Quoted from harryhoudini:
We need an advocacy group of pinball enthusiasts who can organize and get manufacturers to change their stance on quality and customer service.
Agreed, but when I mentioned this to one of my distributors years ago, he wasn't optimistic.
Quoted from Seatmandan:
I'm a Product Development Engineer at Ford Motor Company, and understand slow build v.s. production speed. That's why I mentioned it. these pinballs are more akin to how Ferrari, RR and Jaguar USED to build vehicles, and less like how we do things today with automation and computers. That's the only reason I said it. I've seen the video walkthru on Stern and JJP of their production facility which is 98% human labor. This IS the equivelant of "slow build" in a highlt automated industry such as the auto industry.
I understand pinball machines are built my humans, not robots...old school by design
My point is simply this...a manufacturing process that involves humans doesn't all happen at one speed! For example, large/efficient home builders are often referred to as "production" builders (e.g. Toll Brothers, Pulte, etc.). These companies have wildly aggressive schedules for building homes. No slack in the schedules...they prefer to built with mistakes than slow down (actually a part of the business model). If customers notice issues and hold their feet to the fire, the builder (or it's sub-contractors) will come back and fix issues. Production builders typically restrict/limit customization. The more customization, the harder it is to build on a precise schedule.
Stern is like a "production" builder of pinball machines. They can produce ~500 games per week, which is 20-30x their competitors production capability. Spooky is on the other end of the spectrum...they build ~10 games per week. The huge output difference isn't just about more/less bodies...the process/culture of the companies is likely different as well. I have no idea how many JJP is capable of building in a week.
At Apple (where I worked for 20 years), the manufacturing process involves both automation and humans. Even though Apple iPhone assembly in China is labor intensive, it's far from a "slow build"!