Many call-center operations have come back on-shore partly due
to cost. The cultural difference between India, the United States,
and Europe have resulted in some inter-active call-centers: getting
poor reviews, making customers turn to more reliable telephone
line call facilities, or using on-line email to clarify issues.
The largest change has come from technology and 3D printing.
The idea has been around for some time, but the use of different
material now means the construction method has expanded.
Using plastics, ceramics or certain metals, it’s now possible to
design products on a computer and then automate their production
directly from the computer software. Engine parts (which might
have needed up to five parts) assemble together after production, are
now extrude as one molded product. ‘Just-in-time manufacturing’
has taken on a new meaning, and does not necessarily have to be
done in an off-shore BRIC country. It can be done immediately in
the United States or Europe.
This will require well-trained computer programmers, high
quality production facilities, and a need to respond to changing
needs daily. Examples of this type of production include:
McDonnell Douglas re-fitting aircraft toilets with one
molded 3D printed unit.
Rolls Royce aero engines trying out a new production
platform for all their jet engines.
Hip, knee, and other human replacements using a 3D
photograph of the joint to be replaced.
Combining both 3D printing and the labor cost-quality advantages
of on-shoring (or near shoring) where some parts are still
imported are summed up by Dell. In Whitsett, N.C., a new facility
is making computers; the first new computer production facility
to come on-shore for almost 30 years. Traditionally, the software
was invented and made in the United States or Europe, while the
hardware was made in Southeast Asia. Not anymore; the business
dynamics have changed.