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ResourcesReshoringReshoring: Definition, How It Works, Industries That Benefits, and Disadvantages
Reshoring. Image Credit: Shutterstock.com/PITAKPONG KOMPUDSA

Reshoring: Definition, How It Works, Industries That Benefits, and Disadvantages

Xomety X
By Team Xometry
October 5, 2022
 10 min read
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Reshoring is the process of relocating manufacturing or production operations from offshore sites to the company’s home country. It is a strategic business choice that seeks to enhance economic stability and revive domestic industry. Reshoring is advantageous for the technology, automotive, and textiles industries because it improves quality control, lowers transportation costs, and speeds up responsiveness to market demands. 

Evaluation of variables like labor costs, supply chain hazards, and regulatory compliance play a part in reshoring. However, it comes with drawbacks like: significant upfront costs, possible talent gaps, and interruptions in existing supply chains. Let's get into the nitty gritty of reshoring and look at the fundamental ideas and procedures.

What Is Reshoring?

Reshoring is the practice of bringing offshored manufacturing or industrial operations back to the company’s home country. It's a strategic choice that can often be motivated by aspects like: quality assurance, financial concerns, supply chain resiliency, and market responses. Reshoring strives to improve local economies and industries by lowering reliance on foreign production.

How Does Reshoring Work?

The reshoring process differs depending on the specific industry. In general, the process begins with assessing factors like: labor costs, quality control, supply chain risks, and market responsiveness to determine the feasibility of reshoring. The financial trade-offs are calculated by weighing the increased labor costs against the reduced transportation and customs expenses. Next, you’ll develop a comprehensive reshoring plan that outlines your transition strategy, timeline, and resource allocation. You may have to set up new facilities or reconfigure existing ones. The quality of products or services must meet or exceed the standards set by your offshore operation. Part of the process is to hire or train all necessary employees and address unforeseen challenges that crop up after you’ve begun. You must continuously assess and adjust the performance of your reshored operation to get the most possible benefit out of it. 

What Are Examples of Reshoring?

Examples of reshoring are listed below:

  1. Retail giants like Walmart and Brooks Brothers once outsourced their manufacturing to nations like China and Taiwan. However, a few years ago, Walmart launched its "Made in the USA" project, promising to invest billions in American-made goods to strengthen supply chains and garner local support. Brooks Brothers, a brand known for quality, relocated to preserve craftsmanship and help the domestic textile sector. These instances of reshoring highlight how multinational corporations can adjust to market realities and give home production top priority.
  2. In response to increasing costs and supply chain disruptions, the Ford Motor Company began reshoring manufacturing to the US. The company opened new domestic factories and hired workers, enhancing control, and reducing vulnerabilities.
  3. In 2022, North Carolina witnessed a surge in reshoring, with around 106 companies relocating operations, resulting in 43,881 new jobs. The state's appeal is largely due to significant investments in the electric vehicle (EV) battery industry. Manufacturers, including EV battery producers, are drawn to North Carolina for its favorable corporate income tax rates and accommodating regulatory environment. The state boasts the nation's lowest corporate income tax rates, making it an enticing choice for businesses.

What Factors Typically Drive Companies To Consider Reshoring Their Operations?

Companies consider reshoring for several reasons. For one, some countries are lax on material standards, quality control, and intellectual property rights, so companies may bring operations home to take advantage of tighter regulations. Another factor is rising labor and shipping costs in places like Asia and Eastern Europe. Rising wages overseas cause the cost advantages to dwindle. Geopolitical uncertainties, pandemic-related disruptions, sanctions, and lockdowns also create risks that drive companies to reshore for stability. Plus, reshoring helps protect supply chains from unexpected black-swan events, reducing production delays.

Which Industries Use Reshoring?

The following industries have become most closely associated with reshoring: 

1. Manufacturing

Reshoring in manufacturing occurs when businesses move production back to their home nation to gain better control over quality, reduce costs, support local employment, and enhance their supply chain management for competitiveness.

2. Automotive

Automotive industry reshoring relocates manufacturing processes and components back home, improving quality control, reducing supplier dependency, and speeding up production. It minimizes costs, fosters innovation, and bolsters domestic automotive growth.

3. Renewable Energy

Reshoring in the renewable energy sector encourages local production of green technology, strengthens green energy infrastructure, lowers supply chain risks, and fosters innovation, all of which contribute to a more sustainable future. Plus, a shorter chain means less greenhouse gas output spent on transportation.

4. Consumer Goods

Consumer goods manufacturers can boost quality, cut delivery times, and fortify supply chains by reshoring. It makes locals happy, enhances responsiveness, trims costs, and aids domestic industries and jobs.

5. Food and Beverage

Safety, local sourcing, and sustainability are given top priority when food and beverage items get reshored. In addition to ensuring quality, cutting costs, and bolstering local economies through partnerships, it moves production closer to the consumer.

6. Industrial Equipment

Reshoring industrial equipment manufacturing brings the production of tools and machines home, enhancing accuracy, security, and quality control. It boosts production, encourages innovation, and creates jobs, improving global competitiveness.

7. Luxury Goods

Luxury goods can come in the form of fashion, cosmetics, spirits, and packaging. They may get reshored to enhance quality, reduce environmental impacts, address disruptions, and meet changing consumer demands.

8. Aerospace and Defense

In aerospace and defense, reshoring can be crucial for national security and supply chain resilience. It ensures quality, regulatory compliance, and collaboration with local institutions, strengthening a nation's defense capabilities and sovereignty.

