Articles by Jim Smith Ph.D. ABD

Can Quality Be Saved?

While manufacturers agree that the quality revolution that began in the 1980s is a good thing, quality does not seem to have improved as a result.


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Apple, Outsourcing and Tax Law

Arcane policies allow multinational corporations to avoid paying billions in U.S. taxes.

Multinationals are using overseas subsidiaries to avoid paying billions in federal taxes. Is that a problem? How would you fix it? Should the federal government provide a tax break for repatriated corporate earnings?


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Your Employees Are Smarter Than You Think

Manufacturers can do much better than "train" their employees.

Manufacturers often fail to recognize the ability of their employees to learn and think.


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The Dreamliner Nightmare, Part 2

The lithium-ion battery fiasco has cost Boeing and its customers millions.

Several respondents to my original blog say the 787's battery problems are a minor blip that Boeing will correct quickly. My impression is that the battery is becoming aviation’s equivalent of the Ford Pinto.


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The Dreamliner Becomes a Nightmare

How could a really great company get so many things wrong?

Did cost-cutting strategy jeopardize the production of what should have been an engineering triumph?


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Reshoring

Apparently, We Can...

No company has been under more pressure than Apple to bring back jobs that were shipped overseas.

Our guest blogger wonders whether Apple's recent decision to invest $100 million to manufacture iMacs in the United States is a token gesture or a sign of things to come.


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Assembly Automation

Working With the Lights Out

In their attempts to avoid costly labor, engineers can overinvest in machines.

Automation is wonderfully economical—except when it’s not. Time and again, I’ve seen smart engineers make dumb automation decisions, some of them ruinous.


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Did Outsourcing and Corporate Espionage Kill Nortel?

The demise of telecom giant Nortel may have been caused by its contract manufacturer, Huawei.


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Reshoring

China Telecom Issues

Increasingly, China is losing its cost advantages. Workers are striking at Chinese factories. Chinese suppliers copy Western products to become competitors. Time to market is longer. And now we can add electronic espionage.


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Why not Make Phones and iPods Here? Part 2

The federal government is not entirely to blame for the cost differential between U.S. and Chinese manufacturers.


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Multimedia

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Behind the Scenes at Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant

People are the heart and soul of the 2012 Assembly Plant of the Year. This slideshow shows some of the men and women who build three different types of electrified vehicles alongside traditional gas-powered cars on the auto industry’s most flexible assembly line—Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, MI. Photos courtesy Ford Motor Co.

Podcasts

 Live from The ASSEMBLY Show, Bob Wood, president of ECI Spinnomatic, talks about his company’s newest product: a fully automated riveting cell equipped with a rotary indexing table, a six-axis robot, an orbital forming unit, and laser sensors. 

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2014 December

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Welding: Principles & Practices

This text introduces students to a solid background in the basic principles and practices of welding.

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