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01-24-2014, 09:18 PM   #1
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For Canon, 'made in Japan' means 'made by robots'

Excellent article on the manufacturing side being automated. Japanese domestic production ratios across Canon, Nikon and Ricoh. Also, provides some information on Canon's past gross profit margin on products - which is slipping. Will Nikon and Ricoh follow?
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Canon's domestic production ratio is 42%. Though the figure plunged after the 2008 start of the global financial crisis, which coincided with the yen going on a bull run, it has never been below 40%. Japanese rivals Nikon and Ricoh, meanwhile, have cut their Japan production ratios to 10-30%.



01-25-2014, 01:52 PM   #2
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The road to low-wage countries can be a long one. When poorly paid workers in one country start demanding fairer remuneration, companies have to move on to another country if they want to continue saving costs by paying peanuts. Then again and again.
I guess that's why many Pentax cameras are now made in the Philippines and Pentax lenses are made in Vietnam.
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01-25-2014, 04:37 PM   #3
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I certainly can't fault Canon for taking this route. I would think automation is taking over more and more the manufacturing process regardless of where the products are made. The less human contact, the less chance for error. Also, the more automated the process, the costs savings of outsourcing to a low cost (but less skilled) labor force isn't as much. They also get to keep the skilled work force and insure they will have skilled labor for the next generation. They appear to looking further ahead than the next quarter.
01-26-2014, 08:13 AM   #4
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I have friend who has been visited pentax camera factory in philippines cebu. He told me that manufacturing is fully automated, there is no people doing that work.

01-31-2014, 09:00 PM   #5
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Well, look at the camera tear downs some sites do. What kind of pride and joy could making those things be for anyone anyway? Let the 'bots build 'em.
02-02-2014, 08:09 PM   #6
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Just because a factory is located in a low cost country it doesn't mean that robots aren't doing most of the assembly. There are fewer people but it still takes a lot of people to run a factory.
02-02-2014, 08:16 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by abacus07 Quote
Just because a factory is located in a low cost country it doesn't mean that robots aren't doing most of the assembly. There are fewer people but it still takes a lot of people to run a factory.
The auto plant I visited 15 years ago, 40 engineers and programmers, 60 cleaners, 20 QC people, 20 tool and die guys, in total 150 people doing the work that was done by 2000 people before this plant opened.
02-03-2014, 05:00 AM   #8
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This can be seen among US companies, too. Even Apple, who started moving production overseas many years ago (first to Ireland), is now making its new Mac Pro in the US.

We're entering an interesting period, a period that with even more disruption than during the industrial revolution.

"The case for a highly disruptive period of economic growth is made by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, professors at MIT, in “The Second Machine Age”, a book to be published later this month. Like the first great era of industrialisation, they argue, it should deliver enormous benefits—but not without a period of disorienting and uncomfortable change. Their argument rests on an underappreciated aspect of the exponential growth in chip processing speed, memory capacity and other computer metrics: that the amount of progress computers will make in the next few years is always equal to the progress they have made since the very beginning. Mr Brynjolfsson and Mr McAfee reckon that the main bottleneck on innovation is the time it takes society to sort through the many combinations and permutations of new technologies and business models."

The future of jobs: The onrushing wave | The Economist

02-03-2014, 05:14 AM   #9
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I think increasingly automated manufacturing processes improves the overall quality control. Products can be made exactly the same way, every single time. Higher quality control means fewer items produced with defects, which costs the company money. Increased profits, lower production costs, maybe even lower retail prices. Wins all around!
02-03-2014, 05:27 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by dansamy Quote
I think increasingly automated manufacturing processes improves the overall quality control. Products can be made exactly the same way, every single time. Higher quality control means fewer items produced with defects, which costs the company money. Increased profits, lower production costs, maybe even lower retail prices. Wins all around!
Indeed, but it may, at least temporarily, put a huge share of the middle class out of work.

Jaron Lanier has a rather gloom view of how "the internet destroyed the middle class". He's far too pessimistic, IMHO - I'm optimistic about the future myself, but I think we're going to see a lot of social unrest while the second industrial revolution changes the world as we know it.
02-03-2014, 05:38 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by gazonk Quote
Indeed, but it may, at least temporarily, put a huge share of the middle class out of work.

Jaron Lanier has a rather gloom view of how "the internet destroyed the middle class". He's far too pessimistic, IMHO - I'm optimistic about the future myself, but I think we're going to see a lot of social unrest while the second industrial revolution changes the world as we know it.
I think we will also. 30 years ago, folks could rely on "the factory" - working there from their early twenties all the way to retirement, complete with pension. That doesn't happen now. It's a pretty scary world to be raising children in now. I worry about what the world will be like in 10 years when they're young adults. Or in 15 years when they're starting their families.

Last edited by dansamy; 02-03-2014 at 05:51 AM.
02-04-2014, 07:26 AM   #12
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QuoteQuote:
Partovi also cites estimates that 1.4 million programming jobs will be needed over the next decade while current projections are for only 400,000 graduates in the field.
Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Chris Bosh Campaign For More Programmers - Forbes


02-04-2014, 08:11 AM - 1 Like   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by dansamy Quote
I think we will also. 30 years ago, folks could rely on "the factory" - working there from their early twenties all the way to retirement, complete with pension. That doesn't happen now. It's a pretty scary world to be raising children in now. I worry about what the world will be like in 10 years when they're young adults. Or in 15 years when they're starting their families.
I used to have the exact same worries untill I figured that they'll just have other jobs.

Think about how many jobs were impacted by software alone. Many jobs disappeared, but how many were created?

And think about how 3D printing is going to impact entire supply chains. I already know a company that prefers printing spareparts over having them shipped from the other side of the world, and over sending back items fro repair. Everybody is always quick to imagine doomscenarios of empty warehouses the item 3D printing comes up. But somebody does have to print it, know what to print and how. But firstly somebody has to get those raw printing materials in the right spot in the first place. Then the parts have to be assembled. All here, instead of on the other side of the world.

The only thing that I personally find scary is wether or not I'm going to be able to keep up with all those changes and adapt to them quickly enough.
02-04-2014, 09:59 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Clavius Quote
I used to have the exact same worries untill I figured that they'll just have other jobs.

Think about how many jobs were impacted by software alone. Many jobs disappeared, but how many were created?

And think about how 3D printing is going to impact entire supply chains. I already know a company that prefers printing spareparts over having them shipped from the other side of the world, and over sending back items fro repair. Everybody is always quick to imagine doomscenarios of empty warehouses the item 3D printing comes up. But somebody does have to print it, know what to print and how. But firstly somebody has to get those raw printing materials in the right spot in the first place. Then the parts have to be assembled. All here, instead of on the other side of the world.

The only thing that I personally find scary is wether or not I'm going to be able to keep up with all those changes and adapt to them quickly enough.

Are you saying that students shouldn't choose being a wainwright or cooper as a career path?
02-04-2014, 02:38 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Blue Quote
Are you saying that students shouldn't choose being a wainwright or cooper as a career path?
Funny But - perhaps with the exception of some crafts (like these ) - I think that good craftsmanship will always be needed. In a nano tech future world with fully automated production, manually well-crafted objects will be still be wanted, especially by those who can afford it. Maybe even Leica will still make handmade lenses?
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