November 21, 2016
The Times of India

I find it very disheartening that I have to come some 8,000 miles away from America to find an article in an Indian newspaper that quite brilliantly explains how big, multi-national corporations actually work.  Function in the real world as opposed to the populist vision of how Apple, for example, simply rapes America and its workers, according to President Elect Donald Trump.  Yes, the Times is a relatively conservative newspaper and this article is somewhat of a puff piece and complimentary to Apple.

But be that as it may, I’ve never seen a concise piece in the American news media that concisely explains how large corporations, tech ones, at least, really work. 

Here’s some salient features of the piece:

Apple has 69 supplier facilities in 33 states across the United States that manufacture parts for its devices.  Apple employs 80 thousand people directly in the United States.  Hundreds of thousands of software developers write aps for IPhones and IPads every day.  Apple’s Austin, Texas, campus – second only in size to its headquarters in Cupertino, California - employs 6,000 people, an increase from its 2,100 seven years ago.  Spread among its seven limestone buildings on campus, its employees field upwards of 8,000 customer tech support calls a day, manage the company’s vast network of suppliers, and figure out how to move around millions of IPhones a week to ensure that they get into the hands of customers when they want them.

The Austin facility employees also help run Apple’s ITunes music and Ap store, handle billions of dollars going in and out of the company’s American operations and continually update Apple’s MAP software to keep it up to date.  At another Austin location, 500 engineers work on the chips that will run the next round of Apple products.  Although contractors earn as little as $14.50 an hour, many become permanent Apple employees and experienced call center staff earn around $45,000 a year with generous benefits and stock grants.  The average salary at Apple’s Austin operation is $77,000 a year.  Apple has created over two million jobs in the United States since the introduction of the IPhone nine years ago. 
The Times of India sent a reporter to the Austin campus and interviewed many employees.  Ginny Lopez, who used to be a bartender, has two years of college and now is a permanent staff member handling difficult customer problems.  “You don’t need a crazy technical background to do this job,” she said.

Brisa Carillo, who started out in the call center five years ago fresh out of college, now handles international payroll matters and is studying for an MBA so that she can join the upper ranks of the finance department at Apple. 

Employees say that Apple encourages them to move within and across teams and the company is instituting a program which will allow employees a six month stint in a completely different field to see if it suits them. 

For a host of reasons, Apple is unlikely to produce IPhones in the United States but opening a smart phone factory is not the only way to provide solid employment for working class Americans who lack a college degree.  During the Presidential campaign, Donald Trump complained that too many Americans had lost manufacturing jobs and promised to force companies like Apple to bring those jobs home. “I’m going to get Apple to start making their phones and computers on our land, not in China,” he said.  Apple employees 80,000 people in the U.S.  and 110,000 world wide.  These are direct Apple employees and does not take into account the estimated 600,000 employees that supply Apple here in the U.S. and around the world.   As an employer, Apple is one of the world's top companies.  It does not, however, have employe steel workers or coal miners.  
As I noted above, it would have been a good thing had I seen such an article in a U.S. newspaper but I have not.  And despite that fact that all of the data comes from Apple and is not independently verified for this article, it’s very easy to Google "Apple" to find out that the article is pretty much right on the money.

Apple is the face of manufacturing and manufacturing jobs today in the 21st Century. Those old steel, coal, clothing and shoe manufacturing jobs that Trump talks about bringing back to America are long, long gone.  They are not coming back.  What we need are more Apple’s in this country.

My Take For The Day.     

PS: I was hoping to post a link to the full article in the Times of India - it's worth a read - but I gave up searching for it online.  For some reason it didn't seem to exist although it was in this morning's black and white print edition that I read while eating breakfast at Clayfingers.


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