U.S. manufacturers look to continue sustainable business practices

December 19, 2012

Sustainability is more commonly associated with environmental concerns and the future of the planet, but with manufacturing markets overseas appearing to stir themselves out a recent state of lethargy, U.S. manufacturers can learn a lot from the green movement.

A key issue is the importance of sustainable business practices. U.S. manufacturing has been credited with shoring up the economic revival in the last few months with most companies looking to build on efficient production and a commitment to quality management in manufacturing.

A recent article published on Manufacturing.net highlighted the experience of an American businesswoman who had a background in lean enterprise and overseas production. Asked by a friend to recommend a manufacturing company to produce a toy, her recommendation was to look domestically and to identify the advantages of manufacturing the product without the increasing expense of offshoring.

U.S. manufacturers have been coming around to the idea of "made in America" for some time. The economic downturn has affected countries across the globe, and while China is still seen by some as the place to do business, the Red Dragon has experienced a drop in the amount of products being exported. Business analysts believe that overseas manufacturers are weathering the storm by turning to domestic markets for growth, a strategy that appears to be  working well in the U.S.

Although sustainability in the environmental sense is not about financial gain, it has a lot to do with profit. To put it in business terms, the environment benefits from the actions of individuals making choices that will profit a larger demographic. This philosophy can be applied to manufacturing.

U.S. companies who have kept an eye on the balance sheet have realized that having a production line and a supply chain on the other side of the world may seem to be cheaper, but in reality the distance hampers the stakeholders in the business, in other words the consumer or customer. Domestic production allows the company a greater control over the manufactured goods, especially now that the costs of production are rising in overseas markets.

U.S. manufacturing has been the bedrock of American society and, according to a recently published article in The News Tribune, companies are starting to rethink their attitude to outsourcing or offshoring their products. The recent decision by Apple to start manufacturing in the U.S. may only be related to one product line, but in terms of sustainable business strategy, it could open the door to a new dawn of production.