This got my blood boiling and my brain to explode (almost)!

Spartrekus

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msplsh

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It's not about just the screws. (And they're probably not "cheap" either.) They're steel screws, probably specced a specific alloy, a couple more other specific requirements & tolerances, and if you scratch the finish on the heads, they are scrap. Apple found one vendor and they couldn't produce enough of them.

Repeat for every part in the machine and it's hard to deal with.

The point of the anecdote is that the USA isn't some manufacturing powerhouse anymore. You're dealing with two different kinds of "cheap" here: cost and value. They want high value parts at low costs. Apple could probably have found somebody who could have produced the same screws but not at the cost they wanted, whereas in China, there's more competition and cheaper labor, so their bar isn't as hard to reach as it is in the USA.
 

Spartrekus

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It's not about just the screws. (And they're probably not "cheap" either.) They're steel screws, probably specced a specific alloy, a couple more other specific requirements & tolerances, and if you scratch the finish on the heads, they are scrap. Apple found one vendor and they couldn't produce enough of them.

Repeat for every part in the machine and it's hard to deal with.

The point of the anecdote is that the USA isn't some manufacturing powerhouse anymore. You're dealing with two different kinds of "cheap" here: cost and value. They want high value parts at low costs. Apple could probably have found somebody who could have produced the same screws but not at the cost they wanted, whereas in China, there's more competition and cheaper labor, so their bar isn't as hard to reach as it is in the USA.
Maybe it could be that they have better steels in China for screws than in US.
Since China pushes the basic industry, next to iphones and smart toys, they can afford larger, most efficient, production lines. Those in US are extremely old, since trump does not support only NSA... i.e. the virtual world.
US have old production lines, which makes them less competitive and less good ratio price / quality for those designed screw materials.
 

ronaldlees

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Sorry but research is today more advanced and innovative in China than the research in US.
Maybe 10 years ago, this was likely true, but today US are copying on China. Look research and scientific publications, China rules again.
China is equipped with best technologies for research. Check in Nature how many manuscripts are from Chinese Universities.
...
The U.S. is in serious trouble, economically. I don't mean that to say we're in trouble at this minute, but we are in trouble in the long term. At some point we decided that our country should become a green theme, genteel society that didn't pollute and didn't have mundane industrial jobs. We succeeded. China, OTOH, has removed all the green from the visible light spectrum, and utilized low and moderately paid folks by the many millions in those uninteresting mundane industrial jobs. While they are steadily building robots to replace those jobs, they still make heavy use of manual, cheap labor. So, we have two extremes when comparing US and China. China ideology is not what I want and does not impress me. But, for this post I set the ideologies aside.

What the US should have done was to remain an industrial power while converting to a clean industrial power, so as to have the best of both worlds. As it stands, our industrial infrastructure is antiquated. Most of our GDP is in real estate, and much of that is not new production (just changing hands).

YouTube has a number of blogs by Americans and others living in China. In these blogs, the real knowledge of China is exported for our view. This knowledge is not found in US journalism nor is it supplied much by the Chinese. It's an eye opener to view these blogs (SerpentZA is a good one). I'm not trying to be pro China or anti US (after all, I live in the good ole USA). However; the obvious facts put forth by these bloggers indicate a new China with glimmering, new cities (like the huge city Shenzhen, for example) - where *nothing* is older than 10 years, and the skyline glitters with the newest, tallest sky scrapers. Newish cities are not everything - I like old country boy stuff since that's what I am. But it speaks to general prosperity.

When the tariff war started, the Chinese found it hard to retaliate, excepting for agricultural product. Our manufacturing has become so decimated that it is often almost impossible to find a domestic variety of an item - including - yes - even screws. Some time ago I found myself purchasing chinese screws because there were.no.us.equivalents. The problems are real, but easily ignored by the segment of US society that is in control, because they still have jobs, or don't need them.

I seriously don't know how American inertia keeps us going. We must have had a large store built up in the past.
 

ronaldlees

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I don't think that kind of "journalism" is worth reading past the first fanciful mistake. Twenty employees making 1000 screws per day - assuming an 8 hour work day, that's 6.25 screws per employee per day. That is just garbage, and not fact. For sure there are complicated screws that may be hand made, but certainly not for computers. The rest of the "facts" are likely to be just as fanciful. Perhaps it wasn't Apple. Perhaps it wasn't China. Perhaps none of this happened.
You have that right. I met an expat Canadian a while ago, who was running a screw company from his garage. He could make tens of thousands of screws in short order to fill bins, but didn't have logistics and distribution network so went belly up. The point is - he ran his company with two employees and a purchased screw machine. Screw machines are not that expensive and have high volume, so Apple's story seems to have another agenda IMO.

Chinese logistics are helped by the postal system. Ever wonder why you can buy (well, before the tariffs happened you could) - a $2 item from a Chinese company with free shipping? It's because all shipping is paid by the Chinese government, for all Chinese citizens and all Chinese companies. So - they don't care about efficiency of shipping, and will ship you that $2 item at zero shipping cost to you. The government subsidizes them with free shipping.
 

Phishfry

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Apple's story seems to have another agenda IMO.
Yes some really nasty reporting in the NYTimes from an arrogant liar CEO.
Ask yourself, If there were only a handful of tooling engineers would the position only be paying $50-100K??
Fact checking is so inconvenient these days.
 

