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螺丝钉难题:苹果为何无法实现“美国组装” A Tiny Screw Shows Why iPhones Won’t Be ‘Assembled in U.S.A.’
转自:https://cn.nytimes.com/technology/20190130/iphones-app...
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2019/02

螺丝钉难题:苹果为何无法实现“美国组装” A Tiny Screw Shows Why iPhones Won’t Be ‘Assembled in U.S.A.’

转自:https://cn.nytimes.com/technology/20190130/iphones-apple-china-made/dual/
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螺丝钉难题:苹果为何无法实现“美国组装”
A Tiny Screw Shows Why iPhones Won’t Be ‘Assembled in U.S.A.’
JACK NICAS

SAN FRANCISCO — Despite a trade war between the United States and China and past admonishments from President Trump “to start building their damn computers and things in this country,” Apple is unlikely to bring its manufacturing closer to home.
旧金山——尽管美国与中国之间爆发了贸易战,尽管特朗普总统过去多次警告“要开始在本国制造你们该死的电脑什么的”,但苹果不太可能把自己的制造业务搬到离家更近的地方来。

A tiny screw illustrates why.
一颗小小的螺丝钉说明了其中的原因。

In 2012, Apple’s chief executive, Timothy D. Cook, went on prime-time television to announce that Apple would make a Mac computer in the United States. It would be the first Apple product in years to be manufactured by American workers, and the top-of-the-line Mac Pro would come with an unusual inscription: “Assembled in USA.”
2012年,苹果首席执行官蒂莫西·D·库克(Timothy D. Cook)在电视黄金时段宣布,苹果将会在美国制造Mac计算机。这将会是好几年来首个由美国工人生产的苹果产品,而且,这款顶级Mac Pro也将刻上几个不同寻常的字:“美国组装”。

But when Apple began making the $3,000 computer in Austin, Tex., it struggled to find enough screws, according to three people who worked on the project and spoke on the condition of anonymity because of confidentiality agreements.
但是,据参与了该项目的三名人士说,当苹果开始在德克萨斯州奥斯汀生产这款售价3000美元的计算机时,公司在找到足够多的螺丝钉上很费了一番功夫,由于签署了保密协议,这三人要求不具名。

In China, Apple relied on factories that can produce vast quantities of custom screws on short notice. In Texas, where they say everything is bigger, it turned out the screw suppliers were not.
在中国,苹果靠的是能够在短时间内生产出大量定制螺丝钉的工厂。在号称什么都大的德克萨斯州,苹果却发现,那里的螺丝钉供应商不够大。

[Apple disabled the iPhone’s Group FaceTime feature to fix a bug that made eavesdropping possible.]
[苹果禁用了iPhone的FaceTime群聊功能来修复可能导致窃听的程序错误。]

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.
由于为苹果制造产品的承包商所依赖的、有20名员工的机加工车间每天最多只能生产1000颗螺丝钉,这款新版计算机的测试未能按时进行。

The screw shortage was one of several problems that postponed sales of the computer for months, the people who worked on the project said. By the time the computer was ready for mass production, Apple had ordered screws from China.
参与该项目的人说,螺丝钉短缺是导致这款计算机的销售推迟了好几个月的几个问题之一。等到大规模生产这款计算机的准备工作完成时,苹果已经从中国订购了螺丝钉。

The challenges in Texas illustrate problems that Apple would face if it tried to move a significant amount of manufacturing out of China. Apple has found that no country — and certainly not the United States — can match China’s combination of scale, skills, infrastructure and cost.
在德克萨斯州遇到的挑战说明了苹果如果试图将大部分制造业务迁出中国,将会面临什么样的问题。苹果已发现,没有任何一个国家——当然也包括美国——能够在规模、技艺、基础设施和成本这个组合上与中国匹敌。

[Apple computers were once made in Silicon Valley. It did not go well.]
[苹果曾在硅谷制造计算机。生产过程并不顺利。]

In China, you will also find one of Apple’s most important markets, and over the last month the risks that come with that dependence have become apparent. On Jan. 2, Apple said it would miss earnings expectations for the first time in 16 years, mostly because of slowing iPhone sales in China. On Tuesday, the company is expected to reveal more details about its financial results for the most recent quarter and its forecast for the coming year.
中国也是苹果最重要的市场之一,在过去的一个月里,苹果对这个市场的依赖所带来的风险已变得非常明显。苹果今年1月2日说,公司第四季度的盈利将低于预期,这将是16年来的第一次,主要原因是iPhone在中国的销售放缓。本周二,苹果将披露最近一个季度财务业绩的更多细节、以及公司对未来一年的预测。

The company could face more financial pressure if the Trump administration places tariffs on phones made in China — something the president has threatened to do.
如果特朗普政府对中国制造的手机加征关税的话——总统曾威胁要这么做——苹果可能会面临更大的财务压力。

