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Report highlights challenges, lessons learned for reshoring advanced manufacturing companies

June 27, 2019

Reshoring manufacturing companies claim to be able to innovate at increasing rates, but some cite challenges with hiring qualified workers and with the country’s regulatory and trade policy environment, according to a new report from Select USA, a national program led by the U.S. Department of Commerce focused on business investment.  In Reinvesting in the USA: A Case Study of Reshoring and Expanding in the United States, authors from Select USA look at the experiences of six manufacturing companies that chose to reinvest in their U.S. operations, providing detail on what drove them to reshore, challenges and benefits to the move, and general lessons learned. They find that, although the reshoring process was more expensive and time consuming than the case companies expected, local partners such as economic development agencies provided valuable resources to make the process easier. 

The main drivers of a company’s decision to reshore, according to the report, are a commitment to making products in America, a desire for increased product and design control, and a need to decrease the time between orders and deliveries. Finding a skilled workforce and uncertainty in the country’s regulatory and trade policy were identified as key challenges to reshoring, but benefits include stronger relationship with suppliers, more protection for intellectual property, and improved innovation and product quality.  The report concludes with recommendations for companies, policymakers and economic developers that seek to support reshoring and investment expansion in the United States as opposed to international markets.