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    Default "American Factory" Documentary

    Anyone here seen this one? It's a recently-released documentary about a Chinese company that buys up an old, mothballed GM facility around Dayton, Ohio, to supply GM with auto glass. The company brings over hundreds of Chinese workers to work there and train the US employees, and a big culture clash ensues with the US employees and union bargaining, etc. It was produced by the Obamas; they have a film company now. I enjoyed it.

    Here's the trailer. You can find the film on Netflix.
    YouTube

    Apparently the company is still going and the film cuts off right before Trump is elected. Since then, they opposed the tariffs as apparently they were still importing glass from China and distributing it from there or something? You can find their testimony on the Request for Comment for the China tariffs on regulations.gov.

    I had heard of this company a couple years ago before anything about this documentary, because the company owner had done an interview I found on YouTube while researching costs overseas vs domestically. Basically, he explains why it's cheaper for him to simply have the glass manufactured in the US.

    YouTube
    Last edited by nyc123; 10-19-2019 at 11:02 AM.

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    The Youtube video kind of looks like a propaganda piece showing that workers in the USA are overpaid.

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    It definitely makes the case throughout the film that Chinese workers are more hungry and enthusiastic than the American workers. In some ways, I felt like maybe that was overdone and the came off as having a bias? Whether reality or bias, a constant theme that's overhanging throughout is that American workers are more problematic than the Chinese ones, and tend to be more demanding to their employer.

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    Yes it is on Netflix. Turned out they had some issues with the windshield quality and eventually they replaced the American managers. They went to good lengths to train yet the culture had some shock one to another. With the people who wanted to unionize the reaction was familiar just as any American company might do.

    Good to watch it though it will not disappoint.

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    It definitely makes the case throughout the film that Chinese workers are more hungry and enthusiastic than the American workers
    What an understatement,,, No matter where I go, How long the day has been, how much I spend, The Chinese workers hang on every word.

    I had a very good co-op program at my shop in Tennessee and payed way more than the average wage. The kids would come in at 1PM and work till 7 or 8PM and maybe half of that was productive. To them it was just a southern guys way out of working at McDonald's or Taco Bell. Not a bit of interest of their future.

    in 2012 When I took my first contract to teach Chinese proper machining techniques they sucked it up like sponges. Every word, every written explanation, Even how I presented myself was mimicked. They truly want to consistently better themselves in everything they do. The Chinese lifestyle is ALL about face and family. "How can I make sure my family is proud of me and how can I make sure my elders are taken care of". That is their goal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by g-coder05 View Post
    "How can I make sure my family is proud of me and how can I make sure my elders are taken care of". That is their goal.
    Wish we could instill more of that here.

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    I thought it was really well worth a watch. My favorite moment was probably when they brought the U.S guys over to China to meet the big boys and see the plant. The Chinese were all wearing their best suits and the one American guy rocked up in his 'best' Jaws t-shirt.

    I definitely got the impression that the Chinese are much hungrier for it but mostly i wonder how sustainable it is? One/two days off per month. Mandatory overtime and just the general pace they were working at was something else. Give it a few more years as living standards increase and we'll see just how hungry they really are.

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    I'll have to watch this.

    Sounds like it follows along with my thinking that the offshoring to China issue all of us Americans are up about (myself included) has us American's to blame more than the Chinese people. They have their own issues sure, but if we want to build our own stuff, that's all on us.

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    Quote Originally Posted by g-coder05 View Post
    What an understatement,,, No matter where I go, How long the day has been, how much I spend, The Chinese workers hang on every word.

    I had a very good co-op program at my shop in Tennessee and payed way more than the average wage. The kids would come in at 1PM and work till 7 or 8PM and maybe half of that was productive. To them it was just a southern guys way out of working at McDonald's or Taco Bell. Not a bit of interest of their future.

    in 2012 When I took my first contract to teach Chinese proper machining techniques they sucked it up like sponges. Every word, every written explanation, Even how I presented myself was mimicked. They truly want to consistently better themselves in everything they do. The Chinese lifestyle is ALL about face and family. "How can I make sure my family is proud of me and how can I make sure my elders are taken care of". That is their goal.
    Back less than a week ago after 2½ weeks in China and can only fully agree. Was 5 days each in Chongqing, Guilin and Guangzhou and every city is booming. Those that don't own a car have an electric bike. Half the cars I saw (and the roads were packed) were Chinese makes I'd never heard of. What surprised me too were how many of them were electric. At least 90% of all people seemed to be looking at a smart phone - even when driving or eating! Almost never saw anyone pay for anything in cash. By smart phone.

    Wouldn't want to live in China but what they are achieving is mind boggling and the thought has crossed my mind that it's only a matter of time before we go to China to learn rather than vice versa.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tonymor View Post
    I thought it was really well worth a watch. My favorite moment was probably when they brought the U.S guys over to China to meet the big boys and see the plant. The Chinese were all wearing their best suits and the one American guy rocked up in his 'best' Jaws t-shirt.

    I definitely got the impression that the Chinese are much hungrier for it but mostly i wonder how sustainable it is? One/two days off per month. Mandatory overtime and just the general pace they were working at was something else. Give it a few more years as living standards increase and we'll see just how hungry they really are.
    Some countries in Europe (Germany to name just one) you don't turn up to a meeting in jeans. The Chinese I know don't just get "One/two days off per month". There are several national holidays (over several days) where everything seems to grind to a stop.

    I suppose it's a bit like the USA and depends on where you work and who you work for although in China there does seem to be "rules".

    List of minimum annual leave by country - Wikipedia

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    Clearly a case of "Industrial Disease".

    And the US of A received a warning of such coming plague 35 years ago:
    YouTube

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    Just watched it, highly recommended.

    I guess the $30/hr. (plus benefits & pension) factory job is going the way of the Dodo bird.

    It mentions that 375 million workers will need to find new work by 2030, what the hell will they do?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Terry Keeley View Post
    Just watched it, highly recommended.

    I guess the $30/hr. (plus benefits & pension) factory job is going the way of the Dodo bird.

    It mentions that 375 million workers will need to find new work by 2030, what the hell will they do?
    They will become teachers, politicians, public works employees, school buss drivers, CNA's, street sweepers, cops, firemen, ass pickers

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pathogen View Post
    They will become "Taxpayer funded" teachers, politicians, public works employees, school buss drivers, CNA's, street sweepers, cops, firemen, ass pickers
    Fixed it for ya !

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    Quote Originally Posted by g-coder05 View Post
    What an understatement,,, No matter where I go, How long the day has been, how much I spend, The Chinese workers hang on every word.

    I had a very good co-op program at my shop in Tennessee and payed way more than the average wage. The kids would come in at 1PM and work till 7 or 8PM and maybe half of that was productive. To them it was just a southern guys way out of working at McDonald's or Taco Bell. Not a bit of interest of their future.

    in 2012 When I took my first contract to teach Chinese proper machining techniques they sucked it up like sponges. Every word, every written explanation, Even how I presented myself was mimicked. They truly want to consistently better themselves in everything they do. The Chinese lifestyle is ALL about face and family. "How can I make sure my family is proud of me and how can I make sure my elders are taken care of". That is their goal.
    I noticed in Indonesia they "appeared" to make a good show of it and all, the workers ID badges all of them were wearing a suit and tie for the pictures. BUT, the actual work ethic seemed pretty lax to me. Took them forever to get anything done, shop was not AC'd so you would get a group of 10 people or so hanging out in the cmm room and/or office spaces... All very polite though! Called me Mr Mike LoL...

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    Quote Originally Posted by digger doug View Post
    Fixed it for ya !
    Wouldn't want it any other way.

    What kind of teachers did they have at Trump University?

    Anyhow, I guess these unemployed could always count on getting a coal mine job, huh Digger?

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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeE. View Post
    Wouldn't want it any other way.

    What kind of teachers did they have at Trump University?

    Anyhow, I guess these unemployed could always count on getting a coal mine job, huh Digger?
    Catholic or other private grade school ?

    There are differing levels here, not just "public, heavily unionized, over paid"
    and "For profit trade school".

    There are sweatshops, there are cushy overpaid jobs, and there is "just right" jobs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by digger doug View Post
    Catholic or other private grade school ?

    There are differing levels here, not just "public, heavily unionized, over paid"
    and "For profit trade school".
    Among other things you come across as tight fisted. I hope you don't have kids.

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    America has a lot going for it right now. Super cheap natural gas coming out of our wazoo. That’s a huge advantage over the rest of the world. With automation now, labor isn’t a huge percentage of overall manufacturing costs.
    Environmental issues play a part... but by and large nat gas can be made somewhat environmentally friendly.
    For what it’s worth... it’s was the energy crisis created by OPEC which really hit US manufacturing very hard. That was the the first nail in the coffin.
    The next nail was high interest rates.
    And the final big nail was the new EPA regulations. But remember... the reason we created the EPA was that industry was being reckless.... East Coast rivers were literally catching on fire during hot summer months from all of the chemical waste being dumped by industry on the East River.
    Final straw was then labor. The unions were taken over by the mob.
    Anyway... that was 45 years ago. Things are much better now and energy is a huge part of costs. Then you have to add shipping. We really are in a better place here if government could only work together and get crap done.

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    As I just returned back from an Expat position in China, Changshu/Suzhou region and also after completing 5 years working in Mexican factories. I would have to say that in regards to work ethics there is a stark comparison in USA and China and Mexico. I myself am very passionate about manufacturing, efficiency and kaizen; creating a learning culture. China in regards to work was where I felt at home, it was not taboo to discuss urgent work items. However, it was almost to an extreme, even the most “liberal” of the Chinese spoke a good game of drinking and going out but hit the sack at 8:30pm in preparations for the next day and the conversations never veered off of work, NBA or new house.


    In regards to the culture, I believe not all want to improve themselves, in a corporate training function you will have 60-70% in the back playing the latest fruit ninja game and the remaining engaged wanting to learn. Their infrastructure for manufacturing is unbelievable machined components in hours from suppliers at 1/2 cost from USA and automation integration also done at half cost compared to USA.

    However, the government is very worried over the future of skilled labor and pushed very hard for automation and SKILLED job training programs.

    Overall, regarding the movie, the first half of the movie was a perfect example of USA vs Chinese manufacturing. My company didn’t do the marching since it was German owned but it did have the instilled work culture. If it wasn’t for the pollution I would of stayed longer.

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