China and similar nations will always be in the mix for turning out certain items, but when it comes to more sophisticated items, there is a move to bring manufacturing back to the U.S., says Rich Thompson, executive vice president of the Global Supply Chain Practice for Jones Lang LaSalle.
From the standpoint of job count the United States may have lost its edge in manufacturing, but it remains a manufacturing powerhouse that still turns out almost a quarter of the goods the world produces. That's good news, says Thompson, who feels that in recent years there has been a resurgence in interest in returning some manufacturing to the U.S.
Companies that located overseas were very careful in their site selection decisions, he says, and they need to bring that degree of care to determining where they might locate in the United States as well. In China or elsewhere they considered wage rates and logistics infrastructure among other factors. Those are among the issues that have to be studied when moving back "onshore."
The U.S. Southeast states are among the top locations for many companies, Thompson says. "Two thirds of the population is on the East Coast. So any greenfield site for a manufacturing facility should be close to population centers because transportation cost is important."
Lower salaries and right-to-work laws are also attractive to employers, Thompson notes. And from an economic incentive standpoint, the Southeast states have been quite aggressive with tax abatements and other inducements.
Logistics infrastructure is no less important in the United States than it is anywhere else in the world. And much of the Southeast U.S. has the needed access to roads, rail and ports.
To view this video interview in its entirety, click here.
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