Resurgence of US textile manufacturing – an automation driven solution

An article in the New York Times on September 19, 2013 (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/20/business/us-textile-factories-return.html?_r=0) describes a textile plant, Parkdale Mills, that makes 2.5 millions pounds of yarn using 140 workers now, compared to 2000 workers in 1980. The new plant uses automation, air cleaning, robots – all capital equipment that help increase productivity and thus make the US wages acceptable to textile buyers. As a result, sweatshirt manufacturers like American Giant can buy the fabric from Parkdale Mills in the US, leverage lower lead times, and greater collaboration. Is this the future of US manufacturing, with automated blended with flexibility as the road (with power costs a large component of total costs) to be competitive ? The article suggests that Parkdale can now offer lower risks to OEMs, who now do not have to worry about issues such as the plant catastrophes in Pakistan and Bangladesh – will the cost of this risk alleviation justify the higher manufacturing cost in US plants ?

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About aviyer2010

Professor
This entry was posted in Global Contexts, Operations Management, Supply Chain Issues and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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