Planned obsolescence has existed for a long time in different ways. It is one of the strategies of manufacturers to make more money. The sad thing is, not everyone knows what it is all about. Nowadays, every product is made with the knowledge and intention of being obsolete within a few years. Here is the article: Planned Obsolescence.
We buy cheap so we can buy more. The Mower was a Sears not a Walmart. Sears used to supply quality stuff - Craftsman. They nearly went under and now owned by KMart - always the quality store. The adage "You get what you pay for" in my experiance is you get less for your money when you save a buck. Where I work there is a sign that states " the price is forgotten long before the product wears out". We've never gone lacking for customers. Second - If the operator is letting the mower drag them over the yard nothing will hold up. I never liked self propelled because thay added wight to the mower and they never went the correct speed. Get some exercise and push that lawn.
We are so used to the disposable, throaway society. Most stuffs today don't last more than two years, or should I say a year. Ever make an effort to get a part for some product in the household, like a fridge or washer only to find the part is not made anymore? It's known as planned obsolescence, something producers plan for to keep individuals getting more stuff. The only way to really beat planned obsolescence is to buy things as cheaply as possible. That way, at least you aren't getting ripped off as much.
You're right about the pricing problem, Tool_maker. A good example is the way WalMart would come to a small town and wipe out mom-and-pop stationary stores, gardening stores, hardware stores. That would happen even though the small stores were owned by neighbors.
You would be willing to pay the extra $50, but too many end users will not. Therefore, your friends experience in China backs my point. The distributer will buy what he can sell, regardless of price. But why would he buy the highest quality to only see it sit, unsold in a warehouse somewhere. Consumers are the driving force and so long as we demand cheap and are willing to accept junk no retailer is going to survive trying to sell only high quality expensive merchandise except in rare niche markets.
There will always be people willing to spend $100 for an Armani shirt just so they can say they are wearing Armani. But the vast majority of us cannot and will not do that. So Arrow shirts are now made in, take your pick of third world countries, so it can sell at local department stores for $25 instead of the $35 it would cost to be made in the US. That pattern has repeated so many times that it is not arguable. So when we are griping and moaning about poor workmanship and low quality we need to look in the mirror and honestly ask what we are willing to pay for now and what did we accept in the past.
We need to turn the ship around, but in many cases it is too late. True enough there are/were many short sighted CEO's who off shored entire product lines and since have allowed factories to become obsolete before they were closed never to return. But it never would have happened if we as consumers had not facilitated the change. Go into any modern machine shop and count the number of new US made mills, lathes, grinders, etc. They no longer exist. Corporate America mirrors the population, it does not dictate the terms. Middle class America is not being murdered, it is committing suicide. End of rant.
That's right, Rob. I just got back from lunch with my friend who works for the American distributing company that buys from China that I mentioned earlier. He said that you can specify any part you want - if it is electronics based and you want the components to come from a certain manufacturer, they do it for the agreed upon price and it goes through QC to ensure that happens. Same thing with any other critical component - the buyer can specify its source as long as they are willing to pay for it. It all comes down to cost: if the distributer insists that the manufacturer shave off 10% of the price before they will buy - it isn't the manufacturer's profit margin that will necessarily suffer - it may very well be the quality of the parts...
You certainly offered a new twist on China manufacturing. I always viewed China as a manufacturing option for high-quantity/low-mix products. Apparently, the low-cost opportunities are prompting some brand owners to redesign their products to become low-mix items.
From what you're saying, Nancy, it sounds like you could turn to China production if you were willing to produce a cheaper product. That may be the clue to problems with China-produced products -- a move to lower quality in order to reach high quantities and meet the inexpensive threshold.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.