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Tips to Examine Quality Control in Reshoring: Lessons for Manufacturers and Factories

November 22, 2023

 by David Collins III

a group of four people in hard hats looking into a factory

With its many benefits, reshoring is among the most talked about topics in the global economy, amongst other shoring methodologies. Benefits like enhanced supply chain control and alignment with consumer preferences also bring tertiary advantages too, like attracting the attention of potential private equity investments in your factory. COVID and its aftermath have changed supply chains, and any company that has engaged in manufacturing has at least considered reshoring or moving its operations. Reshoring refers to bringing production operations back to one's home country or a nearby region after having previously offshored them. We have talked about reshoring to Vietnam, Taiwan, and Mexico.

As manufacturers and factories consider this strategic shift, quality control is one critical aspect they must evaluate. In this blog, we'll explore 9 valuable tips to examine quality control in reshoring, offering essential lessons for manufacturers and factories. 

1. Evaluate Your Quality Standards

Before embarking on the journey of reshoring, evaluating and understanding your quality standards is crucial. To do so, ask the following question:

What are the specific quality benchmarks and expectations for your products? 

This question applies to many facets of manufacturing, including precision engineering, cosmetic appeal, durability and quality management systems. This clear understanding of your quality criteria sets the foundation for effective quality control measures. If you do not have specific benchmarks, now is the time to set them, as it will give you a clear direction during the journey of reshoring.  

Key Lesson: Quality control starts with a well-defined quality standard.  


2. Select the Right Suppliers and Partners

When reshoring, it's essential to choose the right suppliers and partners. Consider factors such as their track record and performance, quality control processes, and their proximity to your manufacturing facility. Local suppliers often offer better quality control due to their familiarity with local standards and practices, and it is easier to hold them accountable and make changes as you progress through the reshoring journey.

Key Lesson: Collaborate with reputable and local suppliers to enhance quality control.


3. Implement Robust Quality Control Procedures

Develop and implement robust quality control procedures tailored to your specific product and industry. Start by establishing clear, measurable quality standards and metrics for each product or process, ensuring these benchmarks are practical and relevant. Incorporate supplier quality management to align external sources with your standards, including regular supplier evaluations and audits.

Ensure regular quality checks, inspections, and testing are integral to your production process. Train your staff in quality control methodologies, with every operator skilled in inspecting the quality of incoming products. Remember, quality control is not a one-time effort but requires a systematic approach and continuous improvement.

Key Lesson: Effective quality control blends precise standards with dynamic supplier collaboration for sustainable excellence.


4. Embrace Technology and Automation

Embrace automation as a key driver in your reshoring strategy. Automated systems streamline manufacturing processes, reducing labor costs and increasing efficiency, which is crucial for competing with overseas production. Automation can also improve consistency and reliability in production, leading to higher-quality products. Companies that leverage advanced technologies like AI and robotics can respond more quickly to market changes and customer demands, enhancing their competitive edge. This adaptability is vital in a reshoring context, where agility and responsiveness to domestic market needs are paramount.

Key Lesson: In reshoring, automation is not just about efficiency; it's a strategic tool for adaptability, quality, and competitiveness.


5. Audit Your Supply Chain

Conducting thorough audits of your supply chain is crucial in the reshoring process. This includes evaluating not just your own manufacturing facilities but also your suppliers' locations. Such audits help identify potential bottlenecks, inefficiencies, or quality issues hindering the reshoring process. Understanding and improving these areas can ensure a smoother production transition back to domestic soil. This proactive approach helps build a more reliable and resilient supply chain, which is essential for meeting the quality and delivery expectations of the domestic market. Collaborating with suppliers for mutual quality improvement fosters a strong, cooperative supply chain network, vital for successful reshoring.

Key Lesson: Effective reshoring relies on a transparent and efficient supply chain, with quality control as a shared responsibility across all nodes.


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6. Involve Employees in Quality Control

Empower your employees to play an active role in quality control as part of your reshoring strategy. Encouraging a culture of accountability and ownership in quality at every level ensures that high standards are maintained throughout the transition back to domestic production. Teams should be streamlined on quality control expectations which can be done through cross-functional workshops and training. A team committed to quality can significantly enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the reshoring initiative.

Key Lesson: In reshoring, employee-driven quality control ensures a smooth and successful transition.


7. Respond to Feedback and Continuous Improvement

In reshoring, actively responding to customer feedback and embracing continuous improvement is crucial. This approach allows your business to quickly adapt to the specific needs and preferences of the domestic market. You can fine-tune your production processes, product quality, and service delivery by responding to feedback to better align with customer expectations. This adaptability enhances customer satisfaction and positions your business competitively in the local market, making reshoring a more viable and successful strategy.

Key Lesson: Continuous improvement driven by customer feedback is a cornerstone of successful reshoring, ensuring market relevance and customer satisfaction.


8. Maintain Regulatory Compliance in Reshoring

For successful reshoring, staying updated with industry regulations and standards is essential. Compliance with these regulations ensures that your products meet the necessary safety and quality certifications required in the domestic market. This adherence avoids legal and financial penalties, builds trust with customers, and enhances your brand reputation. Understanding and meeting local regulatory requirements can also streamline the transition of your manufacturing processes back home, ensuring a smooth and efficient reshoring journey.

Key Lesson: In reshoring, regulatory compliance is key to ensuring product integrity and building customer trust in the domestic market.


9. Balancing Cost and Efficiency in Reshoring

In the reshoring process, closely monitoring costs and operational efficiency is vital. Ensuring that quality control measures are cost-effective is key to maintaining competitiveness in the domestic market. Reshoring often involves initial investments and adjustments; however, by focusing on efficient processes and cost management, these changes can lead to long-term savings and higher-quality output. 

Key Lesson: Cost management and quality control are essential for sustainable efficiency and competitiveness in reshoring.


Mastering Quality Control in Reshoring: A Strategic Journey for Manufacturers

Reshoring can be a strategic move for manufacturers and factories seeking to strengthen their quality control efforts. By examining quality standards, selecting the right partners, implementing robust procedures, embracing technology, involving employees, and staying committed to continuous improvement, you can establish a solid foundation for maintaining high-quality products. Quality control is not a one-time effort; it's a journey that requires dedication, vigilance, and adaptability to meet evolving customer expectations and industry standards. The journey never ends.

Want to learn more about quality control in reshoring? Contact us to learn more about how we can help you.

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Topics: 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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