Tim Cook lauds 'American manufacturing expertise' during visit to Texas Mac Pro factory

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited October 2014
Apple CEO Tim Cook dropped in on the Austin, Texas facility that manufactures the new Mac Pro on Thursday, watching as technicians assembled the powerful desktop computers before expressing his appreciation for the new "Made in the USA" approach.




Cook posted a photo of his visit, in which he can be seen peering over the shoulder of an employee who appears to be assembling a small internal component, to Twitter. The visit comes in the midst of a longer trip to the company's newly-expanded Austin campus.

"Watching the Mac Pro come together in Austin yesterday,thanks to a team loaded with American manufacturing expertise," Cook's tweet read.'

As Apple's supply chain and operations chief, Cook was responsible for closing Apple's last American factory -- in Elk Grove, Calif. -- in 2004 and shifting manufacturing responsibilities entirely to Asian contract manufacturers. As labor costs have risen overseas in recent years, however, Apple has expressed a desire to bring more of its product manufacturing back to the U.S.

The company began with a test run of iMacs assembled in California before going full-bore with the Mac Pro facility, which is jointly operated with Taiwanese firm Flextronics. It is not known whether Apple plans to add American plants for its other product lines, but the company's A-series processors are notably manufactured at a Samsung-owned facility not far from the Mac Pro plant.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 62
    cromascromas Posts: 6member
    lol @ iMacs running Windows XP in the background.
  • Reply 2 of 62
    dimmokdimmok Posts: 359member
    Hats off to Apple !
  • Reply 3 of 62
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member

    In the US, they apparently don't wear ISO clean room head gear like in China.

    image 

  • Reply 4 of 62
    jj.yuanjj.yuan Posts: 213member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by cromas View Post



    lol @ iMacs running Windows XP in the background.

    Guess Windows XP runs the assembly lines software ... Flextronics needs to update their software!

  • Reply 5 of 62
    droidftwdroidftw Posts: 1,009member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    "Watching the Mac Pro come together in Austin yesterday,thanks to a team loaded with American manufacturing expertise," Cook's tweet read.'



    As Apple's supply chain and operations chief, Cook was responsible for closing Apple's last American factory -- in Elk Grove, Calif. -- in 2004 and shifting manufacturing responsibilities entirely to Asian contract manufacturers. As labor costs have risen overseas in recent years, however, Apple has expressed a desire to bring more of its product manufacturing back to the U.S.

     

    Cook is on record as saying that Apple didn't move manufacturing to Asia because of cheap labor, but because that's where the skilled workers are.  It's interesting to hear him change his tune about the skill of American workers now that labor costs in Asia have risen.  I'm sure it's just a coincidence...

  • Reply 6 of 62
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,776member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by DroidFTW View Post

     

     

    Cook is on record as saying that Apple didn't move manufacturing to Asia because of cheap labor, but because that's where the skilled workers are.  It's interesting to hear him change his tune about the skill of American workers now that labor costs in Asia have risen.  I'm sure it's just a coincidence...


     

    I think it takes a lot less skill to assemble a Mac Pro vs tiny components for an iPhone or iPad. I'm not saying that the Mac Pro is very simple to assemble, but doesn't appear to be anywhere near as hard as mass producing an iPhone.  I also think it comes down to they probably sell 100,000 or so Mac Pros (maybe even less) per quarter vs tens of millions of iOS devices. Its a lot harder to assemble something like an iPhone in the US for this reason. I kinda think he's full of himself if he doesn't see cost as an issue for US assembly. One would think it would cost significantly more to assemble the iPhone in the US vs in China for more reasons than one. 

     

    I think they'd like to have it assembled in the US simply because they can keep things secret better. 

  • Reply 7 of 62
    phone-ui-guyphone-ui-guy Posts: 1,019member
    droidftw wrote: »
    "Watching the Mac Pro come together in Austin yesterday,thanks to a team loaded with American manufacturing expertise," Cook's tweet read.'


    As Apple's supply chain and operations chief, Cook was responsible for closing Apple's last American factory -- in Elk Grove, Calif. -- in 2004 and shifting manufacturing responsibilities entirely to Asian contract manufacturers. As labor costs have risen overseas in recent years, however, Apple has expressed a desire to bring more of its product manufacturing back to the U.S.

    Cook is on record as saying that Apple didn't move manufacturing to Asia because of cheap labor, but because that's where the skilled workers are.  It's interesting to hear him change his tune about the skill of American workers now that labor costs in Asia have risen.  I'm sure it's just a coincidence...


    Pretty sure the main reason they build the high volume products in Asia is scale. It takes forever to hire on 10.000 people in the US and they can do it in weeks in China. Pretty sure Cook cited this as the primary reason. Also pretty sure he didn't say there are no skilled manufacturing people in the US, he just said there was more overseas and that we needed to ramp up over here. What do you know, they started doing it.
  • Reply 8 of 62
    droidftwdroidftw Posts: 1,009member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Phone-UI-Guy View Post





    Pretty sure the main reason they build the high volume products in Asia is scale. It takes forever to hire on 10.000 people in the US and they can do it in weeks in China. Pretty sure Cook cited this as the primary reason. Also pretty sure he didn't say there are no skilled manufacturing people in the US, he just said there was more overseas and that we needed to ramp up over here. What do you know, they started doing it.

