New York Times: Screws for iPhones Assembled in US

Companies from around the world contribute parts for complex products like the Apple iPhone. China is the center for the supply chains, with teams orchestrating delivery of thousands of parts, some requiring custom work. Such a supply-chain infrastructure prevents fast relocation of assembly operations other nations. Donald Trump, early in his presidency, questioned why Apple and other computer firms could not build more products and create more jobs in the United States. He since threatened tariffs on products assembled in other countries. Apple assembles computers in Texas, but struggled to order enough custom screws on fast notice. “Tests of new versions of the computer were hamstrung because a 20-employee machine shop that Apple’s manufacturing contractor was relying on could produce at most 1,000 screws a day,” explains Jack Nicas for the New York Times. “Apple has found that no country – and certainly not the United States – can match China’s combination of scale, skills, infrastructure and cost.” Companies trying to reduce dependence on China's efficient supply chains consider India and Vietnam, but China’s skilled labor force is immense. Developing a supply chain requires massive investment in job training, robotics, factories and other infrastructure. – YaleGlobal

New York Times: Screws for iPhones Assembled in US

Complex products require global supply chains – the need for tiny custom screws shows the challenges of assembling iPhones in the United States
Jack Nicas
Monday, January 28, 2019

Read the article from the New York Times about the role of supply chains in manufacturing complex products.

Jack Nicas covers technology from San Francisco for The New York Times.

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