This is the first post in a two part series on our update on Reshoring. We first started writing about and featuring reshoring content back in September of 2013, and have since added 10 more reshoring related posts in our reshoring blog category. We wanted to provide a general update on the state of reshoring, first starting with what are the motivations to reshore and then sharing an update on all stats related to reshoring. We will continue the series tomorrow talking about the future outlook, the current issues, and how we can all help stimulate reshoring.
Many off-shore manufacturers have returned to the U.S., a move known as reshoring. And, according to a Boston Consulting Group (BCG) study, 54% of companies with above one billion in revenues are now considering reshoring. Off-shored producers are finding that the benefits of foreign operations are not what they had anticipated. Obscure costs and risks were overlooked by many in the rush to operate off-shore. Contributing to the reshoring movement is the fact that economics of off-shore operating have changed significantly. Those changes, along with high costs of transporting materials and finished goods to and from overseas locations, make the value of reshoring likely to become a compelling financial reality for many manufacturers.
U.S. manufacturers hurried to produce off-shore, believing significant cost reductions and huge profits would follow. Many were eager to secure market share in regions of India, China, and other countries where they expected to stimulate demand for their products. Some anticipated incomparably low labor costs would enable them to flood the global market with cheaply produced goods. And, some companies just instinctively followed the corporate crowd toward outsourcing.
Terence Burton, President, Center for Excellence in Operations, Inc. details obscure off-shoring risks often overlooked by hasty manufacturers who experience typical outcomes of failure to evaluate all cost factors and risks of outsourcing. Some of those risks and consequences tend to go away or are reduced, offered by Burton and others, make reshoring increasingly attractive (Note: We have updated some of the following thanks to Harry Moser, President and Founder of The Reshoring Initiative):
Harry Moser, Founder and President of the Reshoring Initiative, provides the following statistics of American reshoring:
Tomorrow we will continue our look and update on the Reshoring Movement by talking about the future and what Reshoring looks like in the coming years, what are the current issuses and problems still needed to be worked out, and how we can all help stimulate more Reshoring to increase quality, reduce costs, and create more jobs in America. What are your thoughts on Reshoring? Let us know in the comments section below!
Editor’s Note: This is a guest blog which tackles the hard numbers behind reshoring. Although, long term, reshoring makes sense for some, at the end of the day, what reshoring does is remind executives at manufacturing companies to look at the long term, then decide what is best for the company. That may mean reshoring eventually, but according to today’s guest post, we also must look at the hard data before we decree that reshoring is in full form yet.
Editor’s Edit: As promised, we wanted to include the accompanying report to this article. It is now out from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, titled The Myth of America’s Manufacturing Renaissance: The Real State of U.S. Manufacturing.
You’ve probably heard the good news. After a decade of being constantly bombarded with news of off-shoring, images of deserted factories, and heart-wrenching tales of laid-off American workers unable to find new employment now that their job is in China, jobs are streaming back into the country, factories are reopening, and we’re back to whistling while we work. We’ve even got a new word for the phenomenon- reshoring.
Just don’t look at actual data. Because funny enough, the numbers illustrate that reshoring is a myth.
True, off-shoring has slowed and has maybe even stabilized. But this respite does not mean that manufacturing jobs are reappearing. Yes, there are isolated instances which your local paper can emphatically cite. However, there is no evidence that America’s manufacturing woes have magically worked themselves out, or that a significant number of jobs that left for China and Mexico are being shipped back.
The truth is that even since the recession, more manufacturing firms have been lost than created in the United States. Manufacturing establishments (the number of factories or manufacturing sites), have followed the same trend. In 2011, the United States was home to 10 percent fewer manufacturing firms and manufacturing establishments than in 2008. In fact, in 2011 the United States had the fewest manufacturing firms and manufacturing establishments since the Census Bureau began collecting Business Dynamics data in 1977 (when, it should be mentioned, the U.S. labor force was 35 percent smaller than it is today).
Admittedly, this data is only current through 2011, but manufacturing employment data tells a similar story. While the economy has added some jobs since its nadir in 2009, labor statistics show that employment growth since 2010 has matched, not outpaced, growth of the labor force. Yes, manufacturing jobs are up by 700,000 since 2010, but there are still over 1 million fewer manufacturing jobs than there were in 2008. Predominantly, recovered jobs result from factories returning to full production capacity as aggregate demand recovers, not from new manufacturing projects flocking to our shores.
Even articles brashly proclaiming the return of the manufacturing sector sheepishly admit that the number of firms they have actually seen reshore is under 100, many of which are small or mid-sized, or that job fluctuations due to offshoring and reshoring is about neutral. None of the articles back reshoring claims with real employment data, nor have more recently updated macroeconomic indicators pointed to a major reversal in the United States’ manufacturing fortunes.
