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Riding the Reshoring Wave in Private Equity Manufacturing

March 5, 2024

 by David Collins III

a diagram of a globe with arrows pointing from india, china, and vietnam to the US, depicting companies reshoring back to the US

The global manufacturing landscape is experiencing a seismic shift as companies increasingly opt to bring their operations closer to home—a movement known as reshoring. This strategic pivot is particularly pronounced within the realm of private equity-backed manufacturing, where the drive for control, flexibility, and quality is paramount. Through the lens of Manufacturing Transformation Group's (MTG) recent involvement with a sporting goods manufacturer, we share these insights into the complexities and opportunities that reshoring presents. 

Reshoring Case Study: A Strategic Manufacturing Shift for a Sporting Goods Manufacturer

Our journey begins with a sporting goods manufacturer faced with the daunting task of reshoring its manufacturing operations from China to North America. This bold move, aimed at regaining direct control over manufacturing processes, underscores a growing trend among private equity-backed manufacturers seeking to mitigate risks associated with overseas production while capitalizing on the benefits of domestic manufacturing

Benefits of Reshoring 

The manufacturer's decision to bring operations in-house was driven by several compelling advantages: 

  • Enhanced operational control: By manufacturing core products domestically, the company gains unparalleled control over its production processes, enabling swift adjustments to design and functionality in response to market demands. 

  • Improved market responsiveness: Proximity to the end market allows for faster response times to consumer trends and market conditions, a critical factor in maintaining a competitive edge. Previously, changes to a product line would take weeks as the product sailed from China to North America, resulting in outdated inventory. Now, changes can be made in a matter of days.  

  • Improved quality assurance: Direct oversight of manufacturing operations facilitates stringent quality control measures, ensuring that the final products meet the company's high standards. Our client suffered from inconsistent quality from its Asia-based suppliers. The problem with quality became especially acute during COVID-19.  

Navigating the Challenges 

Despite the clear benefits, the reshoring journey is not without its hurdles: 

  • Initial Investment: The move involves substantial upfront costs, from setting up new facilities to investing in updated equipment. It also includes investments in new personnel and set-up assistance throughout the transition.  

  • Ownership Risks: A company that owns its manufacturing operations carries significantly more assets and liabilities. It cannot simply or easily leave its manufacturing operations as it could 3rd party suppliers in China. While there is more ability to control costs and operations, ownership carries of level of responsibility many companies are not used to after decades in China.

  • Learning Curve: Rebuilding manufacturing expertise and capacity poses a significant challenge, requiring investment in training and development to reacquaint the workforce with manufacturing practices. Institutional knowledge has greatly diminished.  

plant relocation

The Strategic Advantage of Reshoring for Private Equity Firms 

The reshoring wave opens a realm of strategic opportunities for portfolio companies in the mid to lower market (under $250M in revenue). The decision to bring manufacturing operations back to domestic soil aligns with broader investment goals of enhancing value, mitigating risks, and securing sustainable growth, offering a strategic coup for investors in the SME sector. 

Let's explore the pivotal benefits that reshoring brings to the manufacturing landscape for private equity firms:

  • Enhanced supply chain control and alignment with consumer preferences underscore the operational and market advantages of reshoring. 

  • Operational flexibility and innovation accelerate competitiveness, while risk mitigation and economic and fiscal incentives support financial viability. 

  • Creating sustainable value aligns investment strategies with broader social and environmental goals, enhancing goodwill and appealing to socially conscious investors and consumers. 


From Plan to Execution: MTG's Reshoring Blueprint for Success

MTG's role in facilitating this transition highlights a strategic blueprint for companies considering reshoring. Comprehensive planning, stakeholder engagement, and risk management are key elements in navigating the reshoring landscape successfully. Most companies in this market do not have the organizational expertise to manage these events, as it happens once a decade.  MTG serves as a bridge to the client’s new manufacturing future by bringing the necessary expertise to the process. The client minimizes the downtime and learning curve typically occurring during this event.  


Reshoring: Charting a New Course in Private Equity Manufacturing

The reshoring wave in private equity manufacturing is gaining momentum, driven by the desire for greater control, flexibility, and quality. The experience of the sporting goods manufacturer, supported by MTG, serves as a testament to the potential rewards of reshoring, paving the way for a new era of manufacturing excellence. 
As the manufacturing landscape continues to evolve, reshoring emerges not just as a trend but as a strategic imperative for companies looking to thrive in an increasingly dynamic and uncertain global market. 

Do you have any questions about reshoring and offshoring? Contact us to learn more about how we can help you.

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Topics: New Factory Setup, Plant Relocation, Shoring

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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