Global manufacturing industry conditions can change at any time. In recent years, we have witnessed how these changes have benefited the U.S. manufacturing sector.
Consider the story of Kent International Inc., a bicycle manufacturer that has numerous production facilities in China and has run factories all over the world. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, the company plans to open a new factory soon, but in a slightly different location: Manning, South Carolina.
The reason is simple, if somewhat surprising given the trends of the past few decades: cost.
"We figure by 2017, we will be able to produce a bike here for the same or less than in China," Arnold Kamler, chief executive of Kent International, told the news source. This is largely because labor costs in China have risen faster than those in the U.S. In addition, shipping costs are also higher. "If we're right, we'll be so far ahead of the curve, we expect some of our competition to follow us."
He added that while U.S.-made bicycles will be slightly more expensive than Chinese-made models at first, the prices will soon reach parity.
The Manning factory is scheduled to open in October and employ 175 people and produce 500,000 bicycles annually by 2016. This will benefit the economy of South Carolina, which has actively sought out manufacturing companies and encouraged them to move to the state. But the state should go even further and reach out to CNC machine services. By providing custom components to businesses as needed, these services allow smaller facilities to operate cost-effectively and help the overall sector grow.