Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 20th Mar 2017 23:42 UTC
In the News

Now refrigerators last 8-10 years, if you are fortunate. How in the world have our appliances regressed so much in the past few decades? I've bought and sold refrigerators and freezers from the 1950s that still work perfectly fine. I've come across washers and dryers from the 1960s and 1970s that were still working like the day they were made. Now, many appliances break and need servicing within 2-3 years and, overall, new appliances last 1/3 to 1/4 as long as appliances built decades ago. They break more frequently, and sooner, than ever before. They rust and deteriorate much quicker than in the past. Why is this happening, and what's really going on? I've been wrestling over these questions for years while selling thousands of appliances, and more recently, working with used appliance sellers and repair techs all across the country. The following is what I've discovered.

This is something we've all instinctively known, but Ryan Finlay goes into detail as to what, exactly, are the causes. The article's from 2015, but I stumbled on it today on Twitter, and I thought it was a great, informative read.

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Value Engineering
by lsatenstein on Fri 24th Mar 2017 13:32 UTC
lsatenstein
Member since:
2006-04-07

GE was looking at the products they made and found that without adequate replacements, the market was getting filled and they had limited replacement sales.

They embarked on a project called value engineering.

It was an intentional decision to design a part to last the duration of the guarantee/warantee period, and not much longer. The reason was obvious. Replacement parts yielded higher profit margins, and it kept repairman at work.

Value engineering is now done by all appliance makers. In fact, since margins are slim, there are a very limited number of manufacturing shops for fridges, stoves, etc. The shop assembles the items for the big name brands, who then slap their logo onto the product.

Visit your local furniture store and look at the fridges. Look at the interiors, the shelves, etc. These items are all interchangable between brands.

Even the brands that provide extra years of warrantee come from that common manufacturing plant.

Value engineering is what keeps the economy rolling... It is a hidden consumer tax.

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