Good News-Bad News for US Manufacturers

US companies with sales of $1 billion or more want to make 44 percent more of their products in the US over five years, or nearly half of all their products, reports Fortune(November 17). But when they look to US manufacturers to produce those products, they can get an unpleasant surprise: They can’t find anybody to do the work or, sometimes, anybody who even wants to do the work.

Several factors are at play here, notes writer Jennifer Alsever.

For one thing, of course, despite the “on-shoring” movement, there aren’t as many manufacturers in the US; more than 60,000 US factories closed since the turn of (this) century.  For another, US plants tend to specialize in specific types of products, unlike, say, the Chinese who have developed “all purpose” production facilities.

Finally, and perhaps the most surprising, some companies are taken aback by what Fortune describes as “frustrating searches, unreturned phone calls, and prohibitive costs.” Manufacturers too often just don’t seem to be interested in investing in equipment to serve smaller, perhaps unproven, US companies.

What’s to be done? The costs of off-shoring are rising, albeit slowly. Better is that US companies are getting savvier about how to find manufacturers who will produce their products at reasonable costs–and even return their phone calls..

Scott Pemberton is a senior consultant at Productive Strategies, Inc., a marketing and management consulting firm. Scott can be reached at 312-560-0992 or at


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