Clearly, such articles represent cherry-picked case studies, not a national trend. Isolated examples are widely repeated because of public desire for good economic news as well as firms’ desire to improve public image by loudly publicizing their relocation.
With no serious changes or improvements to support for our manufacturing sector, the respite in rapid offshoring derives from the temporarily depressed value of the dollar and U.S. wages following the recession. Additionally, offshoring is slowing because most of the factories which could leave already have.
Manufacturing is not dead in this country, but neither is it experiencing a sudden renaissance. The sad reality is that the vast majority of departed jobs are not coming back. To recoup lost manufacturing strength, America needs a strong manufacturing strategy to boost research and development, encourage innovation, and ensure the United States remains a leader in advanced, emerging industries. We also need a stronger education system to ensure that the United States has the requisite labor force. Currently, the STEM shortage is an active barrier to U.S. manufacturing- Apple can’t relocate iPhone production to the U.S. because we simply don’t have the small army of 30,000 available engineers needed to man the factories. We need a smarter corporate tax structure to keep American production competitive with other nations. And we need research into robotics, additive manufacturing, and other cutting edge technologies that increase the productivity of workers and could make manufacturing goods in the United States feasible once more.
The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation will soon have a special report on their website next month for download on Reshoring. Make sure you visit and bookmark their website to be one of the first to see the report. We will update this post with the report link once it is available. Have thoughts on Reshoring? Would love your comments below!
This is the kind of project that, done successfully, can add to the legacy a CEO leaves his company. Unfortunately, not all reshoring, onshoring and nearshoring projects are a success.
Consider Otis Elevator. OE is one of many U.S. manufacturers, including GE, Whirlpool and NCR, which announced they were bringing factories back to the U.S. from China, Mexico and other countries and whose efforts did not go well.
Elevator and escalator orders were rising in 2012 as the building industry began to recover; however, Otis could not keep up. Output was well below plan in the new U.S. plant and backorders began to climb. Customers started to cancel orders. “I think we failed on both the planning and the execution side,” Robert McDonough, CEO of the United Technologies unit that includes Otis, told analysts in March, according to The Wall Street Journal. The reshoring project cost Otis $60 million last year and that figure continues to climb.
So what went wrong? Otis representatives say the company failed to consider the consequences of the new location and tried to do too much at once, including a supply chain software implementation.
You can avoid making the same mistakes Otis made and successfully reshore some of your production by considering these rules:
More than half of U.S.-based manufacturing executives at large companies report they are planning to bring production back to the U.S. from China or are actively considering it, according to a new survey by The Boston Consulting Group. Some of these companies will be successful and others will struggle and fail. Reshoring takes careful consideration, planning and execution.
Following these steps will help you avoid reshoring failure.
This is a guest post from Harry Moser and Millar Kelley of the Reshoring Initiative. The mission of the Reshoring Initiative is to bring good, well-paying manufacturing jobs back to the United States by assisting companies to more accurately assess their total cost of offshoring, and shift collective thinking from offshoring is cheaper to local reduces the total cost of ownership.
As a proud “Made In America” company and with the vast majority of our customers as manufacturers, we try and bring light to the importance of bringing back manufacturing not only for the benefits of more jobs, adding to the GDP, and strengthing of the economy, but also as a smart business decision as the beauty of closness to your suppliers and vendors makes a lot of sense. Please find out more about the Reshoring Initiative to learn more about Reshoring and how you can get involved, please visit their website here.
These are exciting times for the rebounding U.S. industrial base. Since the end of 2012, we have heard the news of Apple’s plans to move some Mac production back to the United States, and of Walmart’s commitment to spend $50 billion on additional U.S.-made products over the next decade. While these are small steps relative to the companies’ scale, it is a big deal that large corporations are making significant and well-publicized efforts to bring production back to the United States. And this is just the latest on the heels of the 50,000+ manufacturing jobs that have been added as a result of reshoring in the last three years.
There are other clear signs that the economic logic of local sourcing versus offshoring is penetrating the consciousness of both the business world and consumers. This past January, the Reshoring Initiative won a debate  in The Economist, supporting the motion that multinational corporations have an obligation to maintain a strong presence in their country of origin. This was a great achievement since the majority of Economist readers (the voters) traditionally support laissez-faire free markets and 100 percent profit maximizing over longer-range thinking that more fully recognizes corporate costs and risks, and considers the value of a strong society to the corporation and its shareholders. Voters, and especially the manufacturing community, stepped up and made it clear that investing and producing at home is a priority and is the choice that most benefits shareholders, companies and country alike.
