Apple manufacturer Pegatron begins automating factories, reducing hires

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in General Discussion
Apple's secondary manufacturer, Pegatron, is following in the footsteps of Foxconn and beginning to automate its factories -- and cutting back on new hires as a result, according to the company's chairman.




With automation in place, Pegatron is recruiting fewer workers at its Shanghai factory, DigiTimes quoted T.H. Tung as saying in response to Chinese media reports. The facility should be able to use 20 people to do what previously took 100, Tung claimed.

It's not clear how many Pegatron production lines have been automated, but transition solves two problems for the company's management: the increasing difficulty of finding enough people to do menial assembly work, and the cost of hiring them, given improvements in wage standards.

Indirectly that change should benefit Apple, since cheaper labor costs at Pegatron may mean lower order quotes, and hence higher profits on Apple's end.

Foxconn is already making large strides in automation, for instance shrinking the workforce at its Kunshan factory from 110,000 people to only 50,000. Concerns have been raised about the socio-economic fallout of that sort of shift, given thousands of people being put out of work or forced to find it elsewhere. Kunshan has a large population of migrant workers, and if they leave in droves, that could impact not just them but the local economy for those who remain.

Pegatron is believed to be handling at least a portion of this fall's "iPhone 7" production, but only 4.7-inch models, not any 5.5-inch units.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 11
    Oh, but all Apple manufacturing will be required to take place in the US, after the guy with the distinctive hair is in office.
    levi
  • Reply 2 of 11
    netroxnetrox Posts: 572member
    Like Steve Jobs said, jobs are not coming back to USA... and jobs will not come back to China as well. Automations will do the majority of the work.
    edited July 2016
  • Reply 3 of 11
    levilevi Posts: 343member
    Que reactionary Mike Daisy article 
    h2psteveh
  • Reply 4 of 11
    rob53rob53 Posts: 1,863member
    I like the idea of automation because it shows that Apple's products are being condensed into components that can be produced via robots/automation. This cuts down on production errors (human errors mainly) and should give us a better product.

    As for the reduction in workers, a cut of 50K is nothing for the Chinese workforce. The estimate on the workers used during the construction of the Three Gorges Dam was 250K. China's transient work force will find other work so I'm not that worried and I don't think China is either. This is also why people with bad hair don't understand why Apple can't bring production back to the US. We don't have 60K people (110K-50K) willing to work on one company's production line. We have more than that out of work but I don't see how any company or our government could bring that many people together to work on one project (except by creating another war, which seems to be the normal way to re-employ people). 
  • Reply 5 of 11
    The parts are getting too small for humans to assemble.
  • Reply 6 of 11
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,278member
    rob53 said:
    This is also why people with bad hair don't understand why Apple can't bring production back to the US. We don't have 60K people (110K-50K) willing to work on one company's production line. We have more than that out of work but I don't see how any company or our government could bring that many people together to work on one project (except by creating another war, which seems to be the normal way to re-employ people). 
    Theoretically, if it paid a middle-class wage and housing could be found, U.S. workers, especially factory and other low-skilled workers who have been unemployed or under-employed and never "re-invented" themselves would move if they could get such a job.   It might be menial, repetitive work, but so was working in a car plant and it's better than working in a coal mine.   And if it paid a decent wage, it would be better than working in fast food as well. 

    But it will never happen because if massive manufacturing did return to the U.S., it would be highly automated, and it's more likely a plant would employ 200 or fewer workers than 20,000 or more.    And that's aside from the issue of supply lines from component manufacturers, etc.  

    Some areas don't even want such plants if they employ many people because the influx of people means having to build new schools and puts a strain on public services, even though it would substantially increase the local tax base via real-estate taxes, etc.  

    Mr. Bad Hair knows that manufacturing jobs will never return to the U.S.   But it all sounds good to blame China and threaten new and large import taxes.   If ever accomplished and prices on such goods rose 25%, people would go nuts, but it would be too late and Mr. Bad Hair would find someone or something else to blame.   Meanwhile, since U.S. sales would inevitably decline, stock prices would fall, pension plans would be worth less and there'd be more unemployment.   But we'd feel good because we were macho and all the Donald cares about is winning the election.  (Although with each passing day, I'm more convinced he's actually trying to lose the election because even he can't be that stupid.   It seems like the more inane and ridiculous his comments, the stronger his support.)  

    The fact is that last quarter, U.S. manufacturing output was at an all-time high, but it already is highly automated and therefore doesn't employ as many people as the output would suggest.

    But in the long run, we do have to find some solution, because our society will fall apart if there's no jobs or mostly only jobs that pay menial wages.  I think most of the anger seen in this election cycle is about that.     

