Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Being Flexible: Chinese Versus US Versions

The NY Times had a long article on why Apple manufactures in China, focusing on Steve Jobs demand for the iPhone to have a glass screen rather than plastic.
One former executive described how the company relied upon a Chinese factory to revamp iPhone manufacturing just weeks before the device was due on shelves. Apple had redesigned the iPhone’s screen at the last minute, forcing an assembly line overhaul. New screens began arriving at the plant near midnight.
A foreman immediately roused 8,000 workers inside the company’s dormitories, according to the executive. Each employee was given a biscuit and a cup of tea, guided to a workstation and within half an hour started a 12-hour shift fitting glass screens into beveled frames. Within 96 hours, the plant was producing over 10,000 iPhones a day.
“The speed and flexibility is breathtaking,” the executive said. “There’s no American plant that can match that.”
Meanwhile, Google Operating System has a post on how the Gmail logo was designed, including this quote from a book:
Dennis Hwang spent the day before the launch coming up with ideas for a logo and trying to make it work in conjunction with the clown-colored Google brand. (...) Even after four years at Google, I found it astounding that one twenty-something guy was sitting alone at his desk, sipping tea and developing the main branding element for a product to be used by millions of people - the night before it was scheduled to launch.
This fits our long-time image: China excels in throwing masses at a project; America is the home of the individual doer.

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