Reshoring Manufacturing in America

The American manufacturing landscape is always changing and evolving. While offshoring has been the norm for many of the nation’s companies – large and small – for the past few decades, we are beginning to see a reversal with an effort to increase onshoring production capabilities here at home. The exceedingly robust demand has been felt throughout the construction industry, from engineers to suppliers.

From the start of development at the University of Michigan to our current manufacturing facilities in Grand Rapids and administrative offices in Ann Arbor, Helix Steel has always been locally minded. As the manufacturer of Twisted Steel Micro Rebar®, a US-made proactive concrete reinforcement product for over two decades, we have experienced a surge in partnerships in local new builds and  expansion projects.

Is Offshoring Losing Its Appeal?

As the globalization of American manufacturing has evolved, so, too, has its complications. While the offshoring shift was initially made to lower costs and ease competitive pressures, many companies have seen those savings reduced due to growing competition from manufacturers in every corner of the world, security concerns, increasing international labor costs, geopolitical uncertainties, a growing demand for sustainability, and more. 

COVID-19, of course, also created a myriad of logistics concerns, unexpectedly jumpstarting the reshoring trend. As ships were seen lined up at the docks for weeks and months waiting to be unloaded and material shortages became widespread, the fragility of the global supply chain was revealed.

Attitudes and Investments Are Changing

A 2021 data report from the Reshoring Initiative® shows that attitudes and investments surrounding reshoring are changing. In the first eight months of 2022 included, 106 earnings calls included the word “reshoring”– that’s up from just eight total mentions in all of 2019.

The report showed other real-world effects:

  • 1.3 million jobs created since 2010
  • 261,000 jobs created in 2021 alone
  • 1,800 US companies intend to reshore

The Kearney 2021 Reshoring Index showed similar shifts:

  • 92% of CEOs and other executives of American companies express positivity about reshoring
  • 79% of executives who have operations in China have already moved part of their operations to the US or plan to do so in the next three years
  • 15% of executives are evaluating similar moves

Benefits and Challenges of Reshoring

The shift to reshoring of at least some manufacturing capabilities has proven beneficial for many organizations. Some of these advantages include supply chain visibility, leaner inventory management, faster innovation, and a boost to local economies.

Having your teams nearby can create more convenience and an ability to predict issues and solve problems more swiftly and efficiently. It also eliminates constant travel, language barriers, and quality control issues caused by extreme distance.

There are challenges to reshoring as well. Re-establishing local manufacturing centers often requires significant initial investment in construction, technology, and training. Many companies are mitigating these barriers by opting to diversify their business with a combination of offshore and onshore manufacturing.

Successful Reshoring Initiatives

At Helix, we’ve been helping companies make the switch to Micro Rebar®, our US-made alternative to concrete reinforcement products for over two decades. We’re proud to be an integral part in many local reshoring success stories, including General Motors Ultium Cells facilities (three new facilities in just four years), electric-vehicle manufacturer Rivian’s new Illinois plants, and AGS Automotive’s expansion into Sterling Heights, Michigan.

Helix would love to be a part of your reshoring projects. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves with you to help you optimize your capabilities through our product and engineering services. Contact us today to discuss how we can help simplify your transition with Micro Rebar®.