in U.S.A.’, by J. Nicas, January 28, 2019; and the YouTube video, Why the iPhone can’t be made in the US, by Bloomberg, June 29, 2017. Image source: (c) Ingram Publishing / SuperStock.

Discussion Questions:

1. In general, why does Apple rely on China for a large portion of its manufacturing?

Guidance: Lower labor costs and ability to produce huge quantities fast enough to meet demand. This ability stems from an abundance of skilled workers, huge infrastructure (building and equipment), and loose labor protections laws.

2. Why was the Continue reading

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Evolving from Farm-to-Table to Farm-to-Desk

Evolving from Farm-to-Table to Farm-to-Desk

As digital deliveries now account for a sizable portion of their business, several restaurants are trying to bypass third-party ordering platforms such as Grubhub and Uber Eats with their own ordering and delivery systems.

To lure customers away from third-party marketplaces, they offer a variety of incentives that are only available through their own Web sites or mobile apps. They also adapt their cooking methods to account for delivery time.


Video Spotlights:


This post is based on the Bloomberg article, Dig Inn Wants to Optimize Your Sad Desk Lunch, by E.G. Dunn, January 29, 2019; the YouTube video, Dig Inn – Boston, by phantomgourmet, August 17, 2017; and the Fortune article and video, Restaurants face digital dilemma, by J. Kell,  June 9, 2017. Image source: Shutterstock/MSSA.

Discussion Questions:

1. What are the quality problems associated with meal deliveries?

Guidance: As Scott Landers mentioned in the article, the delivery portion of the business has grown faster than capacity, resulting in longer lead times, errors, foods at the wrong temperature, and food quality degradation during delivery.

2. What are some of the product and process design changes Continue reading

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Business Class Comfort in Economy Class – Seriously?

Business Class Comfort in Economy Class – Seriously?

Extra leg room, more recline, comfortable seating in Economy class. This is what SE Aeronautics promises with its newly designed “morphing” seat.

The ultra-thin seat gives the impression of more space, and as it slides forward, passengers enjoy further reclining without affecting other passengers sitting in the rows behind and in front of them.

In principle, the idea has merit, unless it is used to place even more seats in an already crowded space.


Video Spotlight: See the CNBC video on the compartmentalization of Economy class seating


This post is based on the Forbes article, Is This the Airline Seat of the Future?, by C. Elliott, January 19, 2019; and the CNBC article and video, Airplane class wars have come to coach. Here is your guide to the new economy seats, by L. Josephs, December 22, 2018. Image source: ©Spaces Images/Blend Images LLC.

Discussion Questions:

1. Is the new design mentioned in the article a departure from the ‘shrinking’ seat in Economy class?

Guidance: Yes and no. Assuming that airlines keep the pitch between seats around 32 inches, passengers might indeed enjoy extra recline and leg room. The viscoelastic foam seat might even be more comfortable than Continue reading

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