RE: technical communication differences between software industry andmanufacturing industry

Subject: RE: technical communication differences between software industry andmanufacturing industry
From: "Margaret Cekis" <Margaret -dot- Cekis -at- comcast -dot- net>
To: "'Simon'" <wingman1985 -at- yahoo -dot- com -dot- cn>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 10 Jul 2013 23:07:15 -0400

Simon asked about the technical communication differences between the
software and manufacturing industries: "What do you see as the major
differences between software industry and manufacturing industry? Here is my
observation(I am working in a  JV located in mainland China in a
manufacturing setting but I am reading a lot about software industry):
Software businesses tend to pay more attention to their docs while in the
manufacturing sector, docs are systematically ignored (as far as I am
concerned). What is your observation?
______________________________________
Simon:
I worked for a smoke detector manufacturer for several years in the 1990s.
There are a lot of additional documentation considerations and costs
involved in manufactured products, such as regulatory requirements for
labeling and docs, such as Underwriters Laboratories in the U.S, CSA in
Canada, etc. The more countries a product is sold in, the more standards it
has to comply with, as well as requiring docs in multiple languages.
Then, in addition, the documentation has to fit in the package with the
product (without requiring a larger carton). Then the correct documentation
has to be put on the bill of materials and shipping manifest, and be queued
up as a part when the product is manufactured and packaged. At BRK, runs of
popular smoke detector models produced product numbers in the six figures,
and required carloads of printed manuals. And while all of this is going on,
marketing and product management are trying to shave costs to make the
products more price-competitive in more markets. So we open an electronic
product , and there is one gigantic sheet of onionskin paper folded into a
3-inch by 4-inch square, printed in 4-pt type in 17 languages!
Software companies now provide downloadable PDF docs on their web sites, and
sometimes don't print manuals at all. (At least these are my observations.)
Margaret Cekis, Johns Creek GA



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References:
technical communication differences between software industry and manufacturing industry: From: Simon

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