     

    You would be incorrect.  Cook said that Americans never had the skills to begin with stating that technology manufacturing jobs have always been in Asia.  He also cited a lack of education in Americans as a reason for a lack of skilled workers.

     

    EDIT:  Don't take my word for it.   http://rockcenter.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/12/06/15708290-apple-ceo-tim-cook-announces-plans-to-manufacture-mac-computers-in-usa

     

    Quote:


     Given that, why doesn’t Apple leave China entirely and manufacture everything in the U.S.? “It’s not so much about price, it’s about the skills,” Cook told Williams.  Echoing a theme stated by many other companies, Cook said he believes the U.S. education system is failing to produce enough people with the skills needed for modern manufacturing processes.  “The consumer electronics world was really never here,” Cook said. “It’s a matter of starting it here.”


  • Reply 9 of 62
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 3,430member
    If Apple's doing well enough to bring manufacturing or even assembly back into the USA over little preferential issues like secrecy, I'm all for it. Most companies only care about punching pennies so the executives can squeeze out more profit for themselves at the top. The problem with American industry isn't a lack of skill or availability/willingness of workers to do the work. It's greed. American capitalists don't want to pay people to do quality work. That's why they exported it to countries that have a lower standard of pay. Now that those countries have slowly benefitted from the decades of total industrial dominance, their own standards have improved and are less cost competitive, especially when considering the lack of control over the flow of information and worker safety/rights. Hopefully, the standard of living in the world has increased enough to encourage more American companies to move manufacturing back to the USA, considering the benefits of local control to be enough to compensate for the "not as cheaper as it used to be" cheaper labor.

    ...but I bet there are still plenty of other places left to criminally exploit, where the standards for human rights and workers' rights are still horrible...
  • Reply 10 of 62
    christopher126christopher126 Posts: 4,366member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by DimMok View Post



    Hats off to Apple !

    Agreed, DimMok. I applaud Apple for manufacturing in the U.S.A. :)

  • Reply 11 of 62
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 3,430member
    droidftw wrote: »
    You would be incorrect.  Cook said that Americans never had the skills to begin with stating that technology manufacturing jobs have always been in Asia.  He also cited a lack of education in Americans as a reason for a lack of skilled workers.

    It's not a lack of skilled workers that is the problems. It's the manufacturing knowledge in the companies present in the USA, and ability to do the work in general. The facilities and those running them must have the tools and the industrial knowledge to use them.

    Industry, in terms of labor, has never relied on education. The Prussian-industrial model that the USA public school system is based on is all about indoctrinating people into being obedient workers for assembly line work... and being nationalists..., not educating them.

    The "skills" that exist on the job are created there in the first place. That doesn't come from any schooling. Trade schools are an exception, but there are few quality trade schools because there's a stigma against that kind of life's work, and because a good company can train almost anyone. When needing workers to do specialized tasks, you, the company, instruct your workers on how to do the work and how to operate the equipment.

    American companies don't like to see job training expenses. American companies hate long term employees making high wages (that are justified by expertise and experience). So they farm it off to foreign industrial companies that sell the labor tasks for less, while not showing the actual costs (including the human costs).

    Once again: corporate American greed is the problem. Corporate capitalist culture is the problem, not average American culture.

    Education is not relevant to the topic, though the American public school system is indeed primitive and based on a system of indoctrination, not education.

    Edit: the skills didn't exist here in the USA because the corporate management didn't want to pay to create it locally. They farmed the work out to other countries, rather than pay to bring those experts here and/or license the foreign manufacturing technology or engineer our own. Your work force is only as good as you make it. Blaming education is a scapegoat.
  • Reply 12 of 62
    leavingthebiggleavingthebigg Posts: 1,291member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by DroidFTW View Post

     

     

    Cook is on record as saying that Apple didn't move manufacturing to Asia because of cheap labor, but because that's where the skilled workers are.  It's interesting to hear him change his tune about the skill of American workers now that labor costs in Asia have risen.  I'm sure it's just a coincidence...


    Coincidence or not, Apple has decided having manufacturing in the USA is important and is working tirelessly to make this effort a success.

     

    Now take a look at what Google's Motorola has done. Yes, Google's Motorola since the Lenovo purchase has yet to be approved.

     

    Motorola's move to USA manufacturing was brash and in your face.  Ooooh look at us! Well, after having multiple failed efforts to make a truly successful smartphone, Motorola has shutdown its manufacturing facility.

     

    Which company was and is serious about bringing manufacturing to the USA and keeping manufacturing in the USA? Oh, it is the company you have chosen to dig up the past against.

  • Reply 13 of 62
    droidftw wrote: »
    Cook is on record as saying that Apple didn't move manufacturing to Asia because of cheap labor, but because that's where the skilled workers are.  It's interesting to hear him change his tune about the skill of American workers now that labor costs in Asia have risen.  I'm sure it's just a coincidence...

