Fabrication Services Coming Back from China
Back in 2008 when the bottom completely dropped out of the tech manufacturing industry, I was part of an outsourcing plan for a large HDD equipment manufacturing company. I trained numerous personnel, and qualified three different shops on how to build our product cabinets overseas.
I was made responsible for outsourcing numerous jobs from the shop I was managing at the time. Unfortunately, this outsourcing move took away several jobs from our vendors that helped supplement the needs of the company. Of course I could have said no and they would have just found someone else to do the job. It was not a good feeling. All the number crunching from everyone at that time was geared to support this new fad of cheap labor from overseas. Anyone that opposed the idea was clearly uninformed or not a visionary of the potential revenue savings that was to be had from China and some of its neighboring countries. For those that oppose the outsourcing fad cited concerns for cost for training unskilled labor, cost of shipping, additional (loss of) time needed to get product to market, cost of rework, the availability of quality capital equipment, and an overall availability of an infrastructure of quality businesses that are geared to support the manufacturing companies as we find it in the Bay Area.
Over that time I watched as manufacturing shops in the S.F. Bay Area slowly shut their doors one after the other. Now re-shoring jobs is becoming popular due to rising wages, operating and shipping costs from China with the same low grade of quality causing inspection rates to jump from 10% to 100% in many cases.There are still a few major players out there, some with stronger core competencies than others.
One of the bright spots of the S.F. Bay Area is still Expedite Precision Works.
They were one of my vendors while at that company I was with in 2008. They are one of only a few companies in the S.F Bay Area with a world class machine shop, full service inspection department and outstanding plastic and metal fabrication capabilities that are ISO 9001:2008, ISO 13485:2003, AS 9003 compliant and ITAR Registered.