Entrepreneur magazine has an article called "Bring It Home" about the growth of small manufacturing in the US. Key quote on why an Oregon manufacturing company is thriving:
"Competitors that manufacture overseas can't match his turnaround, his ability to customize or the speed with which he can introduce new designs, Jones says."
What makes this interesting is how close this description is to a similar story on a Baltimore based manufacturer in last weekend's Washington Post. Key quote on why the specialized manufacturer Marlin is thriving:
"He (Marlin's CEO) began to notice there were some customers, such as Boeing, who wanted small orders turned around quickly and accurately and didn't haggle over price.....Unlike Marlin, Chinese manufacturers require large minimum orders and long lead times. "China can't get a custom single hook or single basket in less than a week, or in less than three weeks," he says. "They can't do it."
What really makes this interesting is how close both these are to what I've heard from several small electronics manufacturing companies over the last couple of months. They have decided to move some of their manufacturing operations back to the US to improve their ability to customize products and speed time to market.
I said in a prior post on manufacturing returning to the US that it is too early to call this a trend. Entrepreneur agrees saying:
"Is manufacturing coming back in the U.S.? The answer at best is "perhaps." "
I now think the "perhaps" is probably a "probably".