There's been plenty of talk lately about the growing trend of reshoring - that is, companies which had previously moved their electronics assembly overseas are now coming home. We're not just talking small companies either: Major names like GE, Ford, and even Apple are moving assembly services back to America.
The reasons behind these shifts are complex, from the rising cost of living in Asia to the flexibility problems created with extra long-tailed supply lines.
However, in our opinion, one of the biggest driving factors may be plain security. There are a number of ways that offshore manufacturing can risk the integrity of your product or your Intellectual Property, whereas US manufacturing greatly reduces those risks.
Major Ways Overseas Partners Endanger Your Product
1 - IP Theft
Groups have been noting for years that corporate espionage in overseas factories was becoming a major issue. There've even been reports of knockoff products managing to hit shelves in local stores before the "real" product made it to sale in the US.
Much of this is due to the local environment. The Asian countries simply do not have terribly strong IP laws, nor are the governments very interested in enforcing them - especially when it's the IP of economic competitors. Even culturally speaking, ideas are largely seen as being free. It wasn't until 1996 that China even had an official center for informing people about IP-related crimes.
This is, of course, simply not the case in America. The US has been a global leader in IP protections for at least a century, and the workforce at large is well aware of the laws in place. It's far more difficult to get away with IP theft domestically, and far fewer companies will even try.
2 - Supply Line Pollution
When manufacturing overseas, it's extremely difficult to maintain the integrity of your supply lines. Their long tails and longer distance away from you means that it's very easy for unscrupulous actors to make a switch, without anyone -even other members of the supply line- knowing.
Even the US military has not been immune to counterfeits slipping into its jets!
However, US manufacturing partners are now using much more stringent supply line oversight and optimization measures which can track individual components from factory to finished circuit board.
3 - Higher Defect Rates
What this adds up to is a product that's hard for you to trust. Any failure predictions based on authentic parts are invalidated, and if defects arise, there's no way for your engineers to know with certainty what components are causing the failure.
In worst-case scenarios, these unexpected defects could even lead to consumer harm.
US firms, on the other hand, can offer extensive design, testing, and prototyping services. When combined with a solid supply line, you get highly precise data and products guaranteed to be truly up-to-spec.
Pick An Electronics Assembly Partner You Can Feel Secure With
It's important to look beyond the bare-bones costs when evaluating electronics assembly solutions. Externalities are everything in electronics manufacturing, and it's very easy for a service that's cheap up-front to end up costing far more in the long run.
With domestic electronics production, you get partners you can trust working in a tightly-monitored regulatory environment. That means your designs, your supply line, and your products themselves will be in safe hands.
To learn more about your options in assembly services today, check out our free ebook: