Is Engineering the Answer to Offshoring?

At the International Forum on Design for Manufacture and Assembly, one speaker argued that better designs could mean less labor in assembling products.


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Speaking earlier this year at the International Forum on Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DFMA) in Rhode Island, product consultant and MIT lecturer Dave Meeker argued that a significant amount of the labor content of many products consists of assembly tasks that could be eliminated. 
He said, “Redesigns using DFMA show that assembly labor can be reduced an average of 45 percent.” For many products, removing this much labor content would dramatically alter the economics of sending production overseas. 
“The evidence suggests we can start to engineer our way out of the offshoring problem,” he said.

Mr. Meeker’s recent paper examines current trends in outsourcing, noting changes and developments in recent years. Also see this column, which looks at the machine shop’s role as design consultant.