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BCG study finds that reshoring with robots works

December 10, 2015

machine_tool_industrial_robotTwo important findings from Boston Consulting Group’s (BCG) recent survey of US manufacturing executives: (1) Of those who plan to add capacity, most plan to do so in the US, and (2) a rising percentage say they are already in the process of reshoring work from China.


As the BCG chart shows, these two findings are a sharp reversal from just two years ago.

“The share of executives saying that their companies are actively reshoring production increased by 9% since 2014 and by about 250% since 2012. This suggests that companies that were considering reshoring in the past three years are now taking action. By a two-to-one margin, executives said they believe that reshoring will help create U.S. jobs at their companies rather than lead to a net loss of jobs.

“These findings underscore how significantly U.S. attitudes toward manufacturing in America seem to have swung in just a few years,” said Harold L. Sirkin, a BCG senior partner and a coauthor of the research, which is part of BCG’s ongoing series on the shifting economics of global manufacturing, launched in 2011.

The study provides evidence that a revival of American manufacturing and methodology is underway. The decreasing costs and improved capabilities of advanced manufacturing technologies such as robotics also make manufacturing in the US more attractive than in economies whose chief advantage is cheap labor.

In the BCG survey 56% of respondents said that lower automation costs have improved the competitiveness of US-made products compared with similar goods sourced from low-cost countries. Seventy-one percent said advanced manufacturing technologies will improve the economics of local production, and 75% said they will invest in additional automation or advanced manufacturing technologies in the next five years.

Frank Tobe is the owner and publisher of The Robot Report, and is also a panel member for Robohub's Robotics by Invitation series... read more

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