Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Reshoring is a term that isn't used too much here in the US, but it's popularity continues to grow. The terms means bringing back a manufacturing process that had been previously moved to another country in order to reduce manufacturing costs.

One of the most exciting projects I was ever involved with here at Aspen Research involved reshoring of an electronic device (sorry, I can't say who it was). The manufacturer had gone to China looking for lower costs, but the quality was just not acceptable and so we helped them return here. As part of our effort, we help redesign some of the equipment so that it was simpler to manufacture. This was a nice project as it provided good jobs here in the US.

The company was fairly small and owned by an individual, so making the decision was done without any pressure and external financial guidance. I don't think that major corporations have that freedom. It is simply too trendy right now to outsource plants and jobs and Wall Street won't take too kindly to the reverse efforts. I've also worked extensively with another client who initially went to China, but has since gone elsewhere (Viet Nam, Sri Lanka,...) looking for lower costs. All these changes mean more work for us in approving the new parts, so it isn't all bad, but still...

This all came back to me because a local company announced that the are reshoring some of their toothpick manufacturing.

Update: Dilbert's take on this issue.

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