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How to Increase EBITDA in Manufacturing: Part #3 - Implementing Factory Relocation and Reshoring

March 20, 2024

 by David Collins III

interior of a factory with factory workers packing up equipment

This is the 3rd part of "How to Increase EBITDA in Manufacturing: A 6 Part Guide". If you'd like to view other posts in the series, the links are available on the right side menu of this post (desktop) or at the end (mobile).

Increasing EBITDA in manufacturing through factory relocation and reshoring presents a strategic yet complex challenge that demands careful planning and execution. As companies navigate the intricacies of moving production closer to home or more cost-effective locations, the focus sharpens on supply chain optimization and mitigating the costs associated with higher-wage countries. This exploration offers insights into how manufacturers can leverage relocation and reshoring to enhance their financial health and operational efficiency. 

7 Strategic Considerations for Factory Relocation and Reshoring to Increase EBITDA

  1. Evaluating Total Cost of Ownership of Factory Relocation  

    The decision to relocate or reshore manufacturing operations begins with a comprehensive total cost of ownership (TCO) analysis. This analysis includes the immediate costs of moving and setting up new facilities and the longer-term implications for labor, logistics, tariffs, geographical growth, and regulatory compliance. Manufacturers must weigh these factors against the potential savings from reduced shipping times, lower inventory levels, and enhanced supply chain agility.

    Companies can significantly enhance their EBITDA by conducting a thorough TCO analysis and potentially reshoring manufacturing operations. This improvement impacts the reduction of direct costs such as labor and logistics and mitigates risks associated with geopolitical tensions and tariffs, leading to more predictable and manageable operational expenses. The closer proximity of manufacturing facilities to the end markets can result in faster response times to consumer demands and trends, ultimately boosting sales and profit margins.

    Companies are only just starting to appreciate TCO. The expectations of lower costs from China and the inability or unwillingness to calculate TCO prevented many companies from understanding their costs. Often, they would take the easy way and focus solely on product costs rather than TCO.  

  2. Implementing Lean Manufacturing Principles to Increase EBITDA

    Adopting lean manufacturing principles is crucial in environments with higher labor costs. Manufacturers can significantly reduce operational costs by streamlining processes, eliminating waste, and optimizing production flows. Techniques such as value stream mapping helps identify non-value-added activities and areas for improvement, enabling more efficient use of resources and labor.

    Every manufacturer can gain from using lean manufacturing principles. Gains can be found in any manufacturing operation. Reshoring is an excellent time to put lean principles into action since it is likely to involve new staff and a new organization. It is easier to start strong rather than graft lean principles on later. 
    Applying lean manufacturing principles in the context of reshoring can further amplify EBITDA gains. Manufacturers can focus on value creation and eliminating waste, achieving higher operational efficiency and lower production costs.

  3. Advanced Technology and Automation

    Implementing advanced technologies and automation can offset higher labor costs in relocated or reshored factories, significantly impacting EBITDA. Robotics, AI-driven processes, and intelligent manufacturing systems improve productivity and quality, enhancing operational efficiency and reducing dependence on labor-intensive operations. Reducing labor costs and the technological shift contribute to better profit margins through higher quality output and reduced manual labor reliance.

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  4. Optimizing Supplier Relationship Management and Local Sourcing in Reshoring

    During factory relocation and reshoring, you will often reevaluate your supplier networks, where enhancing Supplier Relationship Management (SRM) and embracing local sourcing emerge as pivotal strategies to boost EBITDA. By forging closer ties with local suppliers, factories can slash logistics costs and lead times, directly improving operational efficiency and the bottom line. This approach trims expenses and strengthens supply chain resilience against disruptions, offering a more predictable cost structure and safeguarding EBITDA.

    While advantageous, the shift towards local sourcing presents challenges, particularly in regions lacking robust local supply infrastructure. In such scenarios, the strategy involves leveraging local sourcing where viable and diversifying supply sources to mitigate risks. Effective SRM and strategic local sourcing streamline the supply chain, reduce dependency on distant suppliers, and enhance responsiveness to market shifts, resulting in significant EBITDA improvements despite initial obstacles.

  5. Sustainability and Regulatory Compliance

    Navigating the landscape of higher-wage regions often means adhering to stringent environmental standards and sustainability expectations. Innovative manufacturers leverage this by integrating green practices like recycling, technologies, cutting energy use, and minimizing waste.

    A factory’s commitment to sustainability reduces operational expenses by lowering energy consumption and waste management costs and minimizes the risk of financial penalties for non-compliance. Furthermore, this approach aligns with the growing consumer demand for eco-friendly products, enhancing brand loyalty and potentially boosting sales. Strategic compliance with sustainability and regulatory requirements can significantly improve EBITDA, as it optimizes operational efficiency while opening up new market opportunities.

  6. Workforce Development and Skilled Labor Utilization

    The success of factory relocation and reshoring significantly depends on the strategic use of skilled labor. Investing in workforce development through advanced training programs and forming partnerships with local educational institutions ensures a steady supply of qualified workers. Investing in human capital enhances productivity and innovation and helps offset the higher wage costs associated with such strategic moves, directly benefiting EBITDA.

    Prioritizing the retention of skilled labor is economically beneficial in the long run. It negates the costs and productivity losses associated with the frequent hiring and training of new staff. A stable, skilled workforce sustains high productivity levels and bolsters company culture and employee loyalty, which is crucial for long-term profitability and EBITDA improvement.

  7. Risk Management and Strategic Planning

    Comprehensive risk management and strategic planning are vital components in ensuring the success of a factory relocation or reshoring initiative. By engaging in detailed scenario planning, manufacturers can anticipate and prepare for potential supply chain disruptions, currency fluctuations, and shifts in trade policies. This reduces the likelihood of costly interruptions and ensures operational continuity.

    A well-crafted strategic plan with agile decision-making capabilities allows manufacturers to adapt quickly to changing market conditions and leverage opportunities as they arise. Adaptability is crucial for maintaining competitive advantage and capitalizing on cost-saving measures that enhance EBITDA. Effective risk management and strategic planning also foster a more predictable financial environment, minimizing unexpected costs and improving the stability of cash flows.


The Strategic Path to Enhanced EBITDA through Relocation and Reshoring

Increasing EBITDA through factory relocation and reshoring requires a comprehensive approach integrating cost management, process efficiency, and market adaptability. Manufacturers can navigate the challenges of higher-wage environments by prioritizing cost analysis, lean practices, technology integration, and workforce development. The journey towards operational excellence and financial improvement underscores the importance of strategic planning and adaptability, setting the stage for long-term success in the competitive global marketplace.


What are your thoughts about implementing reshoring to increase EBITDA? Leave a comment below to share your ideas.

plant relocation

Topics: Plant Relocation, PE Manufacturing

David Collins III

David Collins III

David was a Senior Strategy Consultant for Deloitte, served in Iraq as a Special Operations Civil Affairs soldier, and as a Governance Advisor to the Afghan Government with the Department of State. At CMC, David advises clients on strategy and investments.

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