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Between Hooking-Up and Marriage: Rethinking Opportunities in Manufacturing

Terry Foecke (PCH International), Erin O'Malley (PCH International)
Location: Festival Pavilion

“Hooking-up” has replaced long-term relationships with manufacturing suppliers and this no-promises model is failing. All this commitment avoidance has created opportunities to make stuff faster, better, and smarter…we just need to connect the dots in new ways. The sweet spot for getting design and manufacturing done right relies on hardware, software, factories, and people. People who understand that a real hardware revolution also requires a manufacturing revolution.

The short-term contracts between clients and suppliers embed design and manufacturing risk, inhibit innovation, and prevent continuous product-quality improvements. Factories unsure about the length of a client relationship have little incentive to optimize: they play it by the book, and the “book” was written around 1950. Done the old, unconnected way, great design and manufacturing requires a range of investments that pay off in anywhere from a few months to many years.

Instead of squeezing factories with the eternal cost down, what about engaging with the people who know products better than anyone in the “hardware revolution”? What would it take to value manufacturer experience as much as user experience? How much knowledge are we throwing away by valuing a supplier only for their ability to make things more cheaply, rather than their knowledge about how to make high-quality products?

We know better, and we know more than we use. Join us as we explore what it takes to design and manufacture better products from the factory up.

Photo of Terry Foecke

Terry Foecke

PCH International

Terry Foecke is head of Supplier Development at PCH International, identifying and implementing progressive supply-chain practices that promote environmental and social responsibility. He has worked in and with factories since he was a teenager, acting as everything from a line worker to a factory owner.

Terry has spent the last 25 years focusing exclusively on pollution prevention and sustainable manufacturing, and has extensive policy and technical experience. He has served as a member of the Environmental Engineering Subcommittee of the Science Advisory Board (SAB) which advises the Administrator of the U.S. EPA. He has also served as a member of the National Advisory Commission on Environmental Policy and Technology (NACEPT), as Executive Director of the National Roundtable of State Pollution Prevention Programs, and as a member of the American Institute for Pollution Prevention.
Since 2008, Terry has directed his focus towards Asia, initially partnering with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and Walmart to “green” supply chains. Subsequently, he worked as the Chief Technical officer and a Director at SDCL-Asia, where he financially quantified energy improvement opportunities in Chinese SMEs. Terry has established an international reputation as an expert in source reduction opportunities in manufacturing processes, which has brought him to over 900 Chinese factories since his arrival.

He believes that the key to environmental and social progress is to make it easy to do what is right.

Photo of Erin O'Malley

Erin O'Malley

PCH International

Erin O’Malley works to synthesize disparate information to enable informed decisions that improve sustainability. She currently lives and works in Shenzhen, China, an area with almost infinite opportunities for sustainability improvement.

Before joining PCH International in June of 2013, she worked on community infrastructure projects, sustainable packaging development, Cuban car maintenance methods, implantable medical devices, and morgue dissections. Her mechanical engineering background serves as a framework to evaluate the complex problems that affect products today. She hopes more people will engage directly with factories to make products that better serve all the people affected by their creation.

Her ultimate goal is to create systems and products that improve continuously to address changing needs.