More and More U.S. Manufacturers Reshore Production

asb show logoWith companies eager to boost domestic production, thousands of manufacturing engineers and managers are expected to attend The ASSEMBLY Show in Rosemont, IL, to see the latest assembly technology.

Rosemont, IL, August 14, 2013 – This October, thousands of manufacturing engineers and managers will visit The ASSEMBLY Show in Rosemont, IL, to see the latest technology in assembly automation and to learn more about the industry. “Reshoring,” or bringing production back to the U.S., has steadily increased over the past few years, as will be evident on The ASSEMBLY Show floor and in the conference sessions.

Medical device manufacturer Team Technologies Inc. did it. Bed manufacturer Reverie did, too. So did Apple Computer, Kennedy Valve, electronics manufacturer RF Micro Devices Inc., agricultural equipment manufacturer Pequea Machine Inc., cooling equipment manufacturer SGS Refrigeration, and even Trellis Earth Products, a manufacturer of disposable flatware.

These disparate companies are all part of a growing wave of domestic manufacturers that are “reshoring”—bringing production back to the United States from China, Taiwan, Mexico and other low-cost labor centers.

U.S. manufacturers have added more than 500,000 jobs since the end of the recession in June 2009. While much of that job growth is attributable to pent-up demand, it’s not the whole story. According to the Reshoring Initiative, a coalition of companies and trade associations trying to bring factory jobs back to the United States, at least 10 percent of those gains—more than 50,000 jobs—were created by companies bringing back manufacturing from overseas.

In a sign that the nation’s manufacturers are becoming more globally competitive, the United States is now equal to Mexico in “attractiveness” as a location for production operations and is on track to achieve cost parity with manufactured imports from China by 2015.

In a recent study conducted by AlixPartners, a global business advisory firm, 37 percent of manufacturing executives said they would choose the United States as their preferred production location. Two years earlier, that percentage was 19 percent. Similarly, another 37 percent of executives said they would pick Mexico as their preferred production location. Two years earlier, that percentage was 63 percent. In short, when OEMs want to keep manufacturing close to home, they’re just as likely to choose a domestic factory as they are a Mexican one.  

“The U.S. is definitely a more cost-competitive source for manufacturing today than it has been in many, many years,” says Steve Maurer, managing director at AlixPartners and leader of the firm’s manufacturing practice in the Americas.

AlixPartners also found that the cost gap with China has, on average, been closed by approximately 70 percent for numerous manufactured products. Rising production costs, more even exchange rates, and increasing freight costs are making China a more expensive product source than it was a decade ago. If current trends remain in place, by 2015, the cost of importing manufactured goods from China will be about the same as making them in the United States.

ASSEMBLY magazine’s 18th annual State of the Profession survey, which was published in July, captured some of the recent uptick in reshoring activity. For instance, 12 percent of respondents claim that their companies have brought jobs back to the states from overseas during the past year. And, 15 percent expect their companies to reshore assembly operations during the next 12 months.

The intelligent application of automation is one of the biggest reasons why U.S. manufacturers have been able to close the cost gap with cheap overseas competitors. With that in mind, thousands of manufacturing engineers and managers are expected to attend The Assembly Show in Rosemont, IL, this October to see the latest productivity-enhancing technology. Leading suppliers such as Bosch Rexroth Corp., Desoutter Industrial Tools, Henkel Loctite, Promess Inc. and Weiss North America Inc. will be among the 126 exhibitors at The Assembly Show, which will take place Oct. 28-30 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center.

The ASSEMBLY Show is sponsored by ASSEMBLY (, a monthly trade magazine read by 56,000 engineers and managers responsible for manufacturing and designing cars, computers, catheters, coffee makers, etc. ASSEMBLY covers the processes, technologies and strategies for joining discrete parts into finished products. The event is produced by BNP Media (, one of the country's leading business-to-business media companies serving professionals across 50+ industries. For more information and to register to attend, visit

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