We've been seeing more evidence that North American manufacturers are benefiting from a reshoring trend. What's driving reshoring? The biggest factor is that the cost premium of making things in North America is disappearing -- or at least shrinking significantly. Manufacturers here have become experts at operating lean. Over in China, the cost of labor has risen quickly. The result is that manufacturers are North America are now more cost-competitive with their counterparts in China. When costs are in the same ballpark, then other factors may give an edge to manufacturers in North America -- among others, the size of the domestic market, and the ability to keep supply chains shorter. In the past year, we've all seen the impact of things like flooding in Thailand and the earthquake in Japan on global supply chains. The North American manufacturers that I talk to are aware of these big-picture trends. But how many are actually pursuing a strategy to take advantage of the situation? One that's taking a stab is Crescent Industries Inc., an employee-owned custom injection molder and toolmaker in New Freedom, Pa. Last week the company put out a news release titled "Reasons to Consider ReShoring of Your Injection Molding & Mold Building." The company, which also has a blog filled with custom molding tools and tips, lists reasons why OEMs should consider reshoring their work. Most of the anecdotal evidence hints that North American custom molders like Crescent are picking up business thanks to reshoring. Many of the projects are smaller jobs -- using a baseball analogy, molders are hitting a lot of singles. Perhaps with a bigger push, we'll start to see some home runs.
Promoting a reshoring strategy
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