This month's cover story in The Atlantic magazine, "Why the Future of Industry is in America," focuses on insourcing, as advanced manufacturing returns from Asia.
This perceived boom, according to the article, is symbolized by an $800 million investment that General Electric is making in bringing manufacturing back to Appliance Park in Louisville, Kentucky.
GE hasn't made a water heater in the U.S. in decades, but it is now producing the "GeoSpring" model in Louisville. Several factors have led the company to bring manufacturing back to the U.S. Among them are the high cost of fuel to transport goods from countries such as China, the natural gas boom in the U.S. that has lowered the cost of energy, and increasing labor costs in places such as China.
Here is an excerpt from the article:
To view The Atlantic magazine cover story on GE's insourcing strategy, click here.
This year, something curious and hopeful has begun to happen, something that cannot be explained merely by the ebbing of the Great Recession, and with it the cyclical return of recently laid-off workers. On February 10, Appliance Park opened an all-new assembly line in Building 2 — largely dormant for 14 years — to make cutting-edge, low-energy water heaters. It was the first new assembly line at Appliance Park in 55 years — and the water heaters it began making had previously been made for GE in a Chinese contract factory.
On March 20, just 39 days later, Appliance Park opened a second new assembly line, this one in Building 5, to make new high-tech French-door refrigerators. The top-end model can sense the size of the container you place beneath its purified-water spigot, and shuts the spigot off automatically when the container is full. These refrigerators are the latest versions of a style that for years has been made in Mexico.
Another assembly line is under construction in Building 3, to make a new stainless-steel dishwasher starting in early 2013.