What if U.S. companies were to concentrate on running plants more efficiently and increase profitability enough to overcome the cost advantages that might result from locating elsewhere?
I spoke with Jeff Owens CEO of ATS, a machine maintenance outsourcing company, and he made the point that companies should look at the entire picture when it comes to locating overseas and balance it against improvements that could be made at home.
“Not everyone realized the complex factors such as intellectual protection, quality issues, and overall capabilities that came into play when they located overseas," he explained
Owens says that often his clients can discover a 30% improvement in profitability from improving the maintenance function. He says that savings can be enough to offset cost advantages of producing overseas.
I have heard this sentiment before. One particular case that sticks out in my mind was during a conversation with Al Weatherhead, an industrialist in my hometown of Cleveland. He told me that there is "no need to go overseas to find answers since they are all right here in the minds of the American worker and managers.
"The winning strategy is to use creativity and innovation to overcome whatever issue you have."