Made in ‘Merica
MyMac Podcast #433

On December 11, 2012, in Podcast, by Tim Robertson


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Well the news is out. Apple will be assembling an entire Mac line here in the US. Wonderful news and all that, but why does it ring somewhat hollow? The MyMac Podcast has a new way to talk to the GMen. It’s our Google+ Community page! WOO! Now you can…do all the stuff like before…just in yet another place. Yeah, that’s a win.

Some Links: Swaziland has to tax witch doctors to stay afloat! Film at 11!
Gaz’s App Pick: Flick Golf by Fulfat Games. FREE!
Guy’s App Pick: Roller Coaster Tycoon 3 by Aspyr. $29.99 at the Mac App Store

People’s Pick: None this week (sad face)

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One Response to Made in ‘Merica
MyMac Podcast #433

  1. I know this is two months after the show was first posted, but hey, I just listened to it today. Just wanted to make a few comments about engineers at big corporations. In my personal experience, development engineers feel like they’re walking through the slums when they make trips (usually under duress) to the factory floor. They truly feel they’re “above” that kind of thing, and really don’t like mixing with the “common people.” I’m especially reminded of a mechanical engineer, a Princeton grad, who always made faces and whined like a baby when he had to go out to the factory floor. He wound up as a very senior manager, years later. Besides, that’s why big companies have a manufacturing engineering organization (that’s where I worked for my first five years with a once-enormous midwest-based telecommunications and consumer electronics manufacturer (you figure that one out). Manufacturing engineers are the lifeline for the factory, providing all day-to-day engineering support. This includes trend spotting, assisting in identifying substitute parts when shortages occur (shortages always occur), helping repair devices when there is a large backlog (which also aids in identifying problems, be they manufacturing or supplier-based). These organizations include electrical, mechanical, tooling, process, chemical, and other engineering specialties as required. Add to this mix the electronics techs (my job), industrial engineering analysts (the ones who do the time-motion studies, and write the manufacturing process documents), software engineers (who write the automated test programs), and you can see it’s a large and interesting group of people.

    You also mentioned what happens to a factory when there’s a fire. General Motors found that out in 1953 when their sole factory for building Hydramatic automatic transmissions (used by Cadillac, Oldsmobile, and Pontiac) burned to the ground. First, management quickly figured out how to adapt other GM automatics to the products (mainly it was Powerglide for Pontiac, and Cadillac and Oldsmobile got Buick’s Dynaflow). Fortunately, some tooling was salvageable, and most of the important engineering drawings were duplicated and stored in a safe place. By working 24/7 (GM and their suppliers), within a few months, they had a temporary Hydramatic assembly line going in leased space until they could outfit an entirely new factory, which only took another month or two. Disasters like this bring out the best in people, working toward a common goal and getting things done in the face of severe adversity. Oh, and GM slowly began setting up additional Hydramatic assembly lines in other GM factories around the US, so that they would never be put in a position as they were when the Livonia, Michigan factory burned.

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