U.S. Reshoring: A Collaborative Challenge

U.S. Reshoring: A Collaborative Challenge

Oct 23, 2017

Feature in Design-2-Part Magazine Manufacturing Experts Answer 5 Questions on How to Turn the Tide FAIRPORT HARBOR, Ohio—North America’s $137 billion metalforming industry is driven by the production of myriad precision metal products using stamping, fabricating, spinning, slide forming, and roll forming technologies, as well as vital value-added processes. In recent decades, approximately 3-to-4 million U.S. manufacturing jobs were lost to offshoring. The tide seems to be turning modestly in recent years as companies return U.S. production, or sourcing, from offshore. In comparison to 2000-2003, when the United States lost about 220,000 manufacturing jobs per year (net) to offshoring, 2016 achieved a net gain of 27,000. Progressively bridging this gap presents huge collaborative opportunities and challenges for all manufacturers, associations, employees, communities, and the U.S. government itself. The following Q&A explores factors that are key to the collective goal of gaining momentum in successfully returning the manufacturing of parts and products to the United States from offshore. Authors of the Q&A are two men with a vested interest in the subject of reshoring: John Stoneback, president of JM Performance Products, Inc., of Fairport Harbor, Ohio; and Harry Moser, president of the Reshoring Initiative, based in Kildeer, Illinois. JM Performance Products, Inc. has been manufacturing CNC mill spindle optimization products since 2009. The company’s Patented High Torque Retention Knobs overcome a critical “loose-tool” design flaw inherent in CNC v-flange tooling that was responsible for costly, industry-wide issues with CNC milling and boring that negatively impacted production costs, cycle time, and tooling costs. An essential element of the patented design is a knob that is longer and reaches a little deeper into the holder’s threaded bore. As a result, all thread engagement occurs in a region of the tool holder where the diameter is large, and where there is correspondingly more material to resist deformation. The Reshoring Initiative, founded in early 2010, takes action by helping manufacturers realize that local production, in many cases, reduces their total cost of ownership of purchased parts and tooling. The Reshoring Initiative also trains suppliers in how to effectively meet the needs of their local customers, giving suppliers the tools to sell against lower priced offshore competitors. The Initiative is...

Wisconsin-Based Mitchell Metal Products Wins First…

Wisconsin-Based Mitchell Metal Products Wins First…

Oct 12, 2017

“Wisconsin-Based Mitchell Metal Products Wins First National Reshoring Award” By Beth Lawrence, Content & Media Manager, DGS Marketing Engineers CLEVELAND, October 12, 2017 – Mitchell Metal Products of Merrill, WI has received the first National Reshoring Award in recognition of the company’s success bringing manufacturing back home to the United States. The award, given by The Reshoring Initiative and the Precision Metalforming Association (PMA), honors a company that has effectively reshored products, parts or tooling made primarily by metal forming, fabricating or machining. Mitchell Metal Products was selected after using reshoring to complete more end products with less lead time. In 2016, the company manufactured a cultivator handle subassembly product, increasing the production volume from 4,500 made overseas to 30,000 made in Wisconsin. “We are thrilled and honored to receive the first National Reshoring Award,” said Tim Zimmerman, president of Mitchell Metal Products. “By utilizing the total cost of ownership approach pioneered by The Reshoring Initiative, we have won a number of value-added contracts and brought work back home. We are proud to be delivering high-quality products to our customers and creating good jobs here in Wisconsin. Right now, eight percent of our workforce is employed because of products we have helped to reshore.” The award was presented in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on September 28, 2017, at Sourcing Solutions™, a popular procurement program hosted by PMA. This premier sourcing event brought together buyers and engineers from top manufacturing companies with pre-screened suppliers, enabling companies to find the most competitive resources for their projects. The 2018 National Reshoring Award will be presented next fall during Sourcing Solutions. Additional details about the event will be available in early 2018. “We are proud to be a sponsor of the National Reshoring Award and to celebrate companies who are contributing to the strength of the American manufacturing sector,” said Allison Grealis, vice president of membership and association services at PMA. “Through Sourcing Solutions and other efforts, PMA is committed to supporting manufacturers in their quest to find local, competitive suppliers and keep work here at home.” “I was delighted that the winning product was a relatively conventional item, instead of being an advanced aerospace or electronics component,” said Harry...

Custom Injection Molding Trends Higher

Custom Injection Molding Trends Higher

Sep 19, 2017

By Tony Uphoff, President and Chief Executive Officer at Thomas Publishing, ThomasNet  An interesting trend we’re seeing is a steady uptick in sourcing related to custom injection molding. This is a promising development for the economy as plastics is actually the third largest manufacturing industry in the country. Our data shows some significant increases in this important category. In the last five weeks on the thomasnet.com platform, sourcing for custom injection molding is up 35% over its all-time average. In the related category of injection molded plastic fabrication, sourcing activity has been higher in its all-time average in eight of the past 12 weeks. As you’re probably aware, American companies offshored a huge portion of their injection molding in recent decades. But when we look at how some companies today are weighing the benefits of reshoring versus offshoring, this upward trend in custom injection molding here in America starts to make some sense. The biggest incentive for offshoring has always been one of cost. But the days of cheap, abundant labor seem to be coming to an end, particularly in Asian countries such as China where there’s a growing demand for higher wages among the workforce. According to Harry Moser at the Reshoring Initiative, more and more companies today are looking at the TCO, or total cost of ownership, of offshoring versus reshoring, factoring in such things as increased productivity, shorter supply chains, and agility and innovation in customer responsiveness. Combine that with things like new tax incentives, lower freight costs, and abundant natural gas pushing down energy prices, and those companies, looking at TCO, are finding that they can manufacture more profitably right here at home. Specific to injection molding, there are also significant quality and consistency advantages to doing it here in the U.S. I speak to our clients regularly in the industry, many who have received overseas tooling from companies that are reshoring. One of those clients, the Rodon Group, reports that the majority of that tooling is virtually unusable here in America. It rarely meets the quality standards set forth by the Society of PlasticsIndustry, which specify things such as tolerances and finishes for injection molded parts here in the U.S. As Rodon’s Jill Worth told me, there’s...

Regulation’s Impact on Manufacturing

Regulation’s Impact on Manufacturing

Sep 8, 2017

By Stephen Gray, Area Development The volume of rules and policies with which manufacturers need to comply is onerous — cutting into their competitiveness and growth opportunities. The U.S. manufacturing industry is a force to be reckoned with. From its emergence during the Industrial Revolution in 1820, the sector has experienced repeated blows from the Great Depression to the Great Recession more recently. Despite these setbacks coupled with a highly evolving global industry, U.S. manufacturing has shown its resilience. Modern manufacturing is thriving across America. The fact remains that manufacturing has much more potential, if certain hurdles weren’t in the way. Among the top challenges manufacturers face are regulatory concerns, an inequitable tax system when compared with certain other countries, and, in some cases, unfair subsidies provided to certain industries by foreign governments. Manufacturers recognize that a safe working atmosphere and healthy environment are ensured through regulation. But, the complexity of regulations often results in duplicative, poorly designed and thus ineffective rules adding an unnecessary burden to manufacturing operations. Since 1981, the federal government has issued at least one manufacturing-related regulation each week. The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) has found that the industrial sector faces a staggering 297,696 restrictions on their operations from federal regulations. Is the federal government overstepping its intended power? Rules and policy within reason are valuable, but will the U.S. economy begin to falter if the rate of regulation continues to rise? Notably, no regulations have been eliminated. With the sheer volume of new rules and policies to keep up with, manufacturers are not able to focus on competitiveness and growth opportunities, factors that feed into a prosperous economy. The Burden Manufacturing Faces The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued the majority of rules that impact industrial productions across the United States. While environmental issues are vital to the future of humanity, some flaws exist that counter the real benefits. American companies and associations, including U.S. Steel Corporation and the American Petroleum Institute, have openly voiced how regulatory burdens prevent building and expansion opportunities. Valero Energy Corporation, which is a member of the American Fuels and Petrochemicals Manufacturers Association, has pointed out that its manufacturing operations are “significantly impacted by the inefficiencies of...

Last American Baseball Glove Maker Refuses to Die

Last American Baseball Glove Maker Refuses to Die

Aug 14, 2017

By Andrew Mayeda, Bloomberg News New Equipment Digest How is a niche manufacturer of baseball gloves in northern Texas still hanging on? Good ol’ American grit. This little brick factory isn’t supposed to be here. It should be in the Philippines, or Vietnam, maybe China. Not here, in the heart of Texas. Baseball gloves, like many other things, aren’t really made in America anymore. In the 1960s, production shifted to Asia and never came back. It might be America’s favorite pastime, and few things are more personal to baseball-lovers than their first glove — the smell, the feel, the memory of childhood summers. But most gloves are stitched together thousands of miles away by people who couldn’t afford a ticket at Fenway Park. One company didn’t get the memo. Since the Great Depression, Nokona has been making gloves in a small town outside Dallas with a long history of producing boots and whips for cowboys. There’s a livestock-feed store next door to the factory, which offers $5 tours for visitors who want to see how the “last American ball glove” is made. You can watch employees weave the webbing by hand, feed the laces through the holes with needles, and pound the pocket into shape with a rounded hammer. The American flag gets stitched into the hide — and that, they say at Nokona, is more than just a business matter. “Made in America means you believe in our country,” said Carla Yeargin, a glove inspector and tour guide at Nokona, where she worked her way up from janitor. “We have the love for the ballglove, because we made it here.” And the final product could cost you 25 times more than a foreign-made version at the local discount store. Yes, that’s partly a reflection of the premium nature of the Nokona line but still it represents a huge challenge for the company, as well as for Donald Trump. “Making it here” is a big deal for the president. Last month Trump staged a week of events to celebrate U.S. manufacturing, showcasing products from Campbell’s soup to Caterpillar construction gear. July 17 was declared “Made in America Day.” “Restoring American manufacturing will not only restore our wealth, it will...