It’s no secret that electronics manufacturing in the U.S. has become a specialty, not only in terms of proficiency in emergency technologies, such as LED assemblies, but also from the standpoint of viability. Good, bad or indifferent, offshoring has been the demise of many commodity CEMs. We are all buyers of one sort or another, and lower prices draw attention. But there’s a big difference between lower price and lower total cost, and it doesn’t take too many dock strikes, hurricanes, or component failures to bring the bottom line cost of low price into focus.
With rising labor costs and ongoing global supply chain disruption, there is a small but important trend toward a return to US manufacturing through ‘onshoring’ or ‘near-shoring’ operations. Apple, Lenovo, and GE are just three of the major firms who have placed onshoring in their future; others include Honda, Whirlpool, and Caterpillar. Indeed, Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook calls on-shoring “less a rebirth of US manufacturing than a new beginning.”
Additional reasons for the move towards returning manufacturing include:
• sequential delivery facilitation
• smaller inventories
• customized programs for customer
• lower supply chain costs
• greater stability
• more rapid interfacing with engineering and R&D teams
• improved quality control
A positive offshoot of this will be more jobs for the American economy as well. “This isn’t a story about selling more products because they’re ‘Made in the U.S.A.’”, wrote Linda Mayer, President and CEO, SCHOTT North America, in Huffington Post.
“It’s a financial equation. Quite simply, it’s becoming economically wise to manufacture in the U.S. But as U.S. businesses bring their manufacturing home, a challenge arises: how to attract and train the next generation of manufacturing employees.”
EBWE has made, and continues to make, significant investments in training our staff and providing them with the best tools in order to perform their job properly. The exciting new direction of the automotive industry in using LED lighting solutions requires EBWE (Tom: you owe me a dollar) to stay ahead of the game. LED is a technology of emerging importance for a number of reasons, including significantly greater robustness against mechanical shock, improved lifespan, and lower power consumption, not to mention a whole new world of design possibilities. (Maybe group the tangible design improvements together and finish with the less concrete “design flexibility” idea?) We have always made it our goal to stay close to our customers, to foster those collaborative interactions that contribute project success and periodically produce entire new solutions, especially for design teams. The ability to facilitate and readily induce design-production feedback cannot only lead to lowered costs by eliminating waste, but may also yield innovative new products.
By maintaining our customer-centric approach, where the customer is an integral part of the production process, we have prospered where others have faltered. Now, when the conversation turns to onshoring, we can simply say, “we never left.”