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Made in America – Is U.S. Manufacturing poised for a strong comeback?

Over the holidays I had the chance to catch up on some reading.  One of the articles I read is really worth noting for manufacturing companies in the United Sates.   The tepper Magazine from the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University contains the article “Made In America – Is U.S. Manufacturing poised for a strong comeback?”

The insightful article suggests that this resurgence may be due to several key factors;

Higher labor costs overseas have narrowed the wage gap with the U.S

Offshore operations may be risker; foreign import/export complications may add cost and delays

Higher shipping costs erode many cost advantages

Marketing “Made in America” can have distinct advantages in many markets

Incorporating Lean manufacturing techniques can make domestic manufacturing more competitive than “off shore” production.  “Lean Manufacturing can help re-shoring production drastically”

While the article suggests that Lean Manufacturing techniques are a key component to keeping domestic production competitive, it also notes that many companies resist lean applications due to a lack of understanding and fear of discovering just how much waste is in the current operations.  “Discovering almost all of your processes are riddled with waste can be shocking.  You fear being blamed for incompetency.  So people usually continue business as usual”

This article highlights just how important lean techniques can be for a manufacturing company’s survival and how important it is to develop a “blameless” culture in your organization focused on the processes, not the people.   Bad processes beat good people every time.