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Chris Stephens (Vice President - Operations)

The Craft of PC Building

Written on December 13, 2012 by Chris Stephens
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Some recent news from Apple is creating a lot of talk about manufacturing technology products right here in the US.  This is reflecting a move many manufacturers are making by insourcing many aspects of their production.

These companies are learning what we have known here for a long time:  we are better off building and supporting the things we sell.

Most of these companies are making the decision to bring manufacturing lines back to the USA for financial reasons.  Although every company has to make a profit to plow ahead I think there are some other reasons, besides the financial, that drive our decision to keep virtually all of our operations in-house.  Here at Puget Systems those other reasons are also the two big drivers in our decision making process: customer experience and quality of product.  No place in our business do those two values show more than in the production department.  Here, the craftsmanship of PC building is taken on by a dedicated staff of technicians that leave their personal touch on every system they build.

If you are one of those who use a PC or server from Puget Systems you probably noticed we care a whole lot about how we build computers.  Open up a case from Puget Systems and you will see many small things our crew does to deliver a high quality product.  To us custom computer building goes beyond your ability to specify what parts you want in your system; it’s a matter of craftsmanship. Each system is carefully thought through by the builder right there on the bench; how to secure the connectors, where to put the wires, what settings for the fans, to Loctite or not to Loctite, nothing goes unnoticed.  We know this attention to detail is what transforms a computer into a Puget System. The craft of PC building has to be founded on the belief that what the customer can't see is just as important as what they can.

I am the new guy here at Puget and I am fascinated by the process used in production during the build phase; mostly because my assumptions about how it worked were totally wrong.  I came with a notion that the process has to be about efficiency and speed; I mean that IS what they taught us about business in school.

Let me share with you a few observations from the new guy in an effort to illustrate my point. What is the most commonly used tool on the build bench?  The simple Phillips screwdriver takes that title.

I asked, “ Wouldn't an electric driver be faster?”

“Probably, but then you can’t feel the torque in your hand or you might cross thread it and never know it.”

Puget also built a massive monitor wall where Kyle installs all your software and conducts bench testing. “Why go through the effort to build the wall?  Why not a KVM switch and a couple of monitors?” “Because the only way we can make sure there is not a problem with the video is to see it all the time”

In the Quality Control room, where Josh plies his trade and defends our good name, every system is methodically and thoroughly inspected to make sure every one (whether a new build or repair) can be sent out the door as a Puget System. My first observation of Josh working away was that he puts his hands on everything.  Every wire, connector, drive, card, board, port, or screw he can get his hands on he does…because you never know.

Lastly, there is no clock. “How much time are you given to build this system?”

“As long as it takes.”

It’s about the craftsmanship.

Building and supporting our products ourselves, right here in the good ‘ol USA, is a statement about who we are and what we believe. We hope it makes for a better experience for you.

Tags: Computer, tech support, warranty support, Business Practices, USA
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