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Ryan E. Day

Management

Investing in American Manufacturing

ROKiT Made chooses classic quality theory to launch ebike venture

Published: Thursday, November 5, 2020 - 12:03

Few phrases have more power to stir excited conversation than “American-made quality.” It’s been touted and trashed. It’s been a major cause for concern with offshoring and reshoring. Global conglomerate and startup incubator ROKiT Group has come down squarely in the camp that believes American-made can mean high-quality products, and they aim to prove it by manufacturing ebikes in Las Vegas under the name ROKiT MADE.

Dean Becker, co-founder, CEO, and chairman of ROKiT MADE shares his thoughts on starting a ground-up manufacturing venture in the United States.

Quality Digest: Is this is going to be a ground-up manufacturing plant? If so, you can do anything you want to. Is ROKiT MADE integrating QA into the design of the plant and its manufacturing processes?

Dean Becker: ROKiT MADE will be renting a facility to start, which will be around 150,000 square feet. We’re aiming to have a space leased in Las Vegas by March 1, 2021. We will be using the teachings of Deming and the Toyota Production System in designing our space and running our facility. ROKiT MADE is currently in discussions with university department heads that run programs centered around QA to advise us on best practices in the design and functioning of what we’re calling our ORB facility.

QD: A press release stated that ROKiT MADE is, “...moving away from the current trend of robotics and artificial intelligence, and instead utilizing human intelligence and American labor.” Can you elaborate on what that means to you?

DB: Instead of relying on robotics and artificial intelligence, ROKiT MADE will invest its time and money into training Americans and utilizing human labor, which we find to be more reliable. ROKiT MADE’s manual labor force has the ability to ensure quality products rather than relying on automated processes and expensive machinery.

QD: ROKiT Group pursues such a wide variety of projects. How did the team come up with ebikes as a viable business venture? What was the impetus to commit?

DB: At ROKiT Group, we had been extensively studying the e-vehicle market for several years and noticed that the existing concepts for the public new entrants into the e-car business and other e-mobility sectors are currently flawed; none of the companies show serious consideration to where their vehicles will be manufactured and built. We decided on moving forward with [ROKiT Made] e-bikes specifically when we realized that around 85 percent of the components for e-bikes are shared across various models. At ROKiT MADE, we will be able to produce e-bikes at scale by purchasing components in bulk, and assembling them at the ORB.

Through our research into the e-bike industry, we found that there is no foreign manufacturer with more than a 10-percent share of the U.S. market, and no medium or large-scale manufacturers building their e-bikes in America. There are some U.S. players with a fraction of 1 percent of the market that are assembling e-bikes in the back of their shops. ROKiT MADE is prepared to come in as a well-funded, planned, and organized player to take 30 to 40 percent of the U.S. market share overnight by producing e-bikes at scale in our facility.

QD: You said, “There is no better time than now to invest in a new American manufacturing facility.” What do you mean by that?

DB: There is no better time than now to invest in an American manufacturing because it will bring jobs to America and invest in American labor. The U.S. has suffered a loss of more than 5 million manufacturing jobs since 1997. Between 2016–2018 alone, the U.S. lost 1,800 factories. Unemployment is high, and focusing on entry-level jobs is a great way to assist this segment of the economy.

Discuss

About The Author

Ryan E. Day’s picture

Ryan E. Day

Ryan E. Day is Quality Digest’s project manager and senior editor for solution-based reporting, which brings together those seeking business improvement solutions and solution providers. Day has spent the last decade researching and interviewing top business leaders and continuous improvement experts at companies like Sakor, Ford, Merchandize Liquidators, Olympus, 3D Systems, Hexagon, Intertek, InfinityQS, Johnson Controls, FARO, and Eckel Industries. Most of his reporting is done with the help of his 20-lb tabby cat at his side.