On September 13th I asked a Product Realization Group panel whether they shared the perspective of US manufacturing as being risk-adverse and slow to adopt new manufacturing innovations. I was surprised as to the answers I received.
Here in the Silicon Valley and elsewhere the culture of off-shoring is changing; especially in the high technology arena. North American manufacturing still offers better inventory control, higher yield, better performance, and stronger rate /culture for innovation. High technology development does not just apply to the product but to all aspects of product realization. A locally integrated and culturally aligned supply chain enables quick response and a faster pace for adopting innovative practices.
A few hidden costs of overseas manufacturing are language barriers, time zone delays, supply chain management, and breaches in intellectual property. The later involves overseas shops as transferring engineering diagrams, tooling, and shop floor practices among direct competitors!! Many also find a greater resistance to change in China. Furthermore the regulated spaces there are relatively ill-defined or inconsistent.
There is also a common misconception amongst students that manufacturing jobs are not good but this is simply untrue. The educational systems should paint new images of modern manufacturing as cool and clean which are its true colors today. Plasmatreat and Plasma Technology Systems are glad to be a part of new manufacturing innovation.
PRG – product realization group: http://www.productrealizationgroup.com/index.php