Apple has intensified a search for ways to diversify its supply chain, but that hunt has homed in on India and Vietnam, according to an Apple executive who asked not to be named because the executive was not authorized to speak publicly. The company’s executives are increasingly worried that its heavy dependence on China for manufacturing is risky amid the country’s rising political tensions with the United States and unpredictability, this person said.
据一位苹果高管说,公司已经加大力度,寻找让供应链多元化的途径,但这个努力的目标是印度和越南。这位高管要求不具名,因为他未获得公开发表评论的授权。此人说,公司高管们越来越担心,在中国与美国的政治紧张局势日益加剧而且变得不可预测的情况下,公司在制造上严重依赖中国有很大的风险。

“The skill here is just incredible,” Mr. Cook said at a conference in China in late 2017. Making Apple products requires state-of-the-art machines and lots of people who know how to run them, he said.
“这里的技能简直好极了,”库克2017年底在中国的一个会上说。生产苹果产品需要最先进的机器、以及许多知道如何操作这种机器的人,他说。

“In the U.S., you could have a meeting of tooling engineers and I’m not sure we could fill the room,” he said. “In China, you could fill multiple football fields.”
“在美国,你可以把模具工程师召集起来开个会,但我不敢保证能把这个房间坐满,”他说。“在中国,参加这种会的人可以填满好几个足球场。”

Kristin Huguet, an Apple spokeswoman, said the company was “an engine of economic growth in the United States” that spent $60 billion last year with 9,000 American suppliers, helping to support 450,000 jobs. Apple’s Texas manufacturer, Flextronics, did not respond to requests for comment.
苹果发言人克里斯汀·休格特(Kristin Huguet)说,苹果是“美国经济增长的引擎”,公司去年在9000家美国供应商身上投入了600亿美元,帮助创造了45万个就业岗位。苹果在德克萨斯州的制造商伟创力公司(Flextronics)没有回复记者的置评请求。

Mr. Cook helped lead Apple’s shift to foreign manufacturing in 2004, a move that cut costs and provided the enormous scale necessary to produce some of history’s best-selling tech products.
2004年,库克在帮助苹果转向海外制造上起了主导作用,这种做法降低了成本,并为生产历史上一些最畅销的技术产品提供了所需的巨大规模。

Apple contracted much of the work to enormous factories in China, some stretching miles and employing hundreds of thousands of people who assemble, test and package Apple products. That assembly includes parts made around the world — from Norway to the Philippines to Pocatello, Idaho — that are shipped to China.
苹果将大部分生产工作外包给了巨大的中国工厂,其中有些厂房绵延数英里,雇佣了数十万人组装、测试和包装苹果产品。组装所用的零部件从挪威、菲律宾,还有艾奥瓦州的波卡特洛等世界各地运往中国。

The final assembly is the most labor-intensive part of building the iPhone, and its location often determines a product’s country of origin for tariffs.
总装是制造iPhone过程中劳动最密集的环节,总装地通常决定了关税问题上的产品来源国。

Mr. Cook often bristles at the notion that iPhones are Chinese-made. Apple points out that Corning, at a factory in Kentucky, makes many iPhone screens and that a company in Allen, Tex., makes laser technology for the iPhones’ facial-recognition system.
库克经常对iPhone是中国制造的说法大为恼火。苹果指出,康宁公司(Corning)在肯塔基州的一家工厂生产很多iPhone的屏幕,德克萨斯州艾伦市的一家公司为iPhone的人脸识别系统制造激光技术。

Mr. Cook has also disputed that cheap labor is the reason Apple is still in China. But it doesn’t hurt. The minimum wage in Zhengzhou, China, home of the world’s biggest iPhone factory, is roughly $2.10 an hour, including benefits. Apple said the starting pay for workers assembling its products there was about $3.15 an hour. Compensation for similar jobs in the United States is significantly higher.
库克也驳斥了廉价劳动力是苹果仍留在中国的原因的说法。但廉价劳动力对苹果来说并没有害处。全球最大的iPhone工厂在中国郑州,那里包括福利在内的最低工资约合每小时2.10美元。苹果说,在郑州组装其产品的工人起薪约合每小时3.15美元。在美国,类似工作的报酬要高得多。

While it was one of Apple’s most powerful computers, the American-made Mac Pro also turned out to be one of its most expensive.
虽然Mac Pro是苹果性能最强的计算机之一,但美国制造的Mac Pro也令其成为苹果最贵的机器之一。

Chinese suppliers shipped their components to Texas. But in some cases, the Texas team needed new parts as designs changed, and engineers who were tasked with designing the computer found themselves calling machine shops in central Texas.
中国供应商将其零部件运到德克萨斯州。但在某些情况下,由于设计的改变,德州的制造团队需要新的部件,负责设计计算机的工程师们发现,要找德克萨斯州中部的机械加工车间帮忙。

That is how they found Stephen Melo, the owner and president of Caldwell Manufacturing in Lockhart. Employees of Flextronics, the company hired by Apple to build the computers, in turn hired Caldwell to make 28,000 screws — though they would have liked more.
他们就是这样找到了斯蒂芬·梅洛(Stephen Melo),他是洛克哈特市考德威尔制造公司(Caldwell Manufacturing)的所有人兼总裁。苹果雇来生产这款计算机的伟创力公司把制造2.8万颗螺丝钉的工作承包给了考德威尔,尽管他们本想得到更多。

