Companies large and small are resorting to drastic measures to ease supply chain pressures. The largest enterprises are paying previously undreamed fees for private charter, mid-size companies are increasingly seeking to build private fleets, and businesses of all sizes are scrambling to find creative solutions to seemingly intractable sourcing problems.
While there’s no single fix for the current supply chain crisis that will benefit every business, domestic manufacturing may be an option that is too quickly taken off the table. While resolving specific supply chain struggles is simply a waiting game, there are viable alternatives that many companies can act on now with the advantage of a domestic supply partner.
Successfully Combatting Disruption for Nearly Half of a Century
At Pivot International, we are a global single-source product development, supply chain, and manufacturing firm with 320,000 square feet of international production space. Pivot has been in business for nearly half of a century, which means that the current crisis is not the first we’ve seen our clients through — not by a long shot.
In the decades preceding the pandemic, we’ve successfully helped clients manage complex risk and defy or significantly buffer supply chain, economic, climatic, and geopolitical disruption. We have accomplished this feat through multiple strategies. Among these strategies is access to competitive China-alternative manufacturing facilities, including flexible options in the Phillippines and the American Midwest.
Domestic Manufacturing: In Some Cases, Simply the Single Best Choice
With domestic manufacturing assuming a level of importance and investment it has not enjoyed in more than thirty years, it can no longer be assumed to be the second-best choice to offshore manufacturing. On the contrary, it may be the single best choice for some companies, period. Determining whether domestic manufacturing is the best choice or simply a viable shorter-term alternative for your company often comes down to asking yourself the following questions.
1. Could domestic manufacturing conceivably solve our supply chain challenges and offer a compelling cost incentive?
Quite naturally, questions of cost are paramount. If the process of choosing a manufacturing partner is looked at as a decision tree, the answer to this question will play the single greatest role in how you navigate its branchings. But it bears repeating: take care that you don’t reach a no without conducting extensive due diligence. Many companies write off a domestic partner on the basis that the part or component they need for their product isn’t available or manufacturable in the U.S. within any reasonable time, at any reasonable cost.
While this may be true, even this fact may not be the end of the line. At Pivot, for example, our in-house Design-For-Manufacture teams are known for our innovative engineering hacks. These hacks enable your product to function and perform flawlessly with a part or component that is available or can be manufactured in the immediate future at a reasonable cost. What’s more, when considering broader supply chain costs and your company’s value chain, domestic manufacturing can come out as the clear winner to offshoring.
2. If something significant changes in the supply chain or market, can we flexibly scale or even toggle production between domestic and offshore locations?
Agility in manufacturing is critical to remaining competitive, which is why Pivot offers flexible manufacturing options to rapidly scale production to changing circumstances and market demand. Whether you’re looking for small lot sizes to make your operations more lean and your products more customizable, or large lots to drive maximum cost-savings, our domestic manufacturing locations handle a wide range of production runs to ensure the most economical lot size for your needs. Moreover, if a hybrid approach to manufacturing best serves your company, Pivot’s investment in twinned mirror-mount SMT lines enables you to toggle production between our U.S. and Phillippines-based facilities.
3. How important to our team is the ease of communication with our partner?
For decades, offshoring has brought many advantages, but the ease of communication is generally not one of them. Every phase of NPD involves dozens if not hundreds of complex communications. When you add a language barrier to this equation — or even differing cultural conversational styles — miscommunication becomes that much likelier. At worst, miscommunications can be very costly. At best, they can significantly complicate the process of launching a new product.
4. Are internal oversight and onsite access a priority for us?
Another thing to consider when determining whether a domestic manufacturing partner is the right choice for your company is whether operational transparency is a priority. Unless your partner owns their production space, it’s extremely difficult for them to effectively “mind the shop” to ensure strict compliance and quality control. At Pivot, not only do we own our facilities, our central U.S. location makes it incredibly easy for your team to be onsite. From anywhere in the country, it’s just a short trip to our ISO– and IEC-certified facilities to see for yourself exactly where your project stands. (Pivot delivers ISO 9001:2015, 80079-34, IEC 60601-1, and many more, including FDA registration.)
Domestic manufacturing doesn’t hold all the answers to the current supply chain crisis, but it can be a cost-competitive solution to current challenges for many companies. If you’d like to learn more about how Pivot can support your growth goals and product launch, contact us today.