How Apparel Manufacturing is Coming Back
For many manufacturing companies, off-shoring has been seen as one of the easiest ways to achieve higher profit margins. This ideology set in motion a great outsourcing movement, which has dominated manufacturing practices for the last two decades.
Off-shoring has led to lost jobs, a reduction in manufacturing skills, and a negative opinion of trade careers in general. But for the apparel industry, new formulas for successful on-shore manufacturing have the potential to shake the “off-shoring-is-better” perception and change all of this – and it all starts with new marketing strategies.
Here is the breakdown of how companies are bringing apparel back to the States and the benefits that stem from this new manufacturing style:
Customization vs. Volume
You can’t argue with the fact that overseas labor is cheaper and an ideal solution for companies like Walmart that deal in volumes of goods. Off-shoring has simply proven the best fit for quantity-based manufacturing models. On-shoring, however, is better suited for companies looking for quality over quantity. Customization is a big part of this. By tapping the skill sets of practiced laborers, companies can develop well-crafted products that cater to niche markets and audiences.
From 3D printers to new, high-tech digital machines and ERPs that operate smarter using the latest Business Analytics software – technology is adding a new perspective to on-shore manufacturing. These new tech innovations streamline planning, production, shipping, and all the logistics in-between. All of this, in turn, cuts time and costs, making on-shoring a viable – and profitable – alternative.
Prepping a New Workforce
Combining the technical skills needed to develop new digital technologies alongside the expertise of the practiced, specialized manufacturing skills, companies can build an efficient workforce that is motivated to produce top-tier products.
A recent article by Apparel magazine quoted Ilse Metchek, president of the California Fashion Association, on re-shoring practices. Metchek reported that California ships around $49 billion dollars’ worth of merchandise every year, 85% of which is imported. Metchek also pointed out that if just 10% of that shipping was brought back to the state of California, the state would gain $4 billion dollars in manufacturing revenue and over 20,000 new jobs.
Overall, apparel organizations are designing new manufacturing strategies that are bringing work back to the states. Not every business model is ideal for this structure, but even a small movement has the possibility of carrying some pretty hefty benefits that can travel throughout the economy.
Discover the possibilities of on-shoring in your apparel manufacturing business model. In our eBook, 5 Technology Shifts Sending Aftershocks to the Apparel Industry, we discuss five critical technology developments within the apparel industry that are compelling manufacturers, wholesalers and decorators to rethink their traditional processes and embrace new-age approaches.
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