Rising costs in China and shifting global economic forces are pressuring companies to reevaluate their global manufacturing strategies and consider localizing their operations. We’ve all heard the latest buzzwords: “reshoring,” “onshoring,” nearshoring and others. Some companies have started the process and have reported success. But many other companies are struggling with the reshoring. Otis Elevator is one of many U.S. manufacturers, including GE, Whirlpool and NCR, which has announced they were bringing factories back to the United States from China, Mexico and elsewhere. But reshoring is not as easy as you may think. It takes careful consideration, planning and execution.
Otis Elevators’ reshoring effort did not go well. Elevator and escalator orders were rising in 2012, as the building industry began to recover. But Otis could not keep up. Output was well below plan in the new U.S. Otis plant, and back orders began to climb. Customers started to cancel orders. “I think we failed on both the planning and the execution side,” Robert McDonough, chief executive officer of the United Technologies unit that includes Otis, told analysts in March, according to the Wall Street Journal. The reshoring project cost Otis $60 million last year, and that figure continues to climb.
So what went wrong? Otis says it failed to consider the consequences of the new location and tried to do too much at once, including a supply-chain software implementation. This is not an uncommon reshoring scenario. Bringing manufacturing back to the United States isn’t so simple, and there are a host of considerations and analyses that companies must do to determine the costs and feasibility of reshoring.
Today’s reshoring involves innovation, automation and localization. This is not your father’s manufacturing environment. You can avoid these mistakes and successfully Reshore some of your production buy considering these 11 rules:
More than half of U.S.-based manufacturing executives at large companies report they are planning to bring back production to the U.S. from China or are actively considering it, according to a recent survey by The Boston Consulting Group. Some of these companies will be successful and others will struggle and fail. Reshoring takes careful consideration, planning and execution.
Planning where to source or manufacture and formulating a disciplined plan will help you avoid reshoring failure.
Rosemary Coates is the president of Blue Silk Consulting, a global supply chain consulting firm and the author of three books: 42 Rules for Sourcing and Manufacturing in China, Negotiation Blueprinting for Buyers and 42 Rules for Superior Field Service.