[users] [OT] Analogies to "governance, " not so much "manufacturer" -- WAS: EPEL
Bryan J Smith
b.j.smith at ieee.org
Sun Jun 26 14:07:10 CEST 2011
From: Yury V. Zaytsev <yury at shurup.com>
> This question is in a very same vein as asking why would we have 5 major
> car platform manufacturers producing mutually incompatible products,
> which results in the duplication of the engineering efforts instead of
> having one worldwide meta-manufacturer, that would produce the most
> advanced car platforms in a truly efficient way.
> Do you have an answer for that already?
Maybe it's because I'm a Libertarian-thinking American engineer, but I do not
believe that is an accurate analogy. Yes, I'm nitpicking ... ;)
Just want to point out the following reasons:
1. The assumption that multiple engineering teams are poor and less efficient
2. That a single entity or "bureau" would produce something more advanced
3. Many manufacturers actually use the exact same suppliers, with full
If #1 is true, why not just have all engineers in a class work on a single
"super project" instead of challenging each other to see what ideas and designs
they could come up with? And #2, well, that's one of the greatest lessons in
engineering, as the concept of communism actually appeals to engineers, and most
of the Soviet Union was filled engineers in their political landscape. It's the
core belief that everything from marketing to microeconomics is a waste of time,
which is a clear west v. east engineering mentality, whereas the west learns
management and feasibility, and the east did not. And if you don't believe #3,
let's talk the "lowly" Corvette versus Ferrari sometime, and some of the rather
inexpensive, Anglo-American parts that do into high-end products of the latter.
Heck, even the Toyota mats came from an American manufacturer who spends 97% of
their time manufacturing for other makers (and they regularly had to point out
Toyota's requirements and specifications versus others, to show where the
differences came from).
A _better_ analogy would not be the independent, commercial car companies, but
more on the "goverance" side, conflicting North American transportation
standards with European Union, etc..., even inter-country or municipality
issues. Everything from headrests to lights, much more other aspects like
emissions and fuel -- including why Americans are seemingly "allergic" to diesel
(regulatory more than anything). Then you have both the manufacturers as well
as the consumers who have to deal with those conflicting standards, and redesign
even their own vehicles for different locales and regulatory requirements.
That's more of what is going on here, different standards, foci, maintainership,
leadership, etc... GM, Toyota, etc... have wildly differing divisions and even
names (e.g., GM's Holden in Australia), and if you ever have the chance to talk
to a chief engineer, you'll learn a lot about the issues. We can even talk
about the folly of assuming displacement means less fuel efficient, related
taxes and other things.
So does one just accept the Fedora Guidelines, Maintainer and Project governance
as "The" standard? That would certainly solve the problem, correct? How many
here would agree to that? ;)
Let's throw a more simplified auto analogy, racing. Here in the US, for sports
car racing (don't assume just because I'm an American that I follow NASCAR and
we Americans don't have anything but oval tracks ;) ), there is both IMSA
sponsored, ACO (EU) aligned, series like the American Le Mans Series (ALMS), and
more US-centric ISC run Grand Am program. Many would argue that the ACO is
already a real, international organization, with standards for prototype and
touring that everyone should follow. Others would complain there are some
serious differences in foci for racing between NA and EU, especially when it
comes to manfacturing-centric v. performance-centric. Both arguments have
merits. As much as the ACO has had quite a history, one can look back to the
'80s and Grand Am's predecessor in influencing major advances in everything from
ABS to traction control.
And that's before we consider the US' manufacturing-centric industry has
generally been allergic to formal sanction for fear of racing being seen as
dangerous and a liability for sales. Even GM was a major opponent (until
1998), and Ford only officially sanctioned it's '60s ACO teams because it was
spurned when it tried to by Ferrari (and even then it did not use its own
program, but looked to Shelby who looked outside of Ford). And even when
sanctioned today by the ACO, you have differences between NA and EU. ALMS is in
the bread'n butter consumer markets of the Americas, so it's clearly more
manufacturing-based. Even LMS (EU) is far more centric on the privateer teams
and drivers -- especially in FIA GT1 where few manufacturers go. I mean, if
you're a smaller design firm, who wants to challenge a deep pockets corporation
like a GM or Toyota when they have product branded manufacturer backed teams
that sell sub-$50K models that beat your 6-7 figure priced model continually?
Does your marketing absolutely no good.
Governance, not choice, is the issue. And playing fields are rarely level.
Different requirements tend to cause different needs. However, focusing on
co-existence and compatibility is a worthwhile endeavor, even if the governance
is not shared.
Bryan J Smith Professional, Technical Annoyance
Linked Profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/bjsmith
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