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Made in America: How to Bring Jobs Home With Lean

Companies moving their manufacturing to plants overseas has been a controversial topic for many years. While businesses can argue that it is cheaper and easier to build products in other countries and then transport the finished item back to the United States for sale, those manufacturing jobs are desperately needed here in America.

Luckily, lean automation has allowed many companies to move their manufacturing back home. Through a streamlined process that cuts extra costs and focuses on what is truly necessary, lean automation can save companies money while keeping jobs in the United States.

But what does lean automation really mean and how is it beneficial for companies?

An Inside Look at the Lean Automation Process

Through a three-step process, companies can accomplish lean automation to save money and move their manufacturing back to the United States. That three-step process includes eliminating waste, reviewing processes to find areas to implement new forms of technology and automation.

To begin the lean automation process, companies must first look at ways they can eliminate waste, which can include many different things from all stages of the business process from manufacturing to distribution. Whether it is wasted product, wasted time, or wasted money, a company must first cut out the extra weight to begin lean automation.

By cutting the manufacturing and distribution processes down as much as possible, companies can develop a more streamlined system for creating their products. To further promote the idea of working as efficiently as possible, businesses interested in lean automation should then move to the second phase — implementing new forms of technology.

During the second phase of the lean automation process, companies will want to compare their current processes with new forms of technology or systems that may encourage more efficient planning, production or distribution. In addition to considering what is already on the market, lean automation encourages businesses to look at developing forms of technology and how they might be applied to future designs or products.

After companies have done their research and created new, more efficient plans, they are ready to move on to the final process. The third and last step of lean automation is the implementation phase. During the automation phase, companies should continuously look and see what can be done differently and if even more efficient changes are available.

In the end, companies can have the same high-quality products their customers love without the added costs that come with off-shoring. The only difference is that now their products are American made.

What Is the Benefit of Lean Automation?

Most companies choose to off-shore their product manufacturing because of the cost. In other countries, companies can afford to hire workers at a much lower rate than they would in the United States. While this may mean they’re saving money on wages, they tend to ignore the added cost of transporting finished products, taxes and other hidden costs.

Lean automation gives companies the ability to keep their manufacturing processes within the United States without increasing the amount of money they are spending overall. Through keeping processes as simple as possible, extra costs are kept to a minimum.

With lower production costs, companies can choose to lower their sales price to drive up purchases, or they can opt to sell at the same price to receive higher profits. Higher profits can lead to better paid employees, employees with higher job satisfaction and workers with more developed skills.

All these benefits are only a few reasons why major companies like Nissan and Stanley Black & Decker are choosing to move their manufacturing back to the United States. As lean automation processes become more understood and applied, we can see an increase in company reshoring and American made products.


Megan Ray Nichols 
STEM Writer & Blogger


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