Consumer preference is another indicator of bolstered support for U.S. manufacturing. Boston Consulting Group recently released two survey reports pointing to a strong and growing consumer preference for “Made in the USA” products, and to a marketing advantage for brands with the Made in the USA label. They report, “More than 80 percent of U.S. consumers stated that they are willing to pay more for products labeled “Made in USA” than for those labeled “Made in China.” Concerns about quality and a desire to keep jobs in the U.S. were the key drivers.”
|Examples of Reshoring of Electronic/Electrical Products
For the electronics and technology sectors, every reshoring case matters. Reshoring improves U.S. competitive advantage by strengthening R&D, and reducing IP loss. Returning manufacturing to the United States, of course, also adds jobs for electronic, computer and software engineers. The relationship between engineering and production is well understood: innovation works best if they are together. Harvard Business School Professors Pisano and Shih have documented the negative impact of separating these critical functions . It is in the self-interest of engineers to encourage domestic manufacturing, because if their companies offshore manufacturing, engineering is likely to follow.
In addition to OEMs (original equipment manufacturers), contract manufacturers also reshore. For example, Zentech , an EMS (Electronics Manufacturing Services) company reshored over $1M in manufacturing in 2012 with plans to reshore even more in 2013. President and CEO Matt Turpin reports, “Zentech is experiencing growth in all industry sectors and continues to see opportunities in the area of reshoring. CEOs and CFOs are realizing that total cost of ownership (TCO) for offshore manufactured goods is rising even faster than per-unit costs for the same items. Since focusing on reshoring, Zentech experienced a 50 percent growth in its customer base in 2012, and is forecast to increase revenues by as much in 2013. Many of these new customers have the ability to utilize offshore EMS providers but fortunately understand the TCO implications.”
This logic applies to all manufacturing companies in their own sourcing decisions and in their sales efforts versus offshore competitors. As companies adopt a more comprehensive total cost analysis they are finding that rising offshore labor rates (going up by 18 percent per year in China, 500 percent in the last 12 years) combined with other “hidden costs” of offshoring often counterbalance any remaining savings from cheap price or labor abroad. An example of a hidden cost is millions of counterfeit and scrap electronic components from China getting into military and other systems. Reshoring more parts reduces this problem and increases the quality and safety of U.S. products.
The trend of returning to local sourcing is a shift in understanding and approach that has major positive implications for individual companies and the national economy. First, reshoring can improve the bottom line for a wide range of companies. Second, bringing manufacturing jobs back stabilizes the economy and makes the nation more self-sufficient. If the resurgence of American sourcing continues, we will see a large reduction in imports, which is the most efficient way to lower the trade deficit, the budget deficits and unemployment.
The key to successful reshoring is for companies to use a comprehensive Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) analysis that calculates the true cost of offshoring. The non-profit Reshoring Initiative provides free TCO Estimator software. The initiative also offers a database of 380+ reshoring articles and a Case Studies feature where companies can share their real cases of reshoring. These resources are available on the website at: www.reshorenow.org.
The impact of using TCO analysis instead of price for sourcing decisions is demonstrated by a statistical analysis of TCO user calculations. Figure 1 aggregates the results for 27 recent cases in which users of the method had compared sourcing in China versus the United States.
|Cost Comparison Basis||U.S. Cost Relative to China, average||Percent of cases where U.S. has the advantage|
|Price||69 percent higher||15 percent|
|Total Cost of Ownership||4 percent lower||56 percent|
|Difference||73 percent||41 percent|
Using a TCO metric instead of relying simply on ex-works prices, changes the sourcing decision in 41 percent of the 27 cases studied. Since the database is small, we conservatively estimate that about 25 percent of the work that has already been offshored to China would return to the United States if companies used TCO instead of price to make sourcing decisions. Ongoing research will refine that estimate.
Based on analysis of the articles in the Reshoring Library, the Initiative calculates that about 50,000 manufacturing jobs have been reshored in the last 3 years. That surge represents about 10 percent of the total increase in manufacturing jobs since the low in January 2010. If the current trend of increased TCO use is paired with other favorable trend factors, the potential for reshored jobs is estimated at up to 6 million in Figure 2.
|Scenario Description||Source of the Scenario||Cumulative Number of Manufacturing Jobs Reshored*||Total Cumulative Number of U.S. Jobs Created**|
|Companies use total cost analysis tools in sourcing decisions||Reshoring Initiative||500,000||1,000,000|
|By 2015: If Chinese wage trends continue at 18%/yr||Boston Consulting Group||1,000,000||2,000,000|
|Adoption of: better U.S. training; increased process improvements and automation; competitive corporate-tax rates||Federal Government’s Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP)||2,000,000||4,000,000|
|End of foreign currency manipulation||Almost all manufacturing groups||3,000,000||6,000,000|
*# of jobs and scenarios are cumulative. ** Assuming a 1.0 multiplier effect
As we can see from this analysis, the potential is great for the American economy, workforce and individual companies.
