Manufacturing guy-at-large.

The Wrong Idea

Added on by Spencer Wright.

Lou Lenzi, GE General Manager of Industrial Design, talking with The Atlantic about outsourcing: 

“What we had wrong was the idea that anybody can screw together a dishwasher,” says Lenzi. “We thought, ‘We’ll do the engineering, we’ll do the marketing, and the manufacturing becomes a black box.’ But there is an inherent understanding that moves out when you move the manufacturing out. And you never get it back.”

Take note of this. Look around the hardware world today, and you'll see dozens of consultancies & outsourcing platforms that are dedicated to making manufacturing a black box. Their aims are good: to alleviate the strains of launching a hardware product. But the results can be highly problematic.

Designers who aren't knee deep in the making of their products are taking huge, unknown risks. Out of sight/out of mind is a recipe for avoidable mistakes.