Production is at the core of what Free Geek does, from attracting volunteers to producing the items that we give away and sell. Any major change it production over the years will cause change to Free Geek as a whole. We should try to predict what may happen so that we can be ready to adapt and make the changes positive ones for all of us.
State of the program
We are very good at producing desktop computers. We are so good that is seams that we cant get rid of them fast enough. We are also master testers of things like memory, hard drives, and some other drives and cards in advanced testing. Our prebuild stream works very well in getting computers where they need to go and to teach people just what goes into a computer (and if nothing else, how to open every case ever made).
We also have a few growing programs both in knowledge and physical size. These programs include Laptops, Macs, and Printers. Laptops is setting itself up to move closer to build. Macs are currently learning just what its like to be in a Linux world.
Current and past issues
Starting up programs at Free Geek takes a lot of energy. In the past when we have created infrastructure we didn't foresee the future. An example of this is with monitors in build, we built every thing to fit 15" monitors now we use 17s and they don't quite fit and are dangerous. We also seem to create our like locations far apart, The Laptop and Printer programs are located out of the flow of the normal day to day operations. There is not enough overlap of volunteers and staff in these areas for that reason.
Trends and predictions
Free Geek is going to see a decrease in the rate of change of our main incoming stream that production has depended on all these years. The standard desktop computer system is becoming less and less prevalent in the world at large, and we are beginning to even see that trend a bit here.
If Free Geek does more outreach, and we get a larger share of systems in the door, we may not see an actual decrease in numbers of desktops, but we will get an greater influx of other devices: Laptops, Macs, PDAs. Nice do it all cell phones (not the crappy free ones).
If we stay at our current level of incoming, most likely incoming desktops will lessen at the same time the other devices come in the door at an increased rate.
Production needs to be prepared for and aware of the possibility of shifting our main production line to laptops. To do this there would need to be another level of eval, or build, that can evaluate and process incoming laptops. Laptops are much harder to evaluate, and thus may not be appropriate for people becoming familiar with computers for the first time.
Production must also be able to handle an influx of devices that are rare enough that flow charts may not be adequate for teaching. To be able to test and process these devices we will need a larger advanced testing that maintains its culture of curiosity and willingness to teach. We may want at least a paid intern manning Advanced Testing in the medium therm future (2-3 years out). It is hard to predict which items would better be tested in Advanced testing or in Alt-build. Advanced testing would probably act as a staging ground for newer devices coming in to see if they are worth testing, and if so, to test them and create documentation for until the time when enough come in that it makes sense to push them into Alt-build for a broader pool of less trained volunteers to work on. Production needs to be prepared to be able to process unique, semi-unique and rare devices.
In summary, Production needs to be able to adapt to encompass many smaller and perhaps intermittent streams instead of depending on our old standard: the desktop.
|Good (for Free Geek)||Bad (for Free Geek)|
(to Free Geek)
Strengths: Strengths are advantages we have that are internal to Free Geek and helpful to achieving the objective. (Good things we do.)
Weaknesses: Weaknesses are problems we have that are internal to Free Geek and harmful to achieving the objective. (Things we do poorly or not at all.)
(to Free Geek)
Opportunities: Opportunities are advantages we have that are external to Free Geek and helpful to achieving the objective. (Good things that will or could happen to us.)
Threats: Threats are problems we have that are external to Free Geek and harmful to achieving the objective. (Bad things that will or could happen to us.)