A few years back, offshore manufacturing seemed to initiate a boon akin to what was seen during World War II. Companies took their manufacturing elsewhere where cheap labor and high-speed, inexpensive production equipment drove prices down and profits up.
As the ensuing debates here in the Unites States have borne out, profitability wasn’t achieved quite this simply. “Made in the U.S.A.” clearly has merit. However, to maintain profitability, U.S. labor must work side-by-side with highly efficient equipment. Let’s take a look at how important this equipment is to the challenge of producing products at a competitive price.
Old Trend = New Trend
Not that long ago, many of us thought that offshoring would remove the need for lower-cost precision assembly. We were wrong. Simply using low-cost labor doesn’t work. Production has to be driven by quality. Products produced in a hurry—with only cost in mind—quickly show signs of bad assembly. Consumers noticed.
Let’s take a look at automotive parts, for example. The quality checks required for car manufacturing has skyrocketed over the years in everything from performance to liability. A good portion of these issues were the result of errors in parts assembly, quality assurance, and everything in between.