I don't believe there is chronic a “disconnect” between thermal management specialists and real world manufacturing the author is pointing to. Most companies I know of (including several where I worked) took into considerations the variations in material properties, assembly process (reflow & on-board thermocouple locations), were considered and bracketed for upper and lower bounds.
There is some relevance to the language issue when communicating design and assembly specs to overseas vendors.
The Other Tesla David Blaza5 comments I find myself going to Kickstarter and Indiegogo on a regular basis these days because they have become real innovation marketplaces. As far as I'm concerned, this is where a lot of cool ...