It has taken me some weeks to "get my mind in order" with regard to this article. As a rider, please note that not all will agree with me, however my review is based on intimate experiences over the last 2 years with products outsourced. I do not wish to offend anyone, but voices have to be heard.
Mike, you are voicing exactly what I and several of my collegues here in Australia have been discussing for several years.
We have seen the effect of outsourcing not only production, but design as well. The result, in a nutshell, disaster. The Indian product is woeful, design concept is draconian, and attitude to complaint, what attitude, we didn't design or make it! In one instance, 40 tonnes of product was rejected by the buyer due to rust, bad welds, incompatability with existing product. Instead of the order going back to the supplier, it was sold off for 1 cent in the dollar and hence accepted. Total rework time and desigtn changes meant the product was actually dearer than the locally produced. But one thing remained true, the quality - a $60,000 boat spearing through the rear of a 4WD under normal braking is not a good thing, especially when the boat and the 4WD are written off! Result - none, manufacturing fault, insurance paid up. Again we rescued those who shouldn't be saved.
The Chinese experience is a lot better, except for the fact that all products are "throw away" items, great for the environment (not), but a heck of a lot better than the Indian product.
I am coming to the end of my working career, and I look around and I don't see Trainees, Apprentices or the like. I realize that I am the last of the true "journymen", "tradesman", "master" call it what you want, but there is no-one following, everything is being outsourced to Asia. We used to design for a servicable life, to suit our conditions, our society, but not anymore.
The Western world is "selling out" to the Asian countries, but what happens when the Asian currencies are forced to be linked to a Western currency (ie US dollar)? Manufacturing costs will rise dramatically, and we will have to bear it, as ALL our skills will be gone.
Engineering DOES MATTER, as we engineer for our own particular set of circumstances, and only when you reside within the arena you are engineering for, can you do the job well.
I hope I have not offended anyone, but I am passionate about my country's future within the Engineering and Manufacturing sectors, as I do not wish my children, or for that matter anybody, to be out of work for the sake of "a few measly dollars" and poor quality.
Good engineering save costs all round in all countries, but does not save anything in countries that operate "sweat shops".
Where will this leave US, USA, Australia, England, Germany (BMW is opening a plant in India, will the next generation BMW's look like Indian cabs?) as societies? I suspect we will all be salepeople, subsisting on sales to each other, earning a bowl of rice each a day!