a retreat from China
Re: "made in America, revisited," Outbound, October 2008
In addition to the many good points you made about the deeper look many companies are taking regarding offshoring jobs to Asia, I think there's an additional factor that could reverse the offshoring trend and return more jobs to North America: the issue of product quality. China-made consumer goods, we have learned, are often low on quality, and at times dangerous to the consumer. We have seen some products that are laced with lead, food products that are suspect or tainted, and industrial (durable) goods of shoddy workmanship.
Here in Canada, our largest newspaper, The Toronto Star, took a sampling of plastic consumer goods and found deadly amounts (if ingested) of lead in products ranging from pacifiers to dolls. The costume jewelry clasps were the worst. It seems that either the Asian factory managers don't care or are unable to control their quality.
To protect consumers, it is apparent that 100 percent inspection of consumer goods may be a necessity in the West. Legal rumblings are already starting, with parents worried about their children's safety. Now, with the cost of shipping and inventory carrying charges, the shift to localized manufacturing and distribution or at least moving away from Asian manufacturing is becoming a reality.
Tom Napier, PSI Engineering
the case for hydraulic hybrids
Re: "here come the hybrids," November 2008
Good article; however, the technology that needs to be investigated and reported on by your magazine is hydraulic hybrids. A hydraulic hybrid captures close to 80 percent of the braking energy generated during stop-and-start driving. Prototypes are producing a 40- to 50-percent reduction in fuel usage in field trials. This technology could be rapidly deployed for new truck manufacturing at a fraction of the cost of electric hybrids.
Dan Hanrahan, Numina Group
learn to let go
Re: "look before you leave: tips to ensure a successful succession," LaborPool, August 2008
Excellent article! Great points—especially about delegating. Let's face it: The best way to develop is to learn by practicing. The person can't practice if you don't give them the opportunity! Back off and let them walk in your shoes. The worst that can happen is that you'll have to fix it. And ... they'll even learn from that.
Ted Duboise, Atlanta, Ga.