Foxconn building 500K iPhone 5s units for Apple per day with nonstop production lines

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
In a bid to increase supply of Apple's flagship iPhone 5s, Foxconn --?the company's largest manufacturing partner --?has dedicated 100 assembly lines to the handset and is now operating 24-hours-per-day, according to Foxconn executives.

Foxconn


More than 300,000 employees at Foxconn's Zhengzhou, China factory are working exclusively on iPhone 5s production, reports The Wall Street Journal. The production increase appears to have significantly eased supply constraints --?yesterday, AppleInsider noted research from Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster suggesting that more than 90 percent of iPhone 5s SKUs were available in retail channels, indicating that Apple's supply chain has nearly caught up with market demand.

Shipping estimates from Apple's first-party online store have dropped from 2-3 weeks to just 3-5 days, and Apple retail stores that previously required reservations for in-store purchases of iPhone 5s units --?like those in Hong Kong --?have removed that restriction.

The report suggests that supplies of the popular handset were limited so severely at launch due to a marked increase in manufacturing capacity over its predecessor. The iPhone 5s is said to require 600 workers per assembly line versus 500 workers per assembly line for the iPhone 5, thus increasing the total assembly time for each unit.

The Zhengzhou facility's current 500,000-units-per-day volume is said to represent maximum capacity for the plant, and Foxconn is hesitant to add additional capacity in light of fears that it could lose future Apple contracts to competitors Pegatron and Wistron. Reports began to surface over the summer that Apple was aiming to diversify its Asian supply chain in order to decrease its dependence on Taiwan-based Foxconn.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 39
    Mr. McGuire: I just want to say one word to you. Just one word.
    Benjamin: Yes, sir.
    Mr. McGuire: Are you listening?
    Benjamin: Yes, I am.
    Mr. McGuire: ROBOTS.
  • Reply 2 of 39
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    With 300k people and 500k units that's less than 2 iPhones per day per person. Let's speed it up [S]slaves[/S] people. Seriously though, I'm guessing most of these employees are not working on the iPhone.

    The bigger question is 500k per day seems to be about 5 million high for the quarter (unless China Mobile is going to be a crazy-high breakaway success in December and into the new year) unless Apple is stockpiling now so they can shift manufacturing gears in the not-to-distant-future for a new product offering. It's been awhile since we had a Jan-Mar product launch.
  • Reply 3 of 39
    I don't believe negative or positive stories about Apple from the WSJ or the NYT. It all looks like clickbait to me.
  • Reply 4 of 39
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,666member
    Reporter: I'm sorry, but is Apple increasing or decreasing production? Is demand falling or remaining high? Is Apple doomed or not?
    Analyst: let's flip a coin to find out.
  • Reply 5 of 39
    tbelltbell Posts: 3,146member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sog35 View Post

     

    funny how all the rumors are now POSITIVE.

     

    increased 5S production

    increased Mini production

    New products

     

    The powers that be really want this stock to go up now.  Apple has been punished by these same powers from Oct2012 till now. 

     

    $600 by year end

    $700 in six months

     

    We could see ATH if the new products are amazing and gross margins go over 40% in 2014


     

     

    Bingo. The powers that be want the stock to go up. As such previously spun negative news will be turned into positive news.

  • Reply 6 of 39
  • Reply 7 of 39
    Originally Posted by Red Oak View Post

    SolipsismX,  What an awful comment  

     

    Hardly. He’s mocking the ones who call them that.

  • Reply 8 of 39
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,157member
    jungmark wrote: »
    Reporter: I'm sorry, but is Apple increasing or decreasing production? Is demand falling or remaining high? Is Apple doomed or not?
    Analyst: let's flip a coin to find out.

    Noooo, it's not random at all ... it's "let's see what we can make the most money saying today"
  • Reply 9 of 39
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,157member
    msimpson wrote: »
    Mr. McGuire: I just want to say one word to you. Just one word.
    Benjamin: Yes, sir.
    Mr. McGuire: Are you listening?
    Benjamin: Yes, I am.
    Mr. McGuire: ROBOTS.

    You got that right ... Robots running 3D LiquidMetal Printers maybe .... But I am hopeful these will be Robots that live and work right here in America. :D
  • Reply 10 of 39
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,509member
    solipsismx wrote: »
    With 300k people and 500k units that's less than 2 iPhones per day per person. Let's speed it up slaves people. Seriously though, I'm guessing most of these employees are not working on the iPhone.

    The bigger question is 500k per day seems to be about 5 million high for the quarter (unless China Mobile is going to be a crazy-high breakaway success in December and into the new year) unless Apple is stockpiling now so they can shift manufacturing gears in the not-to-distant-future for a new product offering. It's been awhile since we had a Jan-Mar product launch.

    One hundred lines x 600 workers each = 60,000 workers on iPhone assembly. Times 3 for 3 shifts, that's 180,000. An amazing figure, but there must be 120,000 support workers also, apparently, to make up the 300,000.

    Each line makes 5,000 phones per day. (500,000 divided by 100)

    If there are three shifts, that works out 208 phones per hour on each of the 100 lines.

    Only 3.5 phones per minute pass through the workers' hands. That seems to have the scent of validity.

    (These figures should be checked by an actual, reliable other person who enjoys this kind of thing,)

    Edit: A comment on Apple 2.0 suggests that the day should be divide into four shifts, not three. Maybe so, even at Foxconn in China.
    Your point that the production is ahead of demand by 5 million is interesting.
  • Reply 11 of 39
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

    With 300k people and 500k units that's less than 2 iPhones per day per person. Let's speed it up slaves people. Seriously though, I'm guessing most of these employees are not working on the iPhone.