9. Textiles and Apparel

Reshoring in these industries relocates production back home, offering benefits like control, efficiency, and alignment with consumer preferences.

10. Technology and Electronics

Reshoring technology and electronics manufacturing enhances product quality, reduces lead times, and protects intellectual property by placing production near your research and development hubs. It strengthens domestic tech industries, supply chain control, and global competitiveness.

11. Heavy Equipment and Machinery

Reshoring heavy equipment and machinery production ensures precision and safety. It supports local manufacturing, infrastructure development, and job creation in key sectors, reducing reliance on foreign suppliers for critical equipment.

12. Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices

Pharmaceutical and medical device industries reshore their operations to secure their supply chains. U.S. intervention, like "Buy American" requirements and loans, supports domestic production of essential medical supplies.

13. Chemicals and Plastics

The plastics and chemicals industries have rediscovered the value of local production. Reshoring aids quality control, expedites deliveries, fosters job growth, and may even qualify for government funding. 

14. Furniture and Home Goods

Reshoring in furniture and home goods production shortens lead times, promotes local craftsmanship, and aligns with sustainability goals. Closer manufacturing helps you respond to trends, create jobs, customize products, and control quality. 

What Factors Make Reshoring Better for Certain Products or Industries?

A few factors make reshoring favorable for certain products/industries:

  1. Complex products or those with bulky materials.
  2. Industries requiring precision or compliance prefer local oversight.
  3. Quick response to market shifts suits the fashion and tech sectors.

How Do Political and Regulatory Factors Affect a Company's Reshoring Decision?

The decision of a corporation to reshore is significantly influenced by political and regulatory policies. Reshoring decisions must take into account things like: trade policy, tax incentives, labor standards, environmental protections, and intellectual property rules.

Can You Name Companies That Reshored Production and Experienced Significant Benefits?

Yes, some businesses have reaped enormous gains by reshoring production. For instance, Apple, General Electric, and Ford have all moved some of their manufacturing operations back to the US, citing advantages like: enhanced quality control, lower shipping costs, and quicker reaction to market changes.

What Are the Benefits of Reshoring?

Here are three key benefits of reshoring:

  1. Reduced shipping costs.
  2. Improved quality control.
  3. Faster response to market changes.

How Can Reshoring Reduce Lead Times and Improve Demand Response?

Reshoring can reduce lead times and improve demand response by shortening supply chains. When your production is closer to the market, you can make quicker adjustments and deliveries to meet changing demand.

Can You Give Examples of Manufacturing Reshoring Cost Savings?

Yes, reshoring can lead to manufacturing cost savings. Three examples include: reduced labor costs through automation, lower inventory costs due to proximity to the market, and decreased shipping expenses since both your raw materials and finished products have shorter distances to travel. 

What Is the Disadvantage of Reshoring?

Nine drawbacks of reshoring are listed below:

1. Market Volatility

Returning to a home market could subject your business to changes in local demand and consumer tastes, which could have an impact on sales and product viability.

2. Supply Chain Disruption

Any production transition is bound to disrupt existing supply chains, leading to initial logistical challenges, new supplier relationships, and potential disruptions in production schedules.

3. Initial Investment

Reshoring frequently necessitates significant upfront investments in infrastructure, tools, workforce development, and retooling. It can strain your immediate financial resources even if it will be beneficial in the long term.

4. Global Competitiveness

Domestic production may face stiff competition from low-cost offshore manufacturers, impacting pricing and market share.

5. Skill Shortages

Finding skilled labor locally can be challenging, especially for specialized industries or technologies, potentially delaying production ramp-up.

6. Automation and Technology

Reshoring often forces you to add automation and adopt new technologies. These can be costly and require skilled personnel, adding to initial expenses.

7. Higher Labor Costs

Domestic labor costs are typically higher than in offshore locations. This impacts overall production expenses and may make your prices less competitive. 

8. Infrastructure Limitations

Local infrastructure may not be optimized for certain industries, leading to inefficiencies in transportation, energy supply, or other critical areas

9. Lack of Scale

Smaller domestic markets may limit economies of scale, potentially affecting cost competitiveness and the ability to serve broader customer bases.

What Companies Have Had the Most Success with Reshoring?

Any list of the best reshoring results will be subjective, as it depends on specific industries and goals. However, some well-known companies that have successfully reshored include Airbus, General Electric, and Ford. They cite benefits like improved quality control and reduced shipping costs.

What Is the Difference Between Onshoring and Reshoring?

Onshoring and reshoring are two terms for the same process. It’s the action of bringing production that was once done overseas back to within the company’s own home country. To learn more, see our guide on Onshoring.

What Is the Difference Between Offshoring and Reshoring?

Offshoring is the practice of relocating business activities or processes overseas in order to save money. Reshoring, on the other hand, is the process of returning such operations to the corporation’s home country. The primary distinction is in the movement's direction, with offshoring moving overseas and reshoring coming back home.

Summary

This article presented reshoring, explained it, and discussed how it works and which industries benefit from it. To learn more about reshoring, contact a Xometry representative.

Xometry provides a wide range of manufacturing capabilities and other value-added services for all of your prototyping and production needs. Visit our website to learn more or to request a free, no-obligation quote.

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Xomety X
Team Xometry
This article was written by various Xometry contributors. Xometry is a leading resource on manufacturing with CNC machining, sheet metal fabrication, 3D printing, injection molding, urethane casting, and more.