      
  • Reply 7 of 11
    tmaytmay Posts: 2,642member
    zoetmb said:
    rob53 said:
    This is also why people with bad hair don't understand why Apple can't bring production back to the US. We don't have 60K people (110K-50K) willing to work on one company's production line. We have more than that out of work but I don't see how any company or our government could bring that many people together to work on one project (except by creating another war, which seems to be the normal way to re-employ people). 
    Theoretically, if it paid a middle-class wage and housing could be found, U.S. workers, especially factory and other low-skilled workers who have been unemployed or under-employed and never "re-invented" themselves would move if they could get such a job.   It might be menial, repetitive work, but so was working in a car plant and it's better than working in a coal mine.   And if it paid a decent wage, it would be better than working in fast food as well. 

    But it will never happen because if massive manufacturing did return to the U.S., it would be highly automated, and it's more likely a plant would employ 200 or fewer workers than 20,000 or more.    And that's aside from the issue of supply lines from component manufacturers, etc.  

    Some areas don't even want such plants if they employ many people because the influx of people means having to build new schools and puts a strain on public services, even though it would substantially increase the local tax base via real-estate taxes, etc.  

    Mr. Bad Hair knows that manufacturing jobs will never return to the U.S.   But it all sounds good to blame China and threaten new and large import taxes.   If ever accomplished and prices on such goods rose 25%, people would go nuts, but it would be too late and Mr. Bad Hair would find someone or something else to blame.   Meanwhile, since U.S. sales would inevitably decline, stock prices would fall, pension plans would be worth less and there'd be more unemployment.   But we'd feel good because we were macho and all the Donald cares about is winning the election.  (Although with each passing day, I'm more convinced he's actually trying to lose the election because even he can't be that stupid.   It seems like the more inane and ridiculous his comments, the stronger his support.)  

    The fact is that last quarter, U.S. manufacturing output was at an all-time high, but it already is highly automated and therefore doesn't employ as many people as the output would suggest.

    But in the long run, we do have to find some solution, because our society will fall apart if there's no jobs or mostly only jobs that pay menial wages.  I think most of the anger seen in this election cycle is about that.     

      
    I've been a small time manufacturer (a job shop for machining) for some time, and I would state unequivocally that there is/will be an opportunity for many small cottage industries to make significant contributions to the overall U.S. manufacturing economy. I base this on the cost of equipment being at historical lows, and the necessary software to program and operate the equipment is readily available and at free or low cost. Rapid prototyping in many and various processes is readily available from third parties and at reasonable cost for entrepreneurs, and with Indiegogo and Kickstarter, it's very possible to get future customers to absorb some of the risk and fund your product production.

    That isn't to imply that there won't be a necessity of outsourcing volume processes and labor for production, but the barrier to entry for product development and marketing is pretty low for motivated individuals and small companies.
  • Reply 8 of 11
    evilutionevilution Posts: 1,270member
    Machines cost the same in any country so they could bring the manufacture to the US. Obviously a factory will cost more and the people repairing the robots will cost more but overall, it'll cost less, they'll have tighter control, less leaks and better trained staff.
  • Reply 9 of 11
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,094member
    So people complain that Apple is outsourcing all manufacturing jobs overseas, so thus.. people will now complain that robotics will now replace those same jobs.  Just waiting for the whiners to come out of the woodwork...

  • Reply 10 of 11
    designrdesignr Posts: 340member
    zoetmb said:

    But in the long run, we do have to find some solution, because our society will fall apart if there's no jobs or mostly only jobs that pay menial wages.

    This concern has existed for many, many decades. There is more automation and manufacturing processes are more efficient than ever in history. Yet, there are more people employed than any time in history.

    To be sure there are short-term disruptions for some segments of the population. And people need to be adaptable. But there hasn't been, and I doubt there will be in the future, widespread and long-term unemployment or underemployment caused by technology.
  • Reply 11 of 11
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 2,371moderator
    Just shows the short-term small-mindedness, and myopic vision of those who took Steve Jobs' comment to Obama in 2011, or was it 2010, to mean Apple wanted to employ low cost human labor available overseas.  While that's been true, and true for any large company that needs manufacturing, Steve should have taken the extra few minutes to explain the reason; that those jobs were going away, to automation, wherever they were located.  

    Imagine if the Trumps of the world had their way five years ago; they would have bought for America's basic labor force a whole five or ten years of repetitive jobs, before they went away entirely.  And perhaps even went away sooner, because there would have been much greater incentive to automate under the pressure to move manufacturing to an expensive labor and regulation market as the U.S..  Not the way to plan a country's future.
    edited July 2016
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