Is outsourcing dead?

Of course not. There are still reasons to buy from overseas suppliers but as Boeing and now GE are learning, there are many reasons for bringing manufacturing back together with sales and R&D. This does not mean they they have to be co-located, by the way.

In case you haven’t read it, Charles Fishman lays out the argument, using GE as an example, in the December issue of The Atlantic. One caveat: To get maximum benefit, your company needs to be deep into lean.

Indeed, for many companies, it would make more sense to outsource the design function and keep manufacturing in-house (and in-country), sort of a reverse Apple. Speaking of which, is Apple’s domestic assembly of part of its Mac production a sign that they recognize the benefits of insourcing or a PR stunt?


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