Apple’s recent announcement that they would be investing $100 million into US manufacturing highlighted a recent trend in onshoring manufacturing. There are many benefits to this trend as well as many reason why companies are starting to bring manufacturing back to the US.
According to Grant, the onshoring movement of returning outsourced manufacturing back to the US began with labor issues in China. China’s low labor costs once compelled companies to outsource production abroad. Today, wages are five times higher than they were 12 years ago, and are estimated to continue rising at 18 percent a year, according to a recent article in the Huffington Post.
Companies were also prompted to reconsider the benefits of offshoring when Chinese workers began to resist poor labor conditions in the form of strikes and suicides. The problem became serious enough for the contract electronics assembler Foxconn Technology Group to begin automating its operations in China.
Automation GT’s Grant believes that operating automation abroad is no more effective than operating automation in the US, and for companies wishing to onshore production, automated robotics will play a key role. “We’ve seen a trend with companies wishing to be ‘reshored’,” Grant said in an interview. “They are not satisfied with the quality of products being produced abroad, and managing that from afar is a real challenge.”