Over at Evolving Excellence, Kevin has dropped a great post that describes the recent outsourcing and repatriation-of-work experiences of Steiff, the venerable stuffed animal manufacturer.
According to the original story, Steiff rushed to AMEA to take advantage of low-labor rates but soon found unexpected costs in logistics, training and quality that offset the price savings from chasing low wages.
I'll leave it to Kevin's articulate post to fill in all the blanks. But this "correction" to regain control of a supply chain and product quality is gaining momentum in the West, as OEMs figure out that hidden costs are often substantial.
And many times, those "hidden" costs are found in the loss of reputation and market share.
Make no mistake - products that require less process to create and control quality likely aren't returning to their indigenous shores. But for products that require technical accuracy and brand excellence, there are real opportunities for high-quality, accessible suppliers to reclaim work of similar value.