PROTECTING THE SUPPLY CHAIN
While companies such as Mindtree are exploring the connections between making and innovating, others such as Apple see stateside manufacturing as a way to protect their supply chain from natural disasters -- such as the Haiyan typhoon in the Philippines -- or geopolitical issues that could jeopardize the reliability of parts.
In the fast-paced high-tech industry where one piece of a supply chain can sometimes make or break bringing a product to market, Apple tries to own as much of its supply chain as possible. To that end, in November Apple said it would open a new plant in Mesa, Ariz., that will create 2,000 jobs to make components for device camera-lens covers and its iPhone 5s' fingerprint recognition home button.
"What you want to avoid if you are any company is that you have all the components at the time you need them when you are trying to get them into the hands of your buyers," said Jeffrey Karrenbauer, president of InSight, a supply chain consultancy that works with international companies to minimize risk.
Whether it's Apple or a solution provider, it's equally important to be fast and nimble when it comes to responding to customer needs. Reshoring by companies such as AMD and Lenovo helps take some of the variables out of depending on components that are sometimes located on the other side of the planet, said Computer Upgrade King's Robinson.
"The build time for Lenovo has gotten a lot faster. The supply chain has gotten a lot better and Thinkpads that used to take six weeks to ship now are getting where they need to be in two weeks," Robinson said.
Karrenbauer said companies reshore for a number of reasons, but as typhoons and geopolitics factor more into supply chain, diversifying a company's sourcing locations -- including onshoring and nearshoring manufacturing -- is a way to reduce risk.
This report originally appeared on the CRN Tech News App for iOS and Windows 8.