"Onshoring" / "Insourcing" / "Reshoring" These are the names of an emerging trend to bring manufacturing production back to the U.S. that has been taken overseas (often to China) over the past several decades–primarily to take advantage of lower cost labor. For a variety of reasons, bringing these jobs back has become a viable option in some cases. These include situations where the overseas wage advantage has eroded, transportation costs have risen, and currency valuations shifted to favor U.S. production. In addition, demands for just-in-time delivery, managing quality in supply chains, and reactions to environmental and political disruption in some overseas markets, have prompted companies to look at reshoring as an option. Big consulting firms like Boston Consulting Group, Alix Partners, McKinsey, and Accenture have all studied the reshoring potentials. In some instances they advocated to their manufacturing clients that they seriously look at reshoring as a business option. Reshoring also is very popular politically. President Obama has established an Insourcing Initiative, partly to leverage the experience of some of the big companies like General Electric and Caterpillar that have been in the forefront of reshoring. G.E. recently as announced that it will bring enough jobs back from China that
"Manufacturing is not merely about giving people jobs. The next generation of technological innovations is intimately tied to production processes." In an article published in the MIT Technology Review on July 1, Suzanne Berger, a professor of political science at MIT who co-chairs the Institute’s Production in the Innovation Economy project, makes the case that future technology innovation will not follow the pattern established over the last three decades by the information technology sector. "The experiences of successful firms over the past 30 years make it plausible to think that manufacturing can be outsourced and offshored without any damage to the engines of innovation. Once it was possible to codify the different stages of the journey from conception to final product and to break design apart from production, major new industries could arise around enterprises like Apple, Qualcomm, and Cisco. … [However,] There is a close connection between R&D and manufacturing in many of the emerging sectors (wind and solar, biotech, new materials, batteries and others) because modularization may just not work as well for these technologies as it has for IT. R&D engineers may have to stay close to manufacturing to develop new strategies for making processes more efficient."
In the wake of President Obama’s announcement about his administration’s Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, CBS News reporter Dean Reynolds reports from Astro Manufacturing in Willoughby, Ohio. Astro Manufacturing V.P. Rich Petersen takes him on a tour and describes the company’s strong position in precision manufacturing for the medical device industry.
Plain Dealer Business Reporter Robert Schoenberger is covering the two-day high-profile symposium called "Building the Ohio Innovation Economy" which is being held at the InterContinental Cleveland April 25-26, 2011. Here’s an excerpt: "CLEVELAND, Ohio—Ohio’s economic future depends teaching companies how to develop and then build new products here, academic and business leaders said Monday at a symposium to discuss innovation. ‘Being No. 1 in the world in developing new ideas is no longer enough,’ said Sridhar Kota, assistant director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. He added that American businesses too often develop the big ideas and then have them built overseas. ‘A lot of product and process innovations come up as you go from idea to product, and we’re losing that.'" MAGNET Board Chairman, James W. Griffith, who is President & CEO of Timken Co., also addressed the Symposium attendees. "‘I am a believer that we can change this trend’ of lost manufacturing jobs, said James Griffith, president and chief executive of Canton-based steel and bearings company Timken. ‘I am a believer because we’ve done this at Timken.'" Read the complete article "Symposium focuses on the future of innovation in Ohio," by Robert Schoenberger, Cleveland
This month’s issue of MAGNET Insider is available now. A very busy conference season coming up for manufacturers in Northern Ohio, with lots of opportunities to learn about growing new markets. Be sure to scroll down to "Save the Date" for advance notice of four important meetings through September.
As your company prepares to diversify into an adjacent market of its current business—or, as it prepares to adapt existing products or services to enter a brand new market—be sure to take a long, hard look at your company’s organizational strengths and weaknesses. Here are several important questions to ask before you take that leap: How do you go to market right now? What are the expectations of your new market as to how you reach them? What is your current manufacturing capacity? If you hit a home run in your new market will you be able to keep up with the additional volume? Do you have a robust and effective Quality Management System in place now? The answers to these questions, especially the last one, may well be critical to your success in a new market. Look carefully before you leap Recently, an Ohio manufacturer saw an opportunity to diversify its customer base by expanding from its traditional industrial users to specialty users. The company’s managers carefully researched the new target market. After identifying the key players, they decided to hire salesmen from their target competitors to help them succeed in the new market. Despite this advance preparation, when they
I’m hearing from more and more manufacturers that their business has bounced back from the "Great Recession" and in a lot of instances, is even booming. Some of these manufacturers have put initiatives they were working on when times were slow on the back burner as they try to manage their new-found growth, including diversifying into other markets/industries. While these companies are focused on the "now," there are some companies who realize that if they are going to "win the future," now is the time to work on, build and implement key strategies which will position them for long-term success. Here are some examples of forward thinking manufacturers, who, while navigating through rough waters, have their eye firmly fixed on the horizon: A medium sized manufacturer who worked with MAGNET to develop and implement a Strategic Plan which had a key strategy to diversify into new markets during the "Great Recession" has just enjoyed a $1-million increase in sales over the past year and has made in-roads into several new markets. Business looks to be up another 25% this year. So what are they doing now? Stepping back to enjoy and manage their success? No. They are re-doing their Strategic
Northeast Ohio manufacturers looking to enter growing new markets should mark the mornings of March 22 and March 29 on their calendars. Why? To attend either of the launch sessions of the New Markets Initiative, a joint project of MAGNET and WIRE-Net, that will introduce manufacturers to expanding markets and position them to become part of those supply chains. More detailed information to come. In the meantime, sign up for one of the two launch events today!