For many years, manufacturing has sought to increase competitiveness by moving off-shore to countries with lower labour costs. Electronic manufacturing services (EMS) companies provided an essential element to make off-shore transfer happen more quickly, offering further cost reduction opportunities from load balancing. Fierce arguments were put forward to protect the loss of local jobs, although the result was, in almost all cases, inevitable. Today, however, the whole market of PCBbased electronics products has changed significantly. The "pros" of off-shoring are no longer what they once were, and the "cons" are becoming more significant because off-shore manufacturing can no longer satisfy the needs of the market.
In this paper, we expose the real costs of off-shore manufacturing, and put labour cost differentials into perspective. We demonstrate how practically, using existing technologies, re-shored manufacturing can yield better business return, either for an OEM, or through EMS providers.
SMTA - Surface Mount Technology Association is a non-profit international association of companies and individuals (totalling 4,000) involved in all aspects of advanced electronics assembly, surface mount and related technologies.
IPC - Association Connecting Electronics Industries is a US-based trade association dedicated to the competitive excellence and financial success of its nearly 2,600 member companies which represent all facets of the electronic interconnection industry, including design, printed wiring board manufacturing and electronics assembly.