The allure of the Middle Kingdom is starting to wear off for American firms that offshored their production. As documented in a recent article in Bloomberg Business Week, all sorts of American manufacturers are reshoring their production to this country.
The Bloomberg article is well worth reading because it succinctly sets forth the reasons lots of firms are coming home, deciding it makes better business sense to make their products on our shores.
I have met with lots of manufacturers in the Seattle area that never moved their production to China, deciding instead to have members of our extended American family produce their wares. Firms like Tom Bihn, Cascade Design and McKinnon Furniture. Our American family members that work at those firms produce wonderful, useful products and the paychecks they receive allow them to support themselves, their family and their communities.
And you know why? Manufacturing in the U.S. is cheaper than manufacturing in China. One of the manufacturers quoted in the Bloomberg article found that manufacturing in the U.S. is probably 2 percent to 5 percent cheaper once he took into account the time and trouble of outsourcing production abroad. This is the fact that the returning firms have discovered after their Sino sojourn.
But I am sure there are lots of reasons to still make products in China and I wanted to set forth a few in case you are still undecided as t0 where to make your brilliant widget.
1. If you are a smoker, China is the manufacturing locale for you.
300 million Chinese smoke, the same number of people who live the U.S. 56% of Chinese males smoke, so bumming a butt should never be a problem. And don’t expect your Chinese doctor to give you any agro about your smoking during your once a decade physical; 56% of Chinese doctor’s smoke. He will probably hand you a carton of Lucky Strikes as you leave his office.
2. You won’t need to waste any money on silly pollution control devices.
Image: Photograph: Wuhan/AP
China will welcome your business, and if the stuff that is left over after your manufacturing process is a bit dodgy, no sweat. Just pipe it into the nearest stream. Who would notice? 43 percent of the rivers that were checked are so polluted, it’s dangerous for a human to come into contact with their waters. “About one-third of the industrial waste water and more than 90 percent of household sewage in China is released into rivers and lakes without being treated.” And if your local nosy American embassy staff starts monitoring the air pollution in the city you are located in, just call the Chinese government and they will put the kibosh on that nonsense!
3.Workers who will do as they are told.
One of the reason Apple hires Foxconn to assemble iThings in China is because Foxconn workers are willing to go that extra mile. In a story that ran in the New York Times in January, the authors described Foxconn going to their company dormitories and getting “thousands of workers, who crawled into their uniforms — white and black shirts for men, red for women — and quickly lined up to assemble, by hand, the phones.” I mean if you tried to do that here in America, you would probably find a lot of the workers going to church, taking a nap or helping out at their kid’s little league game. Da nerve!
I am glad to see companies bringing their production back home. You and I should reward them for this action by buying the products that members of our extended American family are again making on our shores!