Oct 19, 2011

Car Seat Construction = A view on society

A while back while surfing through the channels we came upon this tv show, a simple concept, but, its all about how various things are made.  Its on the science channel and even if you don't have it you can see many of the episodes on netflix or direct from their site here.

What I found fascinating about this particular video is that this company that puts car seats together, receives all their parts on a JIT schedule, meaning, they get their parts right about the time that they put the seats together.

Now, think of the other companies that make those parts, and how they go about their business.

Now, think of the other companies that make the parts to supply those companies who supply the company that make the seats.

Now, think of the companies that supply the parts, to the companies that supply the parts, to the company that supplies the parts to make the seats, which are just parts, which are then supplied to the car company to put together before you even get to see them.

Whats mind boggling about this whole process, is, the immense scope of the entire production system that goes into everything that we use!

Where ever you happen to live, think about all the people that wake up and go to jobs in whatever capacity that they do and whatever their end product is and how that product evolves or becomes part of whatever end product you use.

Its an interesting concept in thought process.

Its really easy to take for granted all the things that we have at the tips of our fingers now days.  Things that ten years ago would have required more work to acquire, it would have been harder to get a mobile cup of coffee in the morning, you actually had to call your friends to see what they were doing, you had to actually follow your ex around to stalk instead of using facebook.

We all tend to get irratated when we can't get a burger and a couple beers in ten minutes for lunch, or, get pissed when the internet goes down for even a couple minutes during the day.

But, if you really stop and think about how much goes into every single thing that we do on a daily basis it would blow your mind!

In the video above, all the parts that come into that seat factory are already put together and the workers there assemble the finished chair.  From the cut foam, to the leather covers, to the heating elements, to the air bags, to the head rests, to the frames, to the recline mechanism....and all those parts came from companies that have other companies that supply them their parts to put those airbags, the electrical systems, the heating elements, the handles together.

To take this one step further, think of all the people that work at each and every company along that supply chain, the design, the management, the accounting, the sales, the material acquisition, the hr, the i.t geeks, the labor...its an endless chain of people all working together in this capacity to make a damn car seat.

If you think of it from the bottom level workiing up, the company that makes the seat brackets, they have to have the molding machines and the raw metal to mold, the people to run the company, etc etc, and ancillary to that company is the company that supplies the machines and services the machines and supplies the raw metal....and on and on and on and on.

I happened to have a job where I spent an awful lot of time looking out the window of my office at a highway that ran by.  Often I would wonder, where are these people going?  What are they doing?  Its 11:30 AM on some random tuesday, not everyone could be going to get a sex toy could they?

Thats the miracle of modern society, everyone has their little space to fill within our world, we all have our little tasks that contribute to the overall well being of the economy.

Side note, in that context of this post, its ironic how the people that we obsess over, the celebrities offer so little in comparison to a middle manager at an office supply company.  Kim Kardashian offers so little value compared to a Michael Scott type.

However, value is also a non-tangible item.  So, my concept of value may or may not jive with yours, maybe Kardashians exploits on a day to day basis provide some entertainment value to someone and instead of killing themselves they laugh at her nonsense and because of that non-suicide this person develops a great lithium ion battery to power to the next generation electric car.  Who knows!

Anyways, we all play our parts.

Mastercraft boats, who have had a bit of a PR hit recently, employ...say...100 people total, I have no idea, but, lets say thats what they employ.

They purchase fiberglass and electronics and engines and transmissions and whatever else goes into building a boat, all those companies that supply their raw materials employ X number of people as well. Moving back up the supply chain, think of all the people that are employed to sell and service and promote and use Mastercraft boats, and from there, all the other companies, the gas companies and the parks and the launch permits and the various ski/wetsuit/rope companies and all of that.

One mistake or apocalyptic issue within that finely tuned pipeline and it ruins your shit!

Lets say for example, Clarion stereos (or whatever Mastercraft uses for stereos) has a shipment of marine grade stereos and pre-amp outs on the receivers are bad or the screens don't work or whatever and Mastercraft cant make deliveries on time.

Shit is messed up!!!!!

You know how when you are walking in a big crowd, like...filing into a football game or going into a bar or a mexican cockfight and someone ahead of you stops all of a sudden to tie their shoe and you all go nuts to butts in line?  You all bonk into each other like, "WTF man?"

Thats what the process is.  We are all a million different mice doing our little part to make the larger dynamic go smooth, once one of us decided thats we need to tie our shoe, we all start smushing our peckers into other peoples butts.  Thats science!

Its an absolute miracle that society doesn't just crumble down around our ears while we get drunk and listen to our ipods, but, we are such a fluid society that it will never happen.

We live in such an awesome world, an amazing time and place where things are right there for the taking, everything at our fingertips and I wonder sometimes if we don't appreciate what we have in the moment.

Its just an amazing concept if you think about it, every single thing that we all do every single day is influenced by millions of other people and still we all tend to think that everything revolves around us.

Well of course we do, its dumb to think otherwise, of course your own life revolves around you, who else would it revolve around, my mom?  Thats idiotic, but, that isn't the point.

We all live in such an awesome time and place and some how through time and through tribulation we have come upon the culture that we are in now where things seem to move along smoothly, like everything is lubricated with motor oil, we all slide together and we don't have any real issues.

Thats why the car seat thing is so interesting, or for that matter, why the production of anything is so intersting if you actually think about everything that went into that seat getting into your car or that tomato getting onto your delicious BLT or those barleys getting into your delicious beer or or that little microphone getting onto that delicious weather lady on the news right now.

Furthermore, what is intersting about this is that this concept is not soley for the production aspect of life either, anyone who knows or is a social worker type or a teacher type, has kids who are different or affected by their social world more then others and that affects their daily life.

Their, the kids, output, their throughput is adversly affected by their supply chain.  Their dad kicks their ass on the daily, or they live in a bad environment or they are spoiled ass brats who are overly entitled to things.

Its all the same.

Proper supply chain management is what makes this country go.  From raw metal and finished heating elements to healthy neighborhoods and proper accountability for parents and children.

It all works together...the spokes of every aspect of our lives affect so much around us that when you sit back and look at it, it sort of blows your mind.

This is why, you can't pass judgment all the time on assholes that you deal with in life and can't always bitch about crappy things that you get as a consumer.  So much more goes into the construction of a product or a life then you are aware of, or that I am aware of, that it pays sometimes to take a step back and go, WHOA! things are amazing!!

Then, of course, that step back caused the guy behind you to spill his coffee and he will probably want to kick your ass.

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