Aston Martin learned what we've known about complex supply chain

Brian Ray

Published: April 23, 2014 1:32 pm ET
Updated: April 23, 2014 1:35 pm ET

Related to this story

Topics Thermoforming, Reshoring

The story of the United States’ trade deficit with China (over $318 billion in 2013) is one that most of us are familiar with. Cheaper labor costs and more limited regulations often mean that “Made in China” is cheaper than “Made in America.”

But as the executives at Aston Martin will tell you, the true costs of outsourcing your manufacturing might not look so good over the longer term.

Plastics News has covered the incident extensively, and the story of the faulty pedals is filled with complex supply chain dynamics. The precise origin of Aston Martin’s faulty pedals is a bit murky, but one thing is very clear. The auto manufacturer had no idea what was going on at the business end of its supply chain.

This certainly isn’t an issue unique to luxury British automakers. Back in February, a majority of Plastics News readers admitted that their supply chain is more of a mystery than a sure thing.

Offshore plastics manufacturing, outsourced far down the supply chain, is often cheaper than dealing directly with a domestic manufacturer. At least initially. But the long-term, serious issues can work their way up the supply chain and cause big problems.

That’s the core issue behind why several of our customers have reshored their plastics manufacturing to Ray Products, while keeping their assembly plants offshore to take advantage of lower labor prices. They have us thermoform plastic parts here in Ontario, Calif. When the parts are ready, we ship them to the customers’ assembly facilities in China.

Beyond trust and quality issues, large-scale, heavy-gauge thermoforming is a relatively uncommon process in China and other offshore manufacturing centers. That’s why a few times every month, Ray Products’ loading dock is stacked with boxes and crates labeled for shipment to China with a large “Made in the USA” sticker on the side, swimming against the current of a $318 billion trade deficit.

It seems like Aston Martin has learned a lesson from their experience and is planning a bit of reshoring in the near future. With a bit of luck and a less mysterious supply chain; maybe Mr. Bond won’t have to deal with a snapped accelerator pedal the next time he’s trying to save the world.

Brian Ray

President

Ray Products Co. Inc.

Ontario, Calif.


Comments

Aston Martin learned what we've known about complex supply chain

Brian Ray

Published: April 23, 2014 1:32 pm ET
Updated: April 23, 2014 1:35 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Ameriform plans $7.5 million expansion

October 16, 2014 12:57 pm ET

Ameriform Inc. has earmarked $7.5 million to expand its thermoforming, extrusion and rotational molding operations in Muskegon, Mich.    More

Image

Peiyu looks at Vietnam expansion

October 15, 2014 11:21 am ET

Taiwanese packaging firm Peiyu Plastics Corp. is making a big bet on Vietnam, with plans to significantly upgrade its factory there to tap local...    More

Image

Reshoring trend seen in machine sales for KraussMaffei in US

October 13, 2014 6:00 am ET

So far, 2014 is going really well for machinery major KraussMaffei Group.    More

Image

Garden equipment specialist East Jordan Plastics grows new business

October 10, 2014 1:22 pm ET

Thermoformer and recycler East Jordan Plastics Inc. is boosting its injection molding capabilities and has recently added a new line of injection...    More

Market Reports

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Plastics in Mexico - State of the Industry Report

This report analyzes the $20 million dollar plastics industry in Mexico including sales of machinery & equipment, resins and finished products.

Our analysts provide insight on business trends, foreign investment, top end markets and plastics processing activity. The report also provides important data on exports, production, employment and value of plastics products manufactured.

Learn more

Plastics Caps & Closures Market Report

The annual recap of top trends and future outlook for the plastics caps & closures market features interviews with industry thought leaders and Bill Wood’s economic forecast of trends in growing end markets. You will also gain insight on trends in caps design, materials, machinery, molds & tooling and reviews of mergers & acquisitions.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

More Events