Reshoring, or bringing production operations back to the United States, has been a growing trend in manufacturing in recent years. Engineering Specialties Inc. (ESI) experienced this movement firsthand when Ametek, a global electronics manufacturer, decided to contact ESI after outsourcing its metal stamping operations to Mexico.

Ametek had originally selected ESI as the metal stamper for its solenoid switch for trucks, designed to switch loads in DC motor circuits. The steel, zinc-plated part required tolerances as tight as .005” and Ametek required quantities of 100,000 per year. Weighing at about a quarter-pound, ESI used a 150-ton metal stamping press to meet the client’s demands.

However, in an effort to save on freight and overall costs, the company made the decision to relocate the part’s manufacturing to Mexico — closer to the plant where the part was assembled.

Issues with Offshoring

Shortly after moving operations to Mexico, Ametek began to experience the true costs of offshoring — the most noticeable being poor quality. Offshore manufacturers do not always have access to industry-leading technology and equipment, nor do they always have the highly qualified employees necessary to ensure the highest quality products. The result is less regulation and quality control over the production process.

In addition to poorer quality parts, Ametek also experienced problems with delivery despite the new stamper being closer to the solenoid switch assembly plant. Ametek experienced difficulty with on-time delivery and several dimensions were frequently out of specification. The outsourced supplier was simply unable to meet the high volume of parts at the dates requested by Ametek, resulting in delivery delays and slower time to market for the final product.

The Decision to Reshore

Throughout its previous partnership, ESI had always supplied Ametek with quality metal stamped parts with 100 percent on-time delivery. After continuing to experience problems with the new supplier in Mexico, Ametek decided to reshore their manufacturing back to ESI. ESI’s precision tooling team constructed a new, Grade A tool to consistently meet every print dimension. Not only did ESI provide high quality, on-time parts, but it was also able to match the other supplier’s price. In the end, ESI was able to meet all the client’s needs, while also reshoring two jobs at its Connecticut facility.

For more information, visit The Reshoring Initiative.