Benefits of Onshoring and Localization of CNC machining in North America

Every year tens of thousands of new products are released to meet the needs of niche markets. These may be new medical devices, the newest features from the automotive industry, or the latest device to harvest sunflower seeds. If you’re producing the next big game console, you probably have to look overseas for CNC machining cost savings, but if you’re not planning to sell millions of your new product, you have options closer to home which is a lot more cost-effective.

It seems counterintuitive. Manufacturing is cheaper overseas; that’s where you manufacture. Of course, not all manufacturing happens overseas. Approximately $3 Trillion was produced by manufacturers in North America last year. There are economies of scale which overcome the hurdles of overseas production. Unless you’re about to release the next big game console or must-have kitchen gadget, you’re probably better off keeping your manufacturing closer to home.

Out of Sync

Having your CNC machining services in a time zone 12 hours away creates serious problems. When you’re at work and want the latest numbers, the plant is either closed for the night or if they’re running shifts, you can only reach the night managers. The people who call the shots over there are in the office when you’re asleep. It’s frustrating. Depending on the specifics, there may be no worktime overlap between you and the manufacturing management. Never mind conference calls; even simple phone calls can be a logistical nightmare. Do you really want to Zoom with someone 8000 miles away at 9 pm just to resolve a supply problem?

Out of Step

Smart owners are involved. They keep close tabs on every aspect of the business -especially manufacturing. It’s not exactly convenient to hop on a plane for a 14-hour flight to check out how the line is running. If the CNC machine shop is across town, or even a few hours away, that’s doable, and that can stave off problems that can go unnoticed by managers who aren’t as invested as you are. Having your CNC machine shop close also makes it easier for your engineers to work closely with their engineers.

Out of Spec?

If you’re using CNC machining services in Canada, shops like Macfab are AS9100 certified. There are serious questions about similar certifications at some overseas facilities, and no one seems to know for sure just how extensive the problem is. Regardless, companies relying on overseas manufacturers are well advised to do their homework. Canadian machine shops that claim AS9100 certification should have no problem providing all of the required documentation.

Manufacturing is cheaper overseas on a cost-per-unit basis. That saving comes with its own price, though. There are obstacles, inconveniences, and uncertainties. No company can mitigate them entirely. If you choose to source your manufacturing overseas, all you can do is adjust and learn to work with them. Experience and conventional wisdom say there will be some tradeoffs no matter what you do, and that often shows up in the quality of the final product.

Keeping your CNC machining services in Canada gives you the best control over quality and the most information as far as supply chain, production, finishing, QA -in short, every aspect of getting your product to customers. The products may cost more per unit, but you also don’t have to pay to ship them halfway around the world and wait for them to arrive. There are a lot of ways to measure value, and you need to consider them all very carefully before sending manufacturing overseas.


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