While nearly every manufacturer today can trace some element of its product – parts, labour or both – to Asia or South America, most also agree that some things simply can’t be successfully offshored. Examples include certain types of expert labour; products that incorporate particular industry expertise or hard-to-find skill sets are also best manufactured onshore. Electronics products that include embedded intellectual property are another area where offshoring is generally avoided.
At the same time that North American producers are creating outsourcing mixes that recognize the need for certain skills and functions to remain onshore, manufacturing companies outside of North America are more frequently turning to electronic manufacturing service (EMS) providers on this continent.
Despite the ability to do business almost completely online – via email, secure transactions, Skype, online chats, the web and other tools – proximity to the end customer is still valuable for delivering high-quality, responsive customer service on hard goods. To provide efficient customer support – such as returns and repairs – a local manufacturing and aftermarket capability is necessary.
A local presence also helps to extend a multinational brand experience by allowing customers to receive service in their time zone from individuals who understand their local business culture and language. And, localization can take care of logistics challenges for products that are difficult to ship overseas for a variety of reasons, such as size, weight, and content.
Now is the right time to consider localization as part of the manufacturing mix. The next step in the evolution of outsourcing is to deliver more responsive and effective customer service through local outsourcing partners.
I encourage you to contact an OCM Manufacturing Program Manager to discuss how localization can enhance your service to customers.