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30 January 2012

Comments

I agree with you on all points, Kevin. The sad thing is, they didn't get to $96 billion by caring a single tidbit about people, and that's not about to change as long as the laws in China don't change. That's what's needed for change. Apple won't change these practices on their own. They don't seem to care about ethical issues, but they would be more likely to comply with labor laws, which they claim they are doing now (and those laws are ridiculous). That is their standard retort: "We're complying with the law." I'm confident they're figuring this firestorm of negative publicity will blow over and it'll be back to business as usual.

Yes, they're in position to do something incredible, but they won't, because putting people first didn't get them to where they are. Trampling the weak and hurdling the dead is what got them there, and they're not going to dance with the new girl who didn't bring them to the dance to begin with.

Cynical? No. Just realistic. The fact that they're sitting on $96 billion tells us what their priority is, and it's not people, regardless of how many workers have attempted or completed suicide attempts.

This is an excellent article, Kevin, and sets a robust challenge for Apple. And also for yourself. Put down the iPad. Switch to an Android based phone. Go back to a PC.

If the issues are significant enough to justify Apple taking "serious, solid, perhaps expensive action" are they not significant enough for you to take, at least symbolic, action? Your position as a Lean voice provides a platform from which to demonstrate commitment as well as a pulpit from which to preach it.

I do not use Apple products for all the reasons you stated in your blog. I know that the conditions in the factories where my Samsung phone was made may be every bit as poor as at Foxconn, but Apple is the bell-cow for this issue, and therefore the brand which should be targeted for our statements.

I agree with you. http://management.curiouscatblog.net/ Apple can and should do better.

Kevin,

What role does the ease of doing business in China play? Cheap labor is one motivator but I wonder if the dramatic lack of interference from government and NGO's in setting up and running manufacturing is not a large factor. The amout of paper work and permits needed to set up a factory in California (and the ongoing costs) have to be a major driver.

Thanks for the shoutout.

"They do audit their supplier's factories more than most companies."

You're right to say they need more than spot audits. It sounds like the Foxconn factory needs some full-time adult supervision.

They certainly need to start "thinking different" (bad grammar...)

One other thought -- yes, Apple has $96B, but many of the changes don't require much money (like job rotation and proper ergonomics). As Mike Daisey said, somebody just has to give a damn.

don't ask apple management to do something you won't do yourself. Stop using their products. Take your loss. Then move on. They have no incentive to stop until they haveno customers. Sell your shares. Mothball the hardware, and bemoan DRM's effect on your precious music collection. I don't own apple products, don't own shares, etc.

he had wanted to keep Apple mtaufncauring in the U.S. but all the insane government rules, made it so complex and expensive for him to do so and create one problem after another for him. So he was basically pushed to move it abroad to get his products made and on time. Thought that was an interesting perspective.Again, as usual, the root of the problem originates in Washington and the way they shape and enforce insane policies that destroy jobs, destroy companies from being able to hire enough people, etc (Just listen to Peter Schiff Radio, and how he wants to create more jobs because he needs to expand yet can't because of insane government rules! Instead he has to open offices abroad. And listen to Gibson guitar, how the government is harassing them and forcing them to lay off people.)

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    Kevin is a former president of a medical device company and consults and speaks on a variety of lean enterprise topics.
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