Monday, February 9, 2009

Toward A Fractal Globalization?

Read John Robb's blog entry "DESIGN GLOBALLY, PRODUCE LOCALLY." It concludes as follows:
While this approach won't become common accepted for another decade, it will eventually happen. In fact, my personal experience building and running companies shows that it is ALREADY possible to use the design globally and produce locally model to great success.

For example, while I was the CTO of a start-up a couple years back, my team built a decentralized manufacturing system that produced products from digital designs that used a standard format. To make this possible, we virtually grafted our centrally controlled production process onto small manufacturing lines at companies (usually small companies with <$5m in revenue) located in thirty different countries to ensure precise quality control and rapid runs. This allowed our customers maximal design flexibility, since the design work was done centrally through a flexible Web site, without regard to the location of the actual physical production.

The result: as companies adopted our system, their production runs got much shorter. There was little waste (no over production or excess inventory that needed to be stored in a warehouse). Designs were updated frequently (more customization and more precise reflection of current needs) since large production runs weren't required. Transportation costs dropped to a small fraction of previous costs since the point of delivery was local rather than global. There was also a corresponding drop in time needed to deliver the product. In effect, we saw STEMI (space, time, energy, mass, and information) compression across the board that added up to a plethora of benefits for our customers.

This could result in a radically decentralized political system. And that certainly seems like a good idea to me, both in terms of resiliency and in the possibility of freedom from many hierarchical social dynamics.

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