    Skill is not exactly what China offers, but in China if you want thousands of skilled workers in a week's time, they can be found and on the job.

    In the USA it would take a lot longer to just relocate them to where the factory is located... not to mention just interviewing them for employment.
  • Reply 14 of 62
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,526member
    dysamoria wrote: »
    If Apple's doing well enough to bring manufacturing or even assembly back into the USA over little preferential issues like secrecy, I'm all for it. Most companies only care about punching pennies so the executives can squeeze out more profit for themselves at the top. The problem with American industry isn't a lack of skill or availability/willingness of workers to do the work. It's greed. American capitalists don't want to pay people to do quality work. That's why they exported it to countries that have a lower standard of pay. Now that those countries have slowly benefitted from the decades of total industrial dominance, their own standards have improved and are less cost competitive, especially when considering the lack of control over the flow of information and worker safety/rights. Hopefully, the standard of living in the world has increased enough to encourage more American companies to move manufacturing back to the USA, considering the benefits of local control to be enough to compensate for the "not as cheaper as it used to be" cheaper labor.

    ...but I bet there are still plenty of other places left to criminally exploit, where the standards for human rights and workers' rights are still horrible...

    A little historical awareness would help you avoid this ideological drama here. The first to exploit solid state electronics commercially in a big way were the Japanese. Sony started out in transistor radios, and developed television and recording equipment from there. The Japanese government backed corporate development in these fields. Americans never had a chance.

    It all had less to do with greed, more to do with American sloth and lack of vision. You and others keep saying "bring back manufacturing" to the US. America never really did solid state in a viable way, until the advent of large scale integration. There the US has been able to compete, but it lacks the enormous electronics manufacturing infrastructure that's grown up in Asia since the 1950s.

    Note that this Austin factory is being run for Apple by Flextronics, no doubt because there are not enough experienced American manufacturing engineers to run an assembly plant like this efficiently.
  • Reply 15 of 62
    pazuzupazuzu Posts: 1,728member
    Any new products would be nice. Everything built now is a tad stale.
  • Reply 16 of 62
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,407member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by dysamoria View Post





    It's not a lack of skilled workers that is the problems. It's the manufacturing knowledge in the companies present in the USA, and ability to do the work in general. The facilities and those running them must have the tools and the industrial knowledge to use them.



    Industry, in terms of labor, has never relied on education. The Prussian-industrial model that the USA public school system is based on is all about indoctrinating people into being obedient workers for assembly line work... and being nationalists..., not educating them.



    The "skills" that exist on the job are created there in the first place. That doesn't come from any schooling. Trade schools are an exception, but there are few quality trade schools because there's a stigma against that kind of life's work, and because a good company can train almost anyone. When needing workers to do specialized tasks, you, the company, instruct your workers on how to do the work and how to operate the equipment.



    American companies don't like to see job training expenses. American companies hate long term employees making high wages (that are justified by expertise and experience). So they farm it off to foreign industrial companies that sell the labor tasks for less, while not showing the actual costs (including the human costs).



    Once again: corporate American greed is the problem. Corporate capitalist culture is the problem, not average American culture.



    Education is not relevant to the topic, though the American public school system is indeed primitive and based on a system of indoctrination, not education.



    Edit: the skills didn't exist here in the USA because the corporate management didn't want to pay to create it locally. They farmed the work out to other countries, rather than pay to bring those experts here and/or license the foreign manufacturing technology or engineer our own. Your work force is only as good as you make it. Blaming education is a scapegoat.

     

    Baloney. It's just a simple business decision for companies like Apple. Can we make this product, with this level of quality, for this much money and deliver it in time? These are the questions that matter. If China or Vietnam or Africa or Texas or Ireland can check off all the checklist items (these and many more), then they get the business.

     

    IMO, China should never have been admitted to the WTO because of their practice of dumping and currency manipulation (the US is not free of currency manipulation either, BTW).

  • Reply 17 of 62
    haggarhaggar Posts: 1,568member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    Apple CEO Tim Cook dropped in on the Austin, Texas facility that manufactures the new Mac Pro on Thursday, watching as technicians assembled the powerful desktop computers before expressing his appreciation for the new "Made in the USA" approach.

     





    Cook posted a photo of his visit, in which he can be seen peering over the shoulder of an employee who appears to be assembling a small internal component, to Twitter.


     

    Power Mac G5 heatsink?

  • Reply 18 of 62
    hillstoneshillstones Posts: 1,490member

    Texas - A beer in one hand and a gun in the other.  

  • Reply 19 of 62
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,503member
    The US presently doesn't have the skills to do the work at such a large scale.

    That statement goes back to 2009/2010 and Steve told the President if he can get nearly 30k US workers with these particular skills he'll bring back the manufacturing.

    In short, the next revolution of Industrial Trade Arts must include Advanced Manufacturing tech labor at community colleges, nation-wide.
  • Reply 20 of 62
    mactacmactac Posts: 316member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mstone View Post

     

    In the US, they apparently don't wear ISO clean room head gear like in China.

    image 




    It's not like any of the actual components are being built in Texas. It's all Chinese parts just being assembled in the US.

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