When Mr. Melo bought Caldwell in 2002, it was capable of the high-volume production Apple needed. But demand for that had dried up as manufacturing moved to China. He said he had replaced the old stamping presses that could mass-produce screws with machines designed for more precise, specialized jobs.
梅洛2002年收购考德威尔时,这家公司有能力满足苹果的大批量生产需求。但随着制造业向中国转移,对这种能力的需求越来越小。梅洛说,他已经用为更精确、更专业的任务设计的机器,取代了可以大批量生产螺丝钉的老式冲压机床。

Mr. Melo thought it was ironic that Apple, a leader in offshore manufacturing, had come calling with a big order. “It’s hard to invest for that in the U.S. because that stuff is purchased very cheaply overseas,” he said.
梅洛觉得,苹果找上门来下这份大订单有点讽刺意味,因为苹果是带头转向离岸制造的企业。“这种生产很难在美国投资,因为这些东西可以从海外很便宜地买来,”他说。

He made do with his new machines, although he could not make the exact screws Apple wanted. His company delivered 28,000 screws over 22 trips. Mr. Melo often made the one-hour drive himself in his Lexus sedan.
他勉强用自己的新机器制造苹果要的东西,但他造不出与苹果想要的一模一样的螺丝钉。他的公司用了22次才送完了2.8万颗螺丝钉的订货,梅洛经常用自己的雷克萨斯轿车亲自开车一小时去送货。

A former Apple manager who spoke on the condition of anonymity said the Flextronics team had also been far smaller than what he typically found on similar Apple projects in China. It was unclear exactly why the project was understaffed, the manager said, speculating that it was because American workers were more expensive.
一位曾在苹果工作的要求不具名的经理说,和他通常在苹果的中国类似项目中看到的规模相比,伟创力的生产队伍要小得多。这名经理说,他不清楚美国项目人手不足的确切原因,他猜是因为美国工人的成本更高。

The manager said similar Apple jobs in China would include a roomful of people working to ensure that all materials were in place for production. In Texas, it was one worker, who often seemed overwhelmed, the manager said. As a result, materials were regularly out of place or late, contributing to delays.
这名经理说,在中国,类似的苹果项目会雇用一屋子的人,确保所有材料都准备就绪。在德克萨斯州,做这件事的只有一名工人,他常常看上去忙不过来,这名经理说。结果是,材料经常放错地方或不到位,导致生产延误。

Another frustration with manufacturing in Texas: American workers won’t work around the clock. Chinese factories have shifts working at all hours, if necessary, and workers are sometimes even roused from their sleep to meet production goals. That was not an option in Texas.
德克萨斯州制造业另一个令人懊恼的事情是:美国工人不会连轴转地工作。中国工厂则实行24小时轮班制,如果有必要,为了完成生产目标,有时甚至会把工人从睡梦中唤醒。这在德克萨斯州是不可能的。

“China is not just cheap. It’s a place where, because it’s an authoritarian government, you can marshal 100,000 people to work all night for you,” said Susan Helper, an economics professor at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and the former chief economist at the Commerce Department. “That has become an essential part of the product-rollout strategy.”
“中国不仅便宜。由于其权威主义的政府,在那里,你可以动用10万名工人整夜给你干活儿,”苏珊·赫珀(Susan Helper)说,她是克利夫兰凯斯西储大学(Case Western Reserve University)的经济学教授,曾任美国商务部首席经济师。“那已经成为产品上市战略的一个重要组成部分。”

Ms. Helper said Apple could make more products in the United States if it invested significant time and money and relied more on robotics and specialized engineers instead of large numbers of low-wage line workers. She said government and industry would also need to improve job training and promote the development of a supply-chain infrastructure.
赫珀说,如果苹果投入大量的时间和资金,更多地依靠机器人技术和有专业技能的工程师,而不是依靠大量的低薪生产线工人,就可以在美国生产更多的产品。她说,政府和行业也需要改进就业培训,促进供应链基础设施的发展。

But, she added, there is a low chance of all that happening.
但是,她补充说,让所有这些全部都实现的可能性很小。

Apple still assembles Mac Pros at the factory on the outskirts of Austin, in part because it has already invested in complicated and custom machines. But the Mac Pro has been a slow seller, and Apple has not updated it since its introduction in 2013.
苹果仍在奥斯汀郊区的这家工厂组装Mac Pro,部分原因是公司已在那里投资了复杂的定制机器。但Mac Pro的销量一直不太好,自2013年推出以来,苹果一直没有对其进行过升级。

In December, Apple announced that it would add up to 15,000 workers in Austin, just miles from the Mac Pro plant. None of the new jobs are expected to be in manufacturing.
去年12月,苹果宣布将在奥斯汀离Mac Pro工厂数英里远的地方增加1.5万名员工。这些新的就业岗位中预计没有一个是和制造业有关。

Last modification:February 12th, 2019 at 07:29 pm
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