The story is becoming familiar. Companies say the advantages of bringing work back from places like China are the shorter supply chain, reduced lead time and stable pricing. With prices rising in China, and North American manufacturers becoming lean and more efficient, the cost difference that started the offshoring trend in the first place isn't as significant.
In the past few days, Plastics News has covered Whirlpool Corp.'s KitchenAid brand bringing production of its hand mixers back to the U.S. from China, and Readfield, Maine-based Saunders Manufacturing Co. Inc. relocating some plastics work from China to LC Industries in Jackson, Miss.
In the KitchenAid story, staff reporter Rhoda Miel writes from the International Home + Housewares Show that the company is in the process of moving production now to Greenville, Ohio, which is already home to KitchenAid's larger stand mixers.
That shift will mean new business for suppliers of the mixers' injection molded parts, said Larry Simpson, global business development manager for KitchenAid small appliances. Among other parts, the mixers' bodies are injection molded plastic, some of them painted and some using a molded-in-color process.
In the Saunders story, PN's Brandi Shaffer writes that Saunders President and CEO John Rosmarin said the company is “committed to produce as many of our products as possible here in the U.S.A.”
The company started a “Made in USA” product line in 2008.
For all the consumers who claim they can't find American-made products — and for everyone who was ready to write off American manufacturing and prepare us for an all-service economy — this should be an eye-opener.
Loepp is Plastics News editor and author of "The Plastics Blog."