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Friday, September 05, 2008

Dell to sell factories

The reports are Dell may be looking to possibly sell its manufacturing facilities worldwide to contract manufacturers within eighteen months. There’s no joy in such news for those most affected should the reports become reality. However, there is opportunity, also.

As I see it, it is a vindication of E F Schumacher, the late British, world-renown economist. Although an economist himself, Schumacher had no kind words for his brethren and the lofty places they occupy in crafting and shaping government economic policy. He summed up his view of economics as it affects the common man in simple terms in his book, Small is beautiful. The mega-corporations, like Dell, Microsoft, IBM and the like, are not the answer to economic inequality and the enhancement and nurturing of human worth with dignity. The manufacturing floor, he believed, is in total opposition to these human values.

Schumacher’s small, but workable, view of an efficient and effective economics model incorporates the following elements:

· Affordable Any tools or equipment an individual procures to work their trade must be affordable. Purchase of such should not put the individual in debt for much more than the equivalent of an earnings period of , for example, one or two months.

· Small Whatever tools or equipment the individual acquires to earn his/her livelihood should not require any more storage space than one can afford in their own home.

· Creative An individual should be able to find creative expression in what he/she does in earning their livelihood. This creativity is not necessarily of an artistic form, but in the freedom to create one’s day with their family in mind.

Some examples of the above include, a sewing machine, computer/air conditioning technicians’ tools, roofers, satellite dish installers, light automotive and much more.

Now, here’s a scenario.

Suppose a given factory employs 100 builders to assemble computers. The indication by companies outsourcing operations overseas is that model cannot be sustained indefinitely. What Dell may do would not be anything unique. The private manufacturing contractor? That’s just another “mega-corporation” model not unlike the one which just failed. Those affected by a plant shutdown and those who view that plant as their competition are the same who can benefit, _ together.

How many of those 100 individuals with the Knowledge, Skills and Experience in computer assembly in an at-home IE-Network would it take to build systems for a VAR or local independent retailer/reseller, _ as independent contractors? How much would the retailer/reseller’s sales increase were there a small and ever expanding local IE-Network to build custom systems? Although the IE-Network model will launch in Round Rock Texas the model can be easily replicated in Reston Virginia, Schuamburg Illinois, New York City New York and San Angelo Texas.

Small is beautiful.

Stay tuned.

2 comments:

PM Summer said...

Checking my Blogger Profile, I noticed another EF Schumacher/Tony Campolo fan here in Texas. Intriguing.

More investigations later.

Working Mannequin said...

Yes, indeed! Never heard Schumacher, but I cast his message to the tune of Tony's growl.
I appreciate your blog. Will visit it again. GT