The Atlantic magazine features an article this month that highlights the transformation in thinking at one of America’s greatest industrial powerhouses. GE has remade their Appliance Park (KY) facilities to return much of their appliance manufacturing from other countries to the United States. They’re doing it because it makes economic sense.
The same benefits that accrue to a GE benefit buyers of custom store fixtures and point-of-purchase displays, too. Chasing the cheapest labor has costs. Too many consumer package goods companies, retailers and fixture producers have learned this the hard way.
We see more store equipment destined for North American stores with “Made in America” today and expect to see more because (a) transportation costs have grown; (b) Asian labor rates have climbed while American labor rates have stagnated; (c) American workers are objectively the most productive in the world; (d) project time lines are compressed and will only become more so; (e) US manufacturers have invested in labor-saving technologies and processes, e.g., Lean, to reduce costs as a matter of survival; (f) non-labor factors of manufacturing – raw materials, energy, space, equipment, capital – are relatively plentiful and affordable in North America; and (g) seamless coordination makes for better outcomes. Insourcing lets us better synchronize and meet the needs of retailers, CPGs, designers and manufacturers.
North American manufacturers can compete with anyone in the world – and are only getting better.
Posted on 12/4/2012 at 7:00:00 PM