Lemings Die, But You Don’t Have To

Like lemmings, in the past 20 years many manufacturers outsourced their high-labor-content production to Asia, outsourced tooling to Asia, and focused on sourcing in “Low Cost Countries (LCC).”

Like lemmings, many manufacturers are now rushing from off-shoring to near-shore and re-shore, only to find much of domestic capacity gone.

Those who outsourced to LCCs frequently discovered that such a decision based on labor content overlooked the numerous costs of inventory and lead-time that irregular or low demand for those items entailed. They have also discovered that many decisions, once made, are difficult to unmake.

As additive manufacturing processes change the options for your supply chain, as advances in material sciences increase alternatives exponentially, as a garage-based innovator brings his genius to market, whatever formula you are using today is incomplete. Just as the formula that emphasized labor costs was wrong. Just as high school counselors telling students that manufacturing is dead was short-sighted.

PLEASE think strategically!

As we were all told as kids, just because everyone else does it doesn’t mean it’s the right thing for you to do. That doesn’t mean jumping off a building isn’t fun; just make sure there’s a trampoline or a nice mattress below, not a pile of dead lemmings.

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