    The bigger question is 500k per day seems to be about 5 million high for the quarter (unless China Mobile is going to be a crazy-high breakaway success in December and into the new year) unless Apple is stockpiling now so they can shift manufacturing gears in the not-to-distant-future for a new product offering. It's been awhile since we had a Jan-Mar product launch.

     

    Well look who's back!

    At first glance 500k a day does seem large for just the 5s, but it might to make sense if the 4s and 5c are included(understand the article did not say, but they have been wrong from time to time). But here's hoping that something new is brewing.
  • Reply 12 of 39
    irelandireland Posts: 17,552member
    Where the ? in the article title.
  • Reply 13 of 39
    One of the multiple reason why I like this site is in the forum of this article. Number crunching, thorough analysis. Although maybe not precise to the unit, these breakdowns make sense and are thoughtful. Just wanted to share this thought and thank all the posters.
  • Reply 14 of 39
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 1,823member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post





    You got that right ... Robots running 3D LiquidMetal Printers maybe .... But I am hopeful these will be Robots that live and work right here in America. image

     

    Uh we'd be better off having the 300,000 jobs for people rather than robots. Problem is with the scale and of course getting lazy Americans off welfare to make minimum wage.

  • Reply 15 of 39
    mjtomlin wrote: »
    Uh we'd be better off having the 300,000 jobs for people rather than robots. Problem is with the scale and of course getting lazy Americans off welfare to make minimum wage.

    Robots aren't going to be getting less capable going forward. Any low-skill worker needs to step it up or they will be permanently displaced.
  • Reply 16 of 39
    Originally Posted by mjtomlin View Post

    Uh we'd be better off having the 300,000 jobs for people rather than robots.


     

    I disagree. Any job that doesn’t require creative, sapient thought to perform should be done by robots. Can we move to such a society overnight? No. Even if we magically received all the infrastructure and pre-built robots needed to do so, such that in the morning we could literally just turn on the factory and have the robots replace all human jobs? Still no. Because there’s more at work here than just physical possibility. We as a society aren’t ready for such a transition. There are too many people, forgive me, that are too stupid to live in that world. Too many jobs rely on people to do menial, mindless tasks. You can’t just have someone doing that move to something that requires creativity without getting them acclimated first.

     

    Having said that, the stopgap of 300,000 pointless jobs where robots could be replacing at least some of that immediately is not a better option than having those robots do the replacing where possible right now.

  • Reply 17 of 39
    I disagree. Any job that doesn’t require creative, sapient thought to perform should be done by robots. Can we move to such a society overnight? No. Even if we magically received all the infrastructure and pre-built robots needed to do so, such that in the morning we could literally just turn on the factory and have the robots replace all human jobs? Still no. Because there’s more at work here than just physical possibility. We as a society aren’t ready for such a transition. There are too many people, forgive me, that are too stupid to live in that world. Too many jobs rely on people to do menial, mindless tasks. You can’t just have someone doing that move to something that requires creativity without getting them acclimated first.

    Having said that, the stopgap of 300,000 pointless jobs where robots could be replacing at least some of that immediately is not a better option than having those robots do the replacing where possible right now.

    Correct. And something people do not yet appreciate...the age of general purpose robots and "strong AI" will soon be here. Ray Kurzweil posits that from 2019 and going forward artificial intelligence will match, then exceed the processing power of a human brain. This will mark a transition to a world that will take millions, if not billions of people by surprise. The initial uses will be rather benign, but eventually extremely high levels of expertise will be available for little to no cost through IBM, Apple and Google services (for example).
  • Reply 18 of 39
    Wow! 300k people working on iPhone... 600 people per assembly pipeline...
    iPhone 5S must be in Guinness Book as a most hand-made product in the world.
    Seriously though, why is it not automated?
  • Reply 19 of 39
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

    Correct. And something people do not yet appreciate...the age of general purpose robots and "strong AI" will soon be here. Ray Kurzweil posits that from 2019 and going forward artificial intelligence will match, then exceed the processing power of a human brain. This will mark a transition to a world that will take millions, if not billions of people by surprise. The initial uses will be rather benign, but eventually extremely high levels of expertise will be available for little to no cost through IBM, Apple and Google services (for example).

     

    And there are plenty of things that can be automated fully using modern day technology. 

     

    For example, a fast food restaurant could have its entire building operation completely automated today. Take McDonald’s. Inside you’d have three iPads where the counter is now. People pick what they want (HOLY CRAP NO MORE MESSED UP ORDERS), confirm, feed in the money (just like the self checkouts at grocery stores), and wait. All the machinery required to build the food, bag it, and send it out is already in existence. It feeds down, boom, meal. Done. The only thing you need a human for, right now, is to drive the truck that has all the materials in it and unload said materials into the building. And even that’s being replaced (Google self-driving vehicles).

  • Reply 20 of 39
    fracfrac Posts: 480member
    <span style="line-height:1.4em;">Uh we'd be better off having the 300,000 jobs for people rather than robots.</span>

    I disagree. Any job that doesn’t require creative, sapient thought to perform should be done by robots. Can we move to such a society overnight? No. Even if we magically received all the infrastructure and pre-built robots needed to do so, such that in the morning we could literally just turn on the factory and have the robots replace all human jobs? Still no. Because there’s more at work here than just physical possibility. We as a society aren’t ready for such a transition. There are too many people, forgive me, that are too stupid to live in that world. Too many jobs rely on people to do menial, mindless tasks. You can’t just have someone doing that move to something that requires creativity without getting them acclimated first.

    Having said that, the stopgap of 300,000 pointless jobs where robots could be replacing at least some of that immediately is not a better option than having those robots do the replacing where possible right now.

    You had me until ...stupid....
    Rampant egotism much?
    Why must we all be cut from the same cloth?
    Why is it we allow misinformed nonsense to cloud our opinion?
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