Traditional offshore manufacturing, once a popular choice for cost reduction, is gradually being replaced by nearshoring, which leverages manufacturing facilities in neighboring countries or regions while empowering electronics manufacturers to increase innovation and improve results. Nearshoring success relies on three primary factors:
Collaboration and communication can be improved for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) with the addition of a nearshore manufacturing partner. With reduced time zone differences, fewer language barriers and geographic proximity, real-time communication is greatly simplified. Closer locations also enable more frequent face-to-face meetings and onsite visits, which foster stronger relationships and a better understanding of electronics manufacturing requirements. Direct and open lines of communication throughout the manufacturing process significantly enhance efficiency, minimize errors and ensure seamless project execution.
Proximity and Flexibility
The electronics industry thrives on speed, requiring rapid prototyping, design iterations and quick time-to-market. As such, agility, and, by extension, agile development, is a key driver of responsiveness and an optimized supply chain. Nearshoring enables companies to adapt to changes swiftly by reducing lead times and transportation costs.
Reduced shipping times allow manufacturers to respond promptly to market demands, make adjustments to production schedules and address any issues that may arise. This increased agility allows for frequent and seamless integration of design changes and updates, resulting in improved product quality and customer satisfaction. Strong communications are needed for the best possible process.
A company’s resilience and observation are also improved by proximity. For example, Mexico-based manufacturers can often deliver finished products to the U.S. within two days of manufacture, reducing delivery time by weeks or longer compared to overseas manufacturers, who are more susceptible to supply chain problems. Quicker receipt of product improves turnaround times across the process and cuts down on time when products need to be shipped back to the manufacturer for repair or replacement.
Nearshoring goes hand in hand with ongoing digital transformation in the manufacturing sector. Nearshored facilities can better meet the needs of the industry’s 4.0 principles, as they are often better equipped with advanced technologies such as automation, artificial intelligence, and data analytics. These digital advancements streamline the manufacturing process, enhance efficiency and reduce costs. Companies gain access to cutting-edge technology and expertise, enabling them to leverage the full potential of digital tools to optimize production, improve quality control, and increase overall productivity.
Nearshoring can improve the security and reliability of the production supply chain. By reducing the distance between the OEM and the manufacturing partner, nearshoring minimizes the risk of disruptions caused by unforeseen events, such as natural disasters, political instability or transportation issues, thus improving resilience.The ability to quickly address supply chain challenges ensures continuity in production and safeguards against potential disruptions, ultimately reducing costs associated with downtime and loss of revenue.
Skilled, Affordable Workforce
Nearshore manufacturing locations like Mexico have a skilled and specialized workforce that is proficient in electronics manufacturing. These regions typically have a strong educational infrastructure and technical training programs that produce highly competent professionals. By leveraging this skilled workforce, companies can access expertise in areas such as PCB assembly, surface-mount technology, testing, and quality control.
The availability of a knowledgeable talent pool helps maintain high production standards and ensures that companies can stay at the forefront of technological advancements. Additionally, Mexico’s labor rates are now 20 percent lower than those in China, and this gap is expected to widen further since Mexico’s labor pool is growing whereas China’s is shrinking.
To optimize your nearshoring relationship, remember to: