Tag Archives: Manufacturing

Toilet Alarm Clock – Part 2

(Posted in Muddled Memories)

(Continued from Toilet Alarm Clock – Part 1)

The internet is full of information.  And a lot of it is useless.  It’s almost a science to know how to find helpful information.  You would think you could type  __________ manufacturing into the mighty Google and a plethora of useful links would pop up.  Unfortunately, that’s not the case.  Many of the search results that show up at the top are the companies that pay top dollar to get that position.  These companies can pay big bucks to get there because they are hauling in big bucks.  They do business with well established brands that have deep pockets.  Developing a product for a complete amateur isn’t exactly on their to do list.  In fact, it’s not on it at all.  Manufacturers, especially oversees ones, deal in minimum orders.  They usually require you to purchase at least 2,000 units.  So, let’s say each unit is $10 from the factory.  You’re in $20,000 deep for just the first order.

Not to mention, oversees manufacturers are in foreign countries.  Slight problem; they speak a foreign language.  How the heck am I supposed to communicate with them?  I don’t even know any of the important terms for this type of industry.  I was ready to give up and roll back onto the ground.

I stuck it out for a couple more searches and struck gold.  So I thought.  Here we go, a manufacturer that is only about 5 hours away and works with start ups.  How lucky am I . . . they do consulting and construct prototypes.  Everything on their website looked good and I liked what I was seeing.  I did a little research about the company in a couple forums and everything check out alright.  I decided to email them to see if they could help me out.

It’s kind of amazing now a days with social media and information overload that everyone has to have some comedian in them.  You’ve got to stand out a little if you want to get someone’s attention.  (It’s too bad because it creates the annoying “one-upper” type person.)  I realized that this manufacturing company probably got hundreds of emails a day from people like me that thought they had a fantastic idea.  They were pretty much the only company I found after hours of research that stated they work with amateurs.

So, the subject line of an email becomes your audition.  You’ve got to pass the eye test and compel them to click on it.  I went with “College student with an idea so good I will no longer have to sleep my way to the top.” A little long?  Absolutely.  But, they responded.  And God, how I now wish they didn’t . . .

It’s funny how sometimes you think you caught a lucky break and it really turns out to a shitty situation.  Kind of like having a toilet siren for an alarm clock . . .

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Lets hear from you . . . do you get frustrated with researching on the internet?  When you really want a response from someone via email, how do you prepare your subject line?

Post your responses here in the comments section, on twitter, on facebook, or within the MadCap facebook group!  Thanks, I look forward to discussing this with you!

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Toilet Alarm Clock – Part 1

(Posted in Muddled Memories)

(Continued from In Bloom)

I woke up to the glaring sunlight streaming through my window.  My head felt like it got into a fight with a brick wall, and lost.  As I was cringing to the repulsive taste in my mouth, I squinted and saw that the clock read 10 Am.  Aw, hell naw.  Way too early for a night dweller like myself.  I had made the rookie mistake of leaving my blinds open.  They must be closed, at once.  Like a wounded animal, I rolled out of bed and slowly made my way to the window.  From my back, I reached up and spun the blinds closed.  Laying there, catching my breath from all of the barrel rolls, I felt like I too could see Blue.  Contemplating whether or not to just set up camp there for awhile, the post it on the wall caught my attention.

It was funny to see how crappy my hand writing was after having a couple of beverages.  I was relieved that I did it, though, because I didn’t remember the observation I had made about the group of girls.  Yeah, pinning it to the wall was a little unnecessary, but . . . yeah.  Really have nothing else to add on there.  I really wanted to get some people’s opinion of my product idea.  But, my room had just turned into a dark cave.  So, that was gonna have to wait  for a couple hours.

Most people wake up to the birds chirping.  Not me.  I am awaken every afternoon by a much less delightful noise.  The wall in my room is connected to the bathroom and I am reminded of that with each blaring toilet flush.  It’s usually a series of 5 or 6 flushes because of the 12 pack and 4 chimichangas my roommate had the night before.  It gets even lovelier when he bangs on my door and proclaims “Put some wings on me, I can fly now that I’m so much lighter!”  I can’t believe that this is my alarm clock . . .

I usually would have told him to f off and went back to sleep.  Not today though.  “Come in here batman”.  He opens the door and attempts to jump on my face; ass first.  Fortunately, he misses and bounces onto the ground.  “Dude, listen to this.  I came up with a brilliant idea last night.”  “Doubt it“.  “Screw you, listen.”  I disclosed the privileged information to him.  “That’s stupid.  Drive me to Burger King“.  Are you serious, it’s a great idea.”  “Yeah, not really.  I’ll be waiting downstairs.

He’s a guy, he doesn’t understand that girls will like it.  I then decided to call a trusted adviser.  She’ll get it.  I told her about the product.  Not bad.”  “That’s all you got?”  “Well, it could work.  But, it takes a lot of money to start up a business.  And you’re broke.”  “Thanks for the positivity.  I’m going to get a prototype made.  You’re going to have to test it out for me.”  “We’ll see.”  I already knew from the little time I spent brainstorming about the idea that it was going to be a long process to get the product on the market.  But, I didn’t know it would be so difficult to get people to buy into the idea.  I knew it was a good idea and people would realize it; they just needed something tangible to look at.  I absolutely hate doing research but knew I had to find a manufacturer to make a sample.  This is going to suck . . .

Continue to Toilet Alarm Clock – Part 2 . . .

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I’m interested to hear from you about your college experience.  Did you also have hilarious roommates?

Post your responses here in the comments section, on twitter, on facebook, or within the MadCap facebook group!  Thanks, I look forward to discussing this with you!

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The MadCap Effect

(Posted in Daily Chronicles)

(Continued from The Brothers Who Stand A Century Apart)

A couple days after I came up with the idea, I was casually having a drink outside and held up my glass to finish off the last drop.  At the bottom of the glass, I saw the 5 tiny letters that are engraved on most of the items in your house: CHINA.  Along with kitchenware, the industry my company is going to be a part of is dominated by Chinese manufacturing.  Before doing any research or asking anyone, I already knew that it was a given to produce products like mine in China.  And I really thought, and hoped, that there was someway I could have it made in the U.S.  Freshen up your drink and allow me to explain why I have come to find out that it is impossible.  At least for now . . . .

The whole reason I keep harping on about this is because it is a major issue within my product’s industry.  My view of the respective manufacturing situations that the U.S. and China find themselves in is directly responsible  for a challenging goal I have for my company. I have wanted to produce my product in the U.S. ever since I first came up with the idea.  I thought then and still think that it is the most moral thing to do.

My desire to do this increased even more after learning about the violent labor strikes going on in China.  I know that if my product took off and sold really well, I wouldn’t be able to get any satisfaction driving around in a car that was essentially paid for by oppressed Chinese workers who can barely afford to get by.  After being immersed in this project for so long, I’m shocked that this matter is such an afterthought.

If a riot policeman slugged a pregnant worker (near bottom of article) here in America, I’m sure every news pundit on TV would be screaming about it.  Especially Nancy Grace.  But, so long as it is a worker making the blue jeans outside the U.S. border, who cares.  We all rally around the rights for Timmy working at Wal Mart, but don’t give two shits about the 14 year old girl in China stitching the jeans for 12 hours without a break.

I do want to be clear that I don’t think this is the consumer’s fault.  I am a consumer and just about all of my clothes are foreign made.  All of the blame belongs on the company’s shoulders.  They certainly comply with the labor laws for their employees working in the U.S. stores, but it’s quite a different story for the workers across the Pacific who are making the products for the stores.  That minimum wage salary seems to get lost along the 8,000 mile distance from here to there.

Within my company’s industry, a lot of ethical issues get swept under the rug.  That is for those CEOs to live with though.  And sure, some might absolutely have to manufacture in foreign countries for practical reasons.  But, I bet some of them do it to make more money.  There is no accountability for their actions.  They take advantage of the cheap labor and want to reap the benefits without getting called out.  I don’t want my company to operate like that.  Take a look at this video; you’ll see what I’m saying about the zero accountability part at the 15:35 mark.  And this one.

I am in the process of heading a company and I have taken all of this into consideration.  Upon finalizing the mock spec for my product, I asked my consultant to price out sample costs from American factories.  Come to find out, it’s simply impossible to have my product mass produced here in the U.S. because I wouldn’t be able to turn a profit.  That is alarming.  Voola, just like that, I had to accept my product being made in China.  I was reassured by my consultant that they have worked with this factory in China for 15 years and they have great working conditions.  They visit the factory a couple times every year and the workers get paid fairly.   Just turn a blind eye to it, that seems to be the protocol anyway.

I do realize that I am guilty of being a mild hypocrite right now.  I have been up on my soap box yelling about how deplorable Chinese factories are and now I’m doing business with one.  Trust me, if I had it my way, it’d be USA all day. However, I’m not going to let this roadblock deter me from meeting my goal.  If I’m lucky enough for my product to become a fad, I believe that I would have the capability to open up a factory here and mass produce my product.  There would be many things to consider, especially being able to keep the product at the same price point and turning a profit.

If I would be able to meet those requirements, I would definitely do it. I understand the potential hot water situation I am putting my company in right now by declaring all of this.  Like the girl said in The Social Network, on the internet, everything is written in ink.  But, I stand by it now and will in the future.  If it can financially work opening a factory and producing units here, I by all means will do it.  Some may consider it wishful thinking, but I like to think of it as forward thinking.

Considering China is the manufacturing powerhouse right now, they need to do some forward thinking of their own.  To reiterate my point from the last post, their labor cost is going to go up and all the companies are going to move to countries like Vietnam.  This trend is already beginning.  In 50 years they very well could be in the same situation the U.S. is in right now  and having to outsource for manufacturing.  It’s almost just like the infamous Domino Effect.  Once the cost of labor goes up in one country, companies will move onto the next cheap one.  Maybe this explains the sudden skedaddling of the rich Chinese out of their homeland.

That’s why, along with the U.S., China should get ahead of the game and set regulations for the companies selling products within their country.  They should make these companies abide by labor laws that protect the rights of the laborers who are manufacturing the products, even if they are outside of the country.  This would be in their best interest and a giant step towards equality throughout the world.  It would knock down the next “domino” in a much more positive fashion.

My company will never be a major player in the industry by any stretch, but I want to do my part.  What’s right is right.  Maybe opening a factory here would encourage the big wigs that it could work for them.  Nonetheless, creating jobs for fellow Americans is good enough for me.  Just maybe, we could create a positive domino MadCap Effect.

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What are your thoughts of the labor strikes going on in China?

Let me hear your responses here, on twitter, on facebook, or within the MadCap facebook group!  Thanks, I look forward to discussing this with you!

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