Pop quiz: Lean-ify this iPad case

dodocaseYour challenge: watch this video and figure out however many ways you could think of to streamline production of these iPad cases made by DODOcase. It is neat to watch practiced people doing their jobs so smooth and neatly. That’s evidence of the muscle memory of experienced craftsmen at work.

The video was a companion to this blog post; the video at the top of the page is a song and dance about why the sponsor (an online software product called Shopify) is dandy. I’m not suggesting the product isn’t great (I would love your opinion if you’ve used it), I only mention it so you can skip that video for the one I linked to in the first line. Then scroll down and read the feedback from the various manufacturer contestants who participated in the project. When each (respectively) were asked about their “Key manufacturing and marketing lessons learned”, responses mostly focused on marketing rather than manufacturing. Pity.

Several parties were profiled; most telling was the story of the tee shirt line that got buried in the stage of fulfillment and payment processing. While it’s possible the example was used to solidify the sponsor’s selling point, I know this is very often true. Your snags are nearly always something you don’t expect. There’s a reason why Miracle ragged about proper product identification (pt.2) as the first step to smooth fulfillment (pt.2).

I didn’t mean to get off track. Your challenge is to watch this video and figure out however many ways you could think of to streamline production of these iPad cases without compromising product quality or features. Winner gets a gold star!

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  1. dosfashonistas says:

    1. Have cloth precut and stacked close to the gluing machine.

    2. Place boards on the cloth in sequence (large, spine, large) rather than placing the two large boards first and then the spine.

    3. The waste can the corners are thrown into should be directly under the worker, not three steps away.

    I will be interested to see what others pick up on.

  2. David S says:

    1) Why isn’t the cloth cut with round corners?
    1b) his trash can is too far away, if he’s got to do the rounding on his table.
    2) Could there be some sort of notch cut on the exterior cover for alignment? When he’s putting the boards in he puts one down, grabs a jig to set the spacing of the other one, and then removes it. I’d think a couple notches to mark the edges would be faster. (the interior cloth is going to cover them up.
    3) way too much walking around (I realize that’s probably an equipment limitation.)
    4) has to be a better way to punch holes in piece of cardboard than hitting it with a screwdriver.

  3. Cherry says:

    I have one of these, given to me by my son at Christmas, for the iPad he knew was under the tree.
    The “book” part is indeed nicely made, and the wooden frame which holds the iPad is precisely engineered so that it fits snugly. My only quibble is with the elastic closure, which is standard 1/4 inch knicker elastic, ( not “ribbon” as on the video) and already beginning to lose elasticity. A half-inch or even wider elastic would have been preferable.

  4. Lisa Blank says:

    I wrote down my guesses before reading David’s, but I see we have some overlap.

    1) He had to reach too far for guide, scissors, etc. Why weren’t they right in front of him?
    2) He had to take a few steps to put waste in the trash can.
    3) There was too much moving of product from work area to work area.

  5. When I saw him reach for the scissors and cut the corners, I thought, “That’s why I’m no longer doing all production by myself.” So, first step would be to cut the corners rounded to start with. Did you notice how they seemed to stick to his fingers?

    I agree with all of the above. The walking around reminded me of my studio and I know how inefficient it is, and I was surprised to see something being “mass” produced this way. Does the case cost a fortune?


  6. kay says:

    Besides the other good answers, I’d build a jig to hold the pieces of board in correct alignment and spacing, and to allow the cloth to be properly centered. I’d have a second jig/positioning guide for the second fabric.

    Hand bookbinding normally works with a book block that’s going to have some variance from one volume to the next because the blocks will be hand built in most cases. I-pads shouldn’t be varying that much, so a jig should help.

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