Is the Rush to Outource in China Finally Slowing?


GM Nameplate, a large, Seattle-based manufacturer, had plans to move more of its manufacturing to China, but decided to keep its existing manufacturing base in the United States after facing challenges at its Chinese plant.

The Chinese plant, based in Dong Guan, will continue to manufacture nameplates for customers operating in China such as Flextronics. But U.S. customers, most of whom are in the aerospace or medical sectors, will be supplied from GM's U.S. manufacturing plant, said Bradley Root, President of GM Nameplate's Washington division.

"In the U.S. we have a strong quality control system. To make that philosophy stick, we need good line supervisors to enforce the program. But manufacturing supervisors are hard to get and retain in China," Root said.

Root said GM also chose to keep manufaturing in the U.S. because its U.S. customers value components manufactured in the U.S.He said local manufacturing results in better quality, greater timeliness and improved communications.

"We usually prototype a product in the U.S. When we transfer it, we often find the facility in China can't do it well," says Root. "If you are there it's easy to solve problems, but it's hard to deal with these things over the phone, especially if it is someone's second language."

Root says GM is experiencing strong growth. As part of its plans to accommodate that growth and to consolidate its various facilities, GM is looking for new, larger facilities perhaps in the Kent Valley.


The 2016 Washington Manufacturing Awards: Legacy Award

The 2016 Washington Manufacturing Awards: Legacy Award

Winner: Belshaw Adamatic Bakery Group
Legacy Award
Belshaw Adamatic Bakery Group
Auburn ›
When it’s time to make doughnuts — or loaves of bread, or sheets of rolls — it could well be a Belshaw Adamatic piece of equipment that’s turning out the baked goods. From a 120,000-square-foot plant in Auburn, Belshaw Adamatic produces the ovens, fryers, conveyors and specialty equipment like jelly injectors used by wholesale and retail bakeries.
The firm’s two legacy companies — Belshaw started in 1923, Adamatic in 1962 — combined forces in 2007. Italy’s Ali Group North America is the parent.
It it takes work to maintain a legacy. A months-long strike in 2013 damaged morale and forced a leadership change. Frank Chandler was named president and CEO of Belshaw Adamatic in September 2013. The company has since strived to mend workplace relationships while also introducing a stream of new products, such as a convection oven, the BX Eco-touch, with energy saving features and steam injection that can be programmed for precise times in baking. The company energetically describes it as “an oven that saves time, reduces errors, makes an awesome product, and is fun to use and depend on every day!”
So far, more than 3,000 have been installed in quick-service restaurants, bakeries, cafés and supermarkets in the United States. They are the legacy of Thomas and Walter Belshaw, former builders of marine engines, who began producing patented manual and automated doughnut-making machines in Seattle 90 years ago. They sold thousands worldwide and, today, Belshaw Adamatic is the nation’s largest maker and distributor of doughnut-making equipment.