For decades, US companies sought to reduce business expenses by offshoring their manufacturing facilities to countries with lower production and labor costs. Globalization accelerated in the 1990s, creating a complex embedded system of supply networks spread across multiple countries. However, recent events such as the COVID-19 pandemic and associated labor shortages have revealed the vulnerabilities of these networks, prompting manufacturers to rethink their manufacturing and supply chain strategies.
To better prepare for potential crises, many manufacturers plan to reshore their physical locations, especially in light of increased expenses overseas. Cheaper labor costs can be offset by higher expenses for international shipping, trade tariffs, and raw materials — which can drive unwelcome price increases in finished goods. For example, in January 2021 the Economist reported that when faced with unexpected supply bottlenecks that pushed up costs, 25% of surveyed companies had to raise their prices.
Hardinge is Investing in “Made in the USA”
These experiences have prompted manufacturers, including Hardinge, to return some production resources back to the US to build resiliency and consistency into their supply chains. As a result, customers are rediscovering the advantages of choosing US-made products versus those from overseas suppliers – especially for the long run.
In early 2021, Hardinge moved the manufacture of our Bridgeport® Vertical Machining Centers and Hardinge® CNC Lathes from Taiwan to Elmira, NY. This move allowed us to consolidate product development, supply chain, and assembly operations for Hardinge’s Americas and Europe turning and milling business to a single U.S.-based location. We also invested heavily in modernizing the Elmira facility with new assembly capabilities and state-of-the-art heat-treat equipment. The facility is now one of the world’s most advanced manufacturing plants for precision tools, capable of producing the highest quality precision tooling in the industry.
“We’ve been a proud partner of American manufacturing since the 1890s and are excited to have our Talent Series lathes produced under the same roof as our industry-leading SUPER-PRECISION® turning centers at Hardinge’s Elmira, NY location,” said Jeremy Michael, Hardinge’s Director of Turning & Milling. “It is through domestic production that Hardinge can provide the quality, flexibility, and responsiveness required by our customers to help them succeed in today’s competitive manufacturing world.”
We expect the expansion of our US manufacturing capacity to benefit Hardinge US customers in the following ways.
- High-Quality Products – All materials used in a U.S. facility must adhere to strict safety and quality standards, making “Made in the USA” label synonymous for excellent products. With production facilities located nearby, US manufacturers can tightly control production processes and schedules, quickly resolve problems, and achieve high product quality that meets clients’ specifications. Our US operations will allow Hardinge to work closely with our clients to turn out advanced machining solutions suited to their specific industry and applications.
- Shorter Lead Times – It’s a complex, risky process to ship products from overseas locations, so companies who manufacture abroad often face product shortages and/or excessive lead times. US-made goods have much simpler distribution processes and can be delivered more quickly to customers. By avoiding overseas shipping, there’s less chance of product damage, loss, and delays. Hardinge’s US facilities will provide our customers with shorter lead times for tailor-made, high-quality milling and turning products assembled in the USA.
- Improved Customer Support – U.S. manufacturers often find easier to collaborate with local customers on tailored solutions for specific applications. Our U.S. location enables Hardinge to put our Customer First philosophy in action and work closely with American companies on innovative, high-precision milling and turning products that meet the stringent machining demands of industries such as aerospace, defense, medical and technology.
- Better Inventory Control – Thanks to the “Amazon effect”, customers are accustomed to fast order turnaround and immediate product availability. In response, companies with international suppliers often maintain large inventories to avoid running out of products, which can drive up costs for storage space and labor. Domestic manufacturers, on the other hand, can better control product availability so that it meets forecasted demand. Distributing Hardinge product lines through well-established US partners will ensure customers can quickly receive our innovative, high-quality milling and turning products.
Hardinge –A Committed Partner of US Manufacturing
Hardinge, Inc. is the trusted global provider of high precision, computer-controlled machine tool solutions for critical, hard-to-machine metal parts and advanced workholding accessories. Headquartered in Berwyn, PA, we already see the benefits of relocating some manufacturing operations to our Elmira plant. “We are very excited to make this move, as it brings the products closer to the customers we serve and leverages the many years of experience we have in Elmira,” said Chuck Dougherty, President & CEO, Hardinge. “It also enables us to bring capabilities back to the U.S., which we are extremely proud to do, particularly during such an uncertain time in the global market.” To learn more, visit us at www.hardinge.com.