On page 30 of this issue, John Denslinger discusses the benefits and limitations of reshoring, nearshoring and friendshoring. It’s a topic which has been bubbling under the surface for at least 30-years since the offshoring phenomenon first started gaining pace. So, why has it resurfaced now? The answer is simple, nothing stays the same for ever.
All the variables that made offshoring the only solution three decades ago have been, still are and will always be in a state of constant flux. At any point in time the sum of these variables either suggests offshoring is the right or wrong thing to do.
The list of variables is almost endless but obvious contributors include: state aid, demographics, raw material availability, energy costs, legislation, politics, war, intellectual property, economic expansion/recession and the volume/cost of money.
I don’t own or operate an engineering OEM that outsources so I don’t have real-time access to all these variables. Thus, to get a handle on the situation I’ve got a much simpler process. Every time I visit an engineering show I ask every stand I visit where its products are made.
My most recent show attendance was to an electric vehicle technology event. In answer to the above question, I was shocked. Every supplier fell into the local or nearshoring category. Some did also deploy offshoring but specifically to support local markets. There answers did not stop there. In addition to their obvious pride in local manufacturing they were also keen to detail their recent and significant factory investments.
These are not discussions I have had for some time. This seems to be a sea change.