Made in USA: A Manufacturing Rebirth
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Reshoring is more than a buzzword as ‘Made in USA’ continues to gain momentum through 2016. Reshoring, also known as onshoring, insourcing refers to the process of reclamation of manufacturing activities which had been previously enticed in places abroad that offered lower wages, cheaper supplies and other strategic advantages.

made in usa 2 reshoring

It is said to counterbalance USA’s trade deficit through the reshoring marvel that is continuously gaining momentum by providing skilled manufacturing, high-paying jobs. Fewer than 100 companies have settled on “reshoring” in the USA, by bringing some of their production jobs from places like China and Mexico. Some of which are Caterpillar, GE, Ford, and Whirlpool that have reshored a few of their overseas operations, to name a few. General Electric, a year ago happened to move its assembling unit of washing machines, fridges and heaters back from the dragon’s country to an industrial factory in Kentucky. In the same way, search giant Google has decided to make it Nexus Q, a new media streamer in San Jose, the capital of Silicon Valley. Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed considering bringing some of the Mac production back to the United States.

Why is reshoring of jobs accelerating?

According to the numbers provided by Reshoring Initiative, a non-profit group based in Chicago, close to 500,000 manufacturing jobs has come back to the homeland in recent years, out of which around 50,000 attributes to reshoring efforts. The reshoring phenomenon seems to have stemmed from a multiplicity of factors, right from soaring labor costs in China and other places to upgradation of a high-tech manufacturing base. It also includes reattaining competitive over countries such as Japan and India to boost innovation. What is far more optimistic to learn is that it’s not just lowskill; assembly line jobs that are coming back, but also advanced manufacturing technical skills are required. It includes aerospace, automobiles and medical devices and industrial and energy equipments industries.

Harry Moser, founder of Reshoring Initiative explains: “Chinese wages have been rising, expressed in U.S. dollars, at 15 to 18 percent per year, for the last 18 years, whereas in the U.S., it’s stayed stationary.” Among other factors includes delivery time and quality of good produced. “Turns out you can’t innovate the product very well if you don’t manufacture the product,” Moser said. “So when you can bring together the engineering manager, the engineer and the factory worker, get them together as a team, improve the product, improve the process by which the product is made, it works a lot better.”

Simultaneously, there has been a rise in other costs, shipping, for example, has increased to such an extent, that it is safe to say that manufacturing locally would be much cheaper.

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Moser was recently invited to participate in Obama’s insourcing initiative, where he explained: the expense of taking manufacturing abroad has been uncontrollably disparaged, and more and more American firms are now starting to understand that the aggregate cost of taking manufacturing overseas doesn’t justify offshoring in any case. Although offshoring is still growing, it’s started to grow at a much slower rate. In the meantime, the rate of reshoring is grabbing pace.

made in usa 3 reshoring

In an Accenture study of 287 manufacturing executives from various industries, - researchers distinguished that there has been a critical underestimation of overseas manufacturing costs. The real problem goes like this: many times supply chain executives, who are incentivized to uncover least expensive approach to production, utilize a method called price variance, which is a standard bookkeeping metric that bares the cost-effectiveness of production. A major setback at using price variance is that a lot of considerable auxiliary expenses and variables such as overhead and corporate strategy development are often missed due to impetus inclinations to exploit price variance mechanism.

Another reason to trigger reshoring, according to Bill Waddell, a manufacturing expert, is the existence of currency manipulation in China. Chinese banks falsely reduce conversion rates from Yuan to American dollars, to make it seem less expensive for American firms to produce abroad, giving Chinese manufacturers a wider window at competing. The issue affects US companies quite differently. The pressure on local manufacturers increases, while large publicly traded companies are at an advantage from the falsely lowered Yuan, for having invested profoundly in Chinese manufacturing units. The currency manipulation has led to complicated battles, which have been to a great extent stalled in Congress.

Offshoring a matter of miscalculation

The United States witnessed a 35% ghastly decline in the number of manufacturing jobs between 1998 and 2010. Most of it attributes to economic recovery being given a priority rather than reshoring efforts. However, HIS Global Insight, an economic research firm, predicts that the number of manufacturing jobs will rise by 3.2% in 2014 and by 1.6% increase in all jobs. Moser estimates a far greater number of companies will be willing to reshore some of their manufacturing jobs, thanks to the rise in the recalculation of costs of producing overseas. To have a deeper understanding of the total cost of manufacturing overseas, Moser and his team decided to design Total Cost of Ownership software, which is basically, a matrix of 36 diverse expense components. Organizations input various factors and the matrix provides data on where it would be less expensive, manufacturing domestically or overseas.


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From Moser’s data gathers from 10 recent examples of firms having taken used the tool to calculate the total costs, it came out that in 60 percent of cases, the total costs of ownership is in fact quite lower, averaging at 22 percent less compared to overseas such as China and Mexico. Another reason is the growing sense amongst consumers for making a difference, for supporting their communities. Recently, Wal-Mart held a ‘Made in USA’ event for suppliers, which was attended by 500 manufacturers. “With changes in energy and automation processes overseas, it is increasingly cost-effective and efficient to manufacture closest to the point of consumption. We can better respond to trends and consumer demands while providing great products at affordable prices” says Michelle Gleoeckler, Wal-Mart’s executive vice president of consumables and US manufacturing. Wal-Mart will be spending 250 billion US dollars on products to support domestic manufacturing and creating American jobs.

A survey of 105 companies conducted in January and February 2014 by David Simchi-Levi, an engineering professor and supply-chain expert at MIT, revealed that 39% of companies were considering moving some of their manufacturing back home. The numbers are only likely to increase if the coming generation of entrepreneurs and supply chain executives are not as much inclined towards offshore.


  • Thanks for mentioning the Reshoring Initiative!
    The impact of offshoring on the U.S. economy and the environment has been significant. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the growing U.S. trade deficit with China alone cost 3.2 million jobs between 2001 and 2013. Job losses occurred in every state, primarily in manufacturing. Offshored jobs have diminished American employment opportunities, helped contribute to wage erosion, had a dramatic and negative effect on the domestic economy, and negatively impacted the environment through higher carbon emissions and other pollution from some developing countries and from long distance transport.

    Reshoring can improve the sustainability of the U.S. economy and reduce corporate carbon footprints on the world environment.

    As mentioned in the article, companies are recognizing that with the use of the refined metrics of total cost of ownership to uncover the hidden costs and risks of offshoring and reducing costs with sustainable strategies such as robotics, improved product design and automation they can increase competitiveness and manufacture profitably in the U.S.

    The bleeding of manufacturing jobs to offshore has stopped. Reshoring, including FDI, balanced offshoring in 2015 as it did in 2014. In comparison, in 2000-2007 the United States lost net about 200,000 manufacturing jobs per year to offshoring. That is huge progress to celebrate!

    The winning strategy is balancing the trade deficit with a strong investment in automation and skills training and increased corporate use of Total Cost for sourcing and plant siting decisions. A competitive USD and corporate tax rates would accelerate the process.

    The Reshoring Initiative Can Help
    In order to help companies decide objectively to reshore manufacturing back to the U.S. or offshore, the not-for-profit Reshoring Initiative’s free Total Cost of Ownership Estimator (TCOE) can help corporations calculate the real P&L impact of reshoring or offshoring.

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