It’s a brave new manufacturing world

This internet ad caught my eye.  Please note that things are no longer “made in America.”  Instead, Americans just put the parts together.

I hope they work more efficiently than I do when I open my Ikea box and try to put those parts together.


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  • Ymarsakar

    Unfortunately, when the coming civil war shatters American unity, the rest of the world will have no idea how to put the pieces back together again.

  • David Foster

    There’s a lot of manufacturing still going on in America. Our manufacturing value-added and that of China are now about the same, and there are some very positive things going on.

    There’s a legal distinction between “Made in USA” and “Assembled in USA”…just looked it up, and the former category requires 75% of the manufacturing cost to be accrued in the US. So GE’s use of the “Assembled” term doesn’t necessarily mean that nothing is going on in this country other than assembly.

    I can’t quickly find a good summary of how GE makes refrigerators, but I’d be surprised if all that is going on in GE’s major appliance plants (the main one is in Louisville, KY) is assembly…it would seem to make sense at a minimum to do the fabrication of the sheet metal in order to avoid shipping bulky items that are mostly air.

    As a GE shareholder as well as an occasional customer, I’m not totally happy with Mr Immelt…some sucking-up to Obama is probably inevitable, but he’s carried it way too far, and he should have either cleaned up the media assets or gotten rid of them much earlier…but he does seem to be serious about doing more manufacturing in the US and generally focusing more on the industrial businesses and less on finance. 

  • Danny Lemieux

    I would also suspect that the “parts” made in China and other countries contain components made in the USA.

    Manufacturing has really become a very complicated, interconnected activity.

    Here is an example: my nephew works in a very successful U.S. company that manufacturers just 2 small ring components that are used in automobile engines. These components are sold all over the world, including into Japan. In Japan, these made-in-USA components are incorporated into Subaru engines, which are shipped to Indiana for assembly into Subaru Outbacks. I have a brother-in-law that runs operations for an American manufacturer that ships finished consumer appliances all over the world. They contain components manufactured in Taiwan.

  • David Foster

    Danny…yes…supply chains have gotten very long and complex…which of course imposes certain risks, both political and of the natural-disaster varieties.

    I can’t remember what the item is, but there is some electronic component which is essential to a vast range of products and for which almost the sole source turns out to be a single company in Taiwan.

    For anyone interested in manufacturing, I recommend this blog, run by two thoughtful guys with a lot of manufacturing experience. 

  • David Foster

    …meant also to mention another manufacturing-focused blog: the Blue Heron Journal, run by The Mill Girl with assistance from Emu the emu.

  • Mike Devx

    Don’t assume this is your Father’s Assembly Line, with many workers being paid to put appliances together.

    Robotics have come a LONG way in the last ten years.  Manufacture of parts (overseas?) and assembly of parts (here?) will more and more become the job of robots.  The trend is accelerating and the programming of the robots is becoming highly sophisticated.

  • Ymarsakar

    No wonder post apocalyptic zombie and other stories are getting more and more popular.