The tide is turning for American manufacturing. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the United States lost about 2.4 million manufacturing jobs just to China from 2001 to 2013. However, due to rising labor costs in China and the high cost of international shipping, large manufacturers are beginning to bring production back to the US. As a matter of fact, companies like General Electric, Walmart, Ford and Boeing have re-shored approximately 22,000 manufacturing jobs in recent years.
What does this mean for nonwoven manufacturers and converters?
- Increase in cost-effectiveness. Products made in the US will now be more cost-competitive. Since the labor costs and shipping costs are continuing to rise from Chinese competitors, American-made products will have less of a cost discrepancy.
- Ease of doing business. If you take cost off the table, it’s simply easier to do business with interstate companies. The time differences, if any, are negligible. No more late night conference calls with Asia or middle-of-the-night emergencies to be dealt with.
- Innovation. It might be easier to brainstorm new product ideas with US-based manufacturers with a common native language and culture. On-site meetings are easier and less expensive.
- Shipping time. It’s no secret that overseas shipping times are lengthy. By using US manufacturers, shipping times are virtually negligible.
- Environmental plusses. The environmental impact of shipping via air and ship from Asia is much higher than, say, shipping from North Carolina to Pennsylvania.
We can only hope that a larger trend will develop in reshoring manufacturing right back here to the United States. In the meantime, we can only encourage each other to use a supply chain that is firmly established here in America. It’s good for manufacturing, good for consumers and it even adds to the tax base. That can only help with even more job creation and an increasingly robust manufacturing economy.
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