According to Forbes.com, the Amazon Kindle 2 is not made in America in any shape or form. The flex circuit connectors, the injection molded-case, the controller board, and the Lithium polymer battery is made in China. Only one part is made in South Korea and that component is called the wireless card. The electrophoretic display is made in Taiwan. The manufacturing of technological tasks migrated to Asia and it became nearly impossible to gain that back. Once you lose practice, momentum, and daily interactions in a particular area, region or even country the ability to retain subject matter expertise becomes extremely challenging.
The only part of the Kindle that the U.S. can take credit for is the electronic ink according to HBR.org. Amazon designed the Kindle in California. The company E Ink was a key player in the birth of the Kindle. But at the end of the day, other countries have more leverage than the United States. The basic costs of producing goods in the United States is extremely high compared to other countries. Because of minimum wage, union contracts, required benefits packages, and taxes, it requires more capital to establish and maintain a cost effective manufacturing center in the United States.
More than 40 states are outsourcing or have outsourced jobs to other countries such as Asia. Amazon is not alone when it comes to outsourcing. Other companies such as American Express, Honeywell, Intel, and Ethan Allen are successful companies that are not ashamed to outsource manufacturing to other countries. Companies have to choose between cost effective decisions that lead to customer loyalty or going bankrupt to please certain people in their country.
I think that we have to start small. Universities and educational institutions have to be streamlined with leading tech companies in order to ensure and leverage the success of their graduates. This congruency can be marketed to the younger generation so that growth and development is passed on. Another program that can be beneficial is an overseas apprenticeship program for Kindle Manufacturing. If students observe the work ethic and absence of self-entitlement in other countries, then they can be inspired to acquire a manufacturing position until mastery is achieved. These are just a few ideas and concepts that have been utilized before.
Amazon Kindle is not the only product or company that credits Asia for its manufacturing. The company Dell Computers is completely dependent on a Taiwanese computer hardware corporation that has capitalized on their specialized skill sets. That corporation is called ASUSTeK and some would say that their strategy to network with Best Buy can easily be labelled as a form of monopolization. In order for America to catch up with their competition, they would have to raise awareness and show all generations the lack of drive our community has as it pertains to modern manufacturing. Our society glorifies passion in areas such as entertainment, sports, and business leadership. But there is absolutely little emphasis on being a skilled programmer or hardware engineer.
Children turn on the TV and they see shows like X-Factor, Ballers, and Iron Chef. But they don’t see television shows about tech gurus or aspiring tech gurus competing with one another to be hired by renowned companies such as Google, Facebook, Yahoo, or Apple. Whether or not Amazon and Dell are able to acquire new talent from the United States, globalization and its benefits will continue to enhance and improve the industry. I think this pattern of offshoring manufacturing jobs can act as a blueprint for future and current business leaders of America.
If a high school student or college student has a business idea, then he or she can start a business over a weekend. With the power of the internet and social media, anything is possible. It does not cost that much to buy a website from a hosting company. It is very affordable to hire someone from another country to work on your graphics project or video editing. In countries that do not have the credit system that we have in America, they are willing to work on manufacturing tasks more so than technicians or operators in the melting pot.
New employees in other countries may even find the manufacturing jobs more fun and rewarding. They see it as an opportunity to thrive as opposed to a stepping stone to add on the resume which is very common in America. Manufacturing and working on motherboards requires a lot of patience. To build a computer from practically zero is a lost art in America. In South Korea, computer hardware and the science of this field is still relatively exciting.