This story is from the 2015 Access 25. Explore more from this issue


Shifts in global wages, purchasing power, and energy supplies are complicating the calculus behind global manufacturing decisions.

January 2015

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If offshoring was the manufacturing buzzword of the 1990s, next-shoring is poised to replace it — if it hasn’t already. But if you think rising wages in China and new U.S. shale oil production will “reverse the boats” on global manufacturing: not so fast, say experts. It’s much more complicated.

Many industries locate manufacturing close to demand, making established manufacturing ecosystems hard to displace. This benefits Asia in some industries — high-tech, most famously — and the West in others.

What’s more, 3-D printing and advanced robotics are poised to become the next big factors in the next-shoring era, according to experts. As a recent McKinsey report puts it: “Next-shoring isn’t about the shift of manufacturing from one place to another but about adapting to, and preparing for, the changing nature of manufacturing everywhere.”

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