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manufacturing industry in Latin America

Why Top US Brands are Turning to the Manufacturing Industry in Latin America

Earlier, many top manufacturing companies in the US heavily relied on Chinese manufacturers due to the availability of low-cost labor. However, with the rapid economic growth in China and a larger section of the Chinese population moving to middle-class and demanding higher wages, several global brands are turning away from China in search of lower-cost alternatives from emerging markets. The manufacturing industry in Latin America is one such market that has become highly lucrative for companies in the US. Everything from medical supplies, to pharmaceuticals, to apparel, aircraft and computer machinery is now manufactured in Latin America, and the political and economic policy adjustments have significantly contributed to the manufacturing industry growth in Latin America.

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Benefits of manufacturing in Latin America

manufacturing industry in Latin AmericaProximity

One of the key benefits of manufacturing industry in Latin America is its proximity to the US. When American brands do business with suppliers in overseas regions like Asia, it requires officials from the company to travel to the foreign nation. This is primarily because they may want to gain a firsthand view of where and how their products are manufactured.  One of the key benefits of manufacturing in Latin America for companies in the US is their proximity to Central America. Another challenge that proximity helps solve is the disconnect from the manufacturing process.

Lower turnaround time

By relying on the manufacturing industry in Latin America, companies in the US can ensure faster shipping of the final products than that from overseas. Often, businesses that have their manufacturing units in Asian countries like China re-stock only once a quarter it takes at least a month for an order to ship overseas. This lack of flexibility in ordering can lead to over- or under-stocking of products. Shipping from the manufacturing industry in Latin America gives a lot more flexibility to companies in the US when it comes to placing orders.

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Vast labor pool

One of the biggest advantages of turning to the manufacturing industry in Latin America is the high labor pool available. With China’s economy on the upswing, the labor costs of manufacturing industry in Latin America would prove to be much cheaper for brands in the United States. Moreover, in changing economies, Like China, where a greater number of people are rapidly entering the middle class, the manufacturing industry is booming due to the rise in demand by the local population. This means that manufacturers are utilizing their own resources to meet local demands. In some places, it is required for them to do so. This could lead to longer turnaround times and higher cost of labor overseas, making the manufacturing industry in Latin America highly attractive for American companies.

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contract manufacturing

Why are Top manufacturers moving to Contract Manufacturing?

What is contract manufacