Some time ago I mused that perhaps the worm was slowing if not turning, in relation to local manufacturing, rather than buying in from China as the default option.

The crisis in the US, far worse than anything in this country, had to lead to structural change in the US economy, as the sort of structural change necessary usually only ever occurs when there is little option but to change, as continuing on is simply not an option.

It seems the swallows are appearing in the US, the early trendsetters are thinking twice about the downside of “offshoring”.  Loss of IP control, sovereign risk, long and inflexible supply chains, transaction costs in the supply chain and management, and so on.

It makes economic and social sense to manufacture amongst the network of services and capabilities required to be sustainably successful, rather than  taking the short term apparent cost reduction that really ends up costing more.

With China suffering increased inflationary pressure, their western export markets tightening wallets, an undervalued currency, and increasing domestic pressures around human rights, pollution, and the distribution of the new wealth,  something has to break, somewhere. Wise businesses appear to be weighing the costs and benefits of offshoring, Vs building local capability, considering the long term benefits of development of clusters of innovation and service providers, and lean operations including shortened supply chains, and coming to the conclusion that some things are better done locally.

It will take a long time for the tide to turn, and it will turn very selectively, as many commodity, low value, low technology items will always be cheaper from a low cost environment, but the manufacturing that adds real value will start to trickle home.