TCO analysis helps to objectively identify, forecast and minimize total cost. TCO accounts for factors like rising costs of wages and currencies in low-labor-cost countries and energy and transportation prices. Other factors such as the risk of supply chain shocks and disruptions caused by natural disasters and political instability are also entered into the TCO calculation. Figure 3 shows the frequency of reasons cited for reshoring in the articles in the Reshoring Library.
NUMBER OF CASES CITED
|Wage and Currency Changes||
|Quality, Warranty, Rework||
|Travel Cost/Time or Local Onsite Audit||
|Intellectual Property Loss or Risk||
|Image/Brand (prefer U.S.)||
|Loss of Customer Responsiveness||
|Difficulty of Innovation/Product Differentiation||
|Natural Disaster Risk||
|Burden on Staff||
Source: Reshoring Library 01/17/13
To determine the TCO with the TCO Estimator, the user provides 36 answers that are used to calculate 26 unit costs . The Estimator accumulates a single cost value for a product sourced from a particular supplier. The user repeats the process for each vendor, and can then objectively compare the TCO for the same product from multiple vendors, whether local or offshore. The following list is a guide to the costs addressed in TCO. The Estimator begins with “hard cash” costs and progresses to more subjective measures. For a full description of TCO cost factors, go tohttp://www.reshorenow.org/TCO_Estimator.com, then login/Add a New Form/View Example Form.
a. Carrying cost for in-transit product
b. Carrying cost of inventory on-site
c. Prototype cost
d. End-of-life or obsolete inventory
e. Travel costs.
c. Product liability
d. Intellectual property risk
e. Opportunity cost
f. Brand image
g. Economic stability of the supplier
h. Political stability of the source country
a. Impact on innovation
b. Product differentiation and mass customization
a. “Green” quantification will be added to a future version of the TCO Estimator.
When it becomes clear that there is often not a TCO penalty associated with domestic sourcing, it is easier for a company to place more emphasis and resources on building strategies such as product-differentiation or product innovation, both of which are maximized via local sourcing. A company might pursue local cost-reduction programs, such as lean, theory of constraints (TOC), design for manufacture and assembly (DFMA), quick response manufacturing (QRM), automation or training that might have seemed insufficient to close a 40 percent price gap but are more than able to close a 10 percent TCO gap.
When companies understand their total cost of ownership, they offshore less and reshore more. Individual companies, educational institutions, Wall Street and consumers are all embracing reshoring. In early 2012, the White House hosted the “Insourcing Forum,” highlighting the Reshoring Initiative in the lineup. In this year’s State of the Union, President Obama predicted a manufacturing revolution, and laid out a plan to improve our workforce to support such a revolution, including providing funding to education and industry clusters committed to supplying modern, streamlined training programs.
The Reshoring Initiative met with the U.S. Department of Labor on 18 September 2012 to discuss how to develop the needed workforce. Part of the solution is to provide better Bureau of Labor Statistics data on the comparatively high-income rewards to those workers passing apprenticeships and earning certificates, compared to four-year college grads. It is also critical to demonstrate that reshoring is happening so that students seek manufacturing training and so that schools provide the training. A great example of innovative training programs is by Samuel Havelock of Federated Precision who has setup a recruiting and training
Manufacturing in the United States is now a viable, intelligent and economical choice. TCO use is showing more companies that they can help both themselves and America by bringing production back. We offer a Call-to-Action for readers to utilize the Initiative’s free tools to reduce their costs, increase their sales and report their reshoring successes. Here are some ideas for helping reshoring while you help your company:
Total Cost analysis can help companies see the economic benefits of bringing offshored manufacturing back to the United States and limiting future offshoring. With current high freight costs, increasing Chinese wages, and a growing consumer sentiment for Made in America products, now is the right time to focus on rebuilding American manufacturing, and thus strengthening American engineering.
2. BCG http://www.bcg.com/media/PressReleaseDetails.aspx?id=tcm:12-121840 and https://www.bcgperspectives.com/content/commentary/
3. Roger Thompson, “Why Manufacturing Matters,” Working Knowledge newsletter, Harvard Business School, March 28, 2011.
5. The TCO estimator is very user friendly: create an account and enter the values for your company and receive a report. The whole input process takes approx. 20 minutes. Data gathering will take longer. If you do not have the data, how have you been making accurate decisions? All company data is 100% confidential.
7. A free “Manufacturing is Cool” T-shirt, supplied by MFG.com, will be awarded to the first 50 individuals that submit a reshoring case study.
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