Phishfry

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The government subsidizes them with free shipping.
I think the same could be said for ebay before the USPS increased rates around 2010.
They had a $3.90 deal for "electronic media" for quite a while.
Now it is Amazon that benefits from USPS with them delivering to my door on Sundays via USPS.
I think they have a fleet of sprinter vans I see now. They prospered off USPS to get where they are today.
Through taxpayer subsidization. Not free but cheapened.
At the expense of future USPS labor obligations thru underfunded pensions.
 

ronaldlees

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... They prospered off USPS to get where they are today.
Through taxpayer subsidization. Not free but cheapened ...
Of course you're right about that. Didn't really think about it, but the US has had heavily subsidized shipping forever. I never use anything but USPS for that reason. I recently sent a parcel to the other side of the country for $3 with USPS. Would have been $10-12 probably with any other carrier. That doesn't really add up unless it's subsidized or the other carriers are all making a killing LOL ...

I imagine the overall Chinese philosophy for absolutely free shipping speaks to their overall plan for total market domination. Sending a $2 item (6x4x4 inch parcel: plastic box) overseas while charging $0 for shipping puts them in the hole on the transaction (their govn't - not the company). I guess they win market mind that way tho ...
 

OJ

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Interesting that the USPS denies that subsidy. They claim otherwise and say that there are multiple factors to consider when calculating the actual cost. So, it's your word against theirs unless you have access to some internal documents in that regard. I know Trump has talked about the USPS subsidy, but I'm not sure about his competence in this regard and I don't think that his word in itself bolsters the veracity of the statement.

Here in Canada the shipping costs are too high because Canada Post makes a big profit. I think they should operate as a service to Canadians (private and business), but that philosophy does not sit well in the current environment so I just have to accept the situation.

Regarding free shipping from China, I really like that when it's inexpensive items, like adapters etc. But when it's something with higher value and generally more important to have, then it's a real nuisance that it takes 3 months to arrive (2.5 mo for me on average) because I'd rather pay something to have the item arrive in a timely manner.
 

CraigHB

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Yeah you're not getting the benefit of that Chinese shipping subsidy so much. I'm in the Los Angeles, CA area and I'm getting stuff sometimes in as little as a week and usually no more than two weeks. Crazy isn't it? I can get stuff overseas from China sometimes faster than domestic.

From what I understand China worked out a deal where the US is paying a considerable part of that subsidy through a USPS discount handling goods on our side. It comes from some third world trade act congress passed ages ago. At the time China was considered a third world country and still qualifies for this subsidy, totally ridiculous.

US vendors should be up in arms about the US subsidy, but it seems nobody cares about anything anymore here in the US, either that or the system has shut down anybody's ability to protest. It's quite a coup on the part of the Chinese to completely rule the consumer market in the USA.
 

ronaldlees

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Regarding free shipping from China, I really like that when it's inexpensive items, like adapters etc. But when it's something with higher value and generally more important to have, then it's a real nuisance that it takes 3 months to arrive (2.5 mo for me on average) because I'd rather pay something to have the item arrive in a timely manner.
I've had items come by the slow boat, as you say, but sometimes the Chinese ship (free for me) air post, and I get it as quickly as I would from a domestic producer. Like CraigHB wrote, it's often crazy fast. That $2 mini project box was free air post to me. I remember wondering about what the item could be when I pulled the parcel from the mail box, since I wasn't expecting anything so soon.

Sorry the Moose express is so expensive. :( I don't know for sure anything about subsidies to the USPS, but if they are not subsidized, then our "free market" system is not working so well with regard to their competition. Many times the price difference is twice the amount - and sometimes close to three times the amount. Delivery times are often par. The extra money buys a day or two. Wow.
 
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getopt

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It's quite a coup on the part of the Chinese to completely rule the consumer market in the USA.
Do not forget that domestic greedy managers started exploiting cheep workers around the globe and called that globalism. Now you harvest what has been seeded.

Thinking that protectionism will draw back the wheel won't work out. Consumers have the illusion that they are smart but they aren't. Give them the stupidest adds on the planet and they buy even bullshit. A resisting boycott might help as it hits the companies balance sheet. But that needs some strength for not going easy and not acting selfish.
 

CraigHB

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Barring the sad part, it's humorous the political economic culture in the USA is sort of anti-globalism right now (i.e. increasing tariffs) yet nobody says a peep about the fact our government is footing part of the bill for overseas shipping.

Crazy system we live under here in the US. I mean c'mon, if you want to give American consumer industry a leg up at least don't help provide free shipping for overseas products. I shouldn't complain though, who doesn't love buying something inexpensive without that shipping fee that sometimes costs more than the actual product.
 

OJ

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Yes, maufacturing going off-shore was a problem in the early 70s already. In the 80s US tried various campaigns to bring it back, but failed miserably. The sad fact is that the US is not going to fill that bill any time soon, certainly not in this or the next generation. So, the bottom line is that any shipping subsidy is actually a US consumer subsidy. That looks to me like it could be a good thing. ;)
 
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toorski

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I don’t blame China or Chinese people for taking over global production and markets. I blame the global marketeers, banksters, financial and political systems manipulators that don’t give a shit where they do it, who they do it with or to and who gets screwed along the way, as long as they’re in control of power and/or money.

Facebook doesn’t make much of anything other than more money from others money - the shareholders. Facebook’s product is over a billion brainwashed beings from around the world who help Facebook stay rich and powerful, just like Microsoft, Google, Apple or alike that make create shit that people could live without.

In US we don’t produce much of anything anymore, other than money from anyone and anywhere. China makes products and sell them here in exchange for the funny money. When the shit hits the fan it’s not going to be very funny when China will eventually ask for the real money. or else 😧
 

CraigHB

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Yeah it's all about the economic system capitalizing on cheap labor markets. If it wasn't China it would be somewhere else.

China will never ask for the money we [the USA] owe them. It keeps us right where they want us.
 
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