Manufacturing companies are shifting production facilities back to the United States, a trend referred to as reshoring. Based on a survey of manufacturing executives from the Boston Consulting Group and discussed in Industry Week, companies are showing a growing inclination toward reshoring, reversing a trend two years ago of expected additional manufacturing investments in China. In the chart below, the difference becomes clear. From 2013-2015, interest in locating new manufacturing capacity in China dropped 10 percent.
Why this change of heart? #1 logistics -- 76% of the executives surveyed cited shortening the supply chain as the primary reason for reshoring. Additionally, 70% cited reduced shipping costs, while 64% wanted to be closer to their customers. Continued improvements in automation also plays a part in reshoring manufacturing, with 56% of the respondents citing lower automation costs as a way to increase American competitiveness. Three-fourths of the companies said they plan to invest in additional automation and other advanced manufacturing technologies over the next five years. Even with increases in automation, reshoring is expected to improve American manufacturing employment and, with production closer to customers, the cost savings could improve the sustainability of domestic manufacturing.
Proper planning for reshoring manufacturing
One of the benefits to reshoring is the ability to respond quickly to changing production demands, building flexible manufacturing environments becomes key to realizing this advantage long-term. Being close to your customers and vendors makes a huge impact. Using versatile and modular solutions for assembly and production needs, like the extruded aluminum Machine Building system from item, enables manufacturers to quickly and easily reconfigure manufacturing cells as product requirements change.
The item system offers simple fundamentals: t-slotted profiles to make frames, adjustable fasteners, and a range of additional components. Any profile can be cut to exact specifications and adjusted or replaced over time. Together, these parts can be configured into machine bases, linear actuators, custom enclosures, safety guarding, platforms, and ergonomic adjustable height workbenches – all of which can be modified for growing and changing manufacturing needs.