The changing economic climate could make the United States the ideal sourcing country for domestic manufacturers, says Tom Jones, senior vice president and general manager of U.S. Supply Chain Solutions for logistics provider Ryder System Inc. "It really depends on the industry and the cost of the product, the value of what you're shipping and the characteristics," he says. "You can ship a box full of microprocessor chips quite a long ways without a significant penalty on the shipping side, but if you're shipping diapers a long way, which are very bulky, and the cost of transportation is high, you're not going to get what you want with that."
Case in point: The cost of shipping residential heaters from China to Bowling Green, Ky., became too high for Desa LLC. In October 2007 the company's retail heating unit shifted manufacturing operations for the product back to the United States after shipping costs spiraled out of control.
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