Distributed manufacturing represents a new model of industrialization uniquely suited to the continent’s strengths
By the time Tesla completes construction on its “Gigafactory” outside Sparks, Nevada, it will be the largest building in the world. The finished sections, which are already operational, measure 5.3 million square feet. And the factory is only 30% complete.
The Gigafactory is emblematic of a long-standing movement in the manufacturing world towards massive, centralized, and specialized factories. Producers have taken these characteristics as an axiom for realizing scale and efficiencies, ultimately reducing cost for consumers.
Tesla is quite explicit about these expected benefits from the Gigafactory, speculating that the “cost of battery cells will significantly decline through economies of scale….and the simple optimization of locating most manufacturing processes under one roof.” …
COVID-19 provides another wake-up call. Maybe this time we’ll listen.
Late last year, I found a message in my inbox extolling the many reasons why I should move to Buffalo, New York. While I never signed up for the “Be in Buffalo” mailing list, I found myself entertaining this inbox invasion, genuinely curious how long-hurting cities in western New York’s rust belt were selling themselves to the world.
One day while lazily using their handy calculator to compare your current city’s cost of living to Buffalo’s — it turns out San Francisco is more expensive — a featured article entitled Will Buffalo Become a Climate Change Haven? …
Efficiency, at a Price
“To what extent would companies be willing to sacrifice quarter-to-quarter efficiency for resilience over the long term, whether that’s natural disasters, the climate crisis, pandemics or other shocks?”
— Susan Lund as quoted in the New York Times
In an episode during Season 7 of The Office, an obviously disturbed Michael Scott (Steve Carrell), storms into the frame and starts grabbing random objects, turning them over to see where they’re made. A stuffed animal: “China!”; a pen holder: “China!”; and a reception placard: “China!”. …