Saturday, December 06, 2014

Revkin on Technology and Small Farms and "Factory Man"

Here's a post at the Times covering meetings on technology and small farms.

Just finished reading the book "Factory Man", on the history of the rise and fall and persistence of the furniture industry in Henry County, VA.  The factory man is John Douglas Bassett III, who's able to compete with Asian furniture makers, not on cost but on customization and speed.  So, as of now, the US factory can use automation to be more responsive to customer desires because the Asian makers are limited by the time it takes to move a container across the Pacific.  (Not sure why a manufacturer in Mexico or Central America couldn't do better than the Asians.)  So the bottom line is the mass of furniture is made in Asia, but the niche markets which require customization can still be served by US manufacturers.

I see a possible parallel with American agriculture.

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