Not to say that it’s “the good old days” again, but there are stories popping up in the press about American companies that are bringing some manufacturing back to the U. S. of A. I guessing it has nothing to do with patriotism, nationalism, or supporting local communities, but rather is just an advantageous financial decision. Nonetheless, for the people within these American companies, it must feel good to have the jobs coming back.
Here is a news story about how Whirlpool brought a manufacturing line back from China. At :50 a manager mentions rising personnel costs in China, along with logistics costs. Yes, logistics costs AKA shipping costs are really starting to bite, and it’s going to create a realignment in where things are made and how much they cost.
I think it’s important to make a couple of more comments here.
1. I don’t begrudge Chinese companies, entrepreneurs, workers for accepting the contracts and busting their behinds to ramp up production lines and make products. I wish that worker safety and environmental controls were better, but then the United States was just as bad for a long time, and sometimes doesn’t seem to be a lot better. At least there’s a somewhat functional legal system here, though.
2. It’s so critical that manufacturing knowledge, and all of the support pieces that go with it, not fade away in this country. Think about it–it’s not sustainable in the long run for all of us to become marketers, financial consultants, and personal trainers. There has to be a tangible aspect to the economy, and for a while we’ve been outsourcing a lot of it. It’s time for the tangible to come back, and for the skills that go with it–such as machining–to be refreshed. These skills will make our society much better off in the long run.