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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Wind-Powered Plant Builds GM’s SUVs

Wind-Powered Plant Builds GM’s SUVs

November 18, 2018

GM is planning to use 100% wind power to manufacture SUVs in its Arlington, Texas, plant.

The company is on track to meet its goal to power all plant operations with renewable energy sources by 2050.  Besides cost savings, the use of renewable energy sources will position GM as a green company ahead of its competitors.


Video Spotlight: GM will power its SUV plant with wind


This post is based on the ThomasNet.com post, GM Will Produce SUVs in TX Using Only Wind Power, and the video GM will power its SUV plant with wind, both by Anna Wells, October 23, 2018 Image source: nachai © 123RF.com.

Discussion Questions:

1. How does GM go about meeting its goal to power all plant operations with renewable energy sources?

Guidance: GM currently sources its wind power from the Cactus Flats Wind Farm in Eden, TX, to run all plant operations in its Arlington, TX, plant.  The wind farm also supplies some of the energy for its other Texas locations.  GM is planning to reach the remaining 80% of its renewable energy goal by relying on wind and solar as the only energy sources. Continue reading

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Artificial Ingredients Removed from McDonald’s Hamburgers

Artificial Ingredients Removed from McDonald’s Hamburgers

October 14, 2018

McDonald’s continues to make changes to its product in response to customer-driven initiatives.

Recent changes include:

  • using fresh rather than frozen beef and cooking to order for Quarter Pounders.
  • removing artificial ingredients from Big Macs, Chicken McNuggets, and Egg McMuffins.

Now, almost two-thirds of McDonald’s burgers and sandwiches in the United States will contain no artificial flavors, no artificial preservatives, and no added color.  To accomplish this goal, artificial preservatives were removed from American cheese, Big Mac’s Special Sauce, and many hamburger buns.

Other initiatives include sustainably sourced McCafe coffee by 2020, and cage-free eggs by 2025.  McDonald’s is also looking at beef from producers that follow sustainability programs.


Video Spotlight: McDonald’s removes more fake ingredients from menu


This post is based on the Food Bev article, McDonald’s to remove artificial ingredients from its burgers, by Martin While, September 28, 2018; the McDonald’s press release, McDonald’s USA Reveals Changes to its Classic Burgers, September 26, 2018; and the YouTube video, McDonald’s removes more fake ingredients from menu, by Bloomberg Markets and Finance, September 27, 2018. Image source: © McGraw-Hill Education/Mark Dierker.

Discussion Questions:

1. What is driving this change?

Guidance: McDonald’s is obviously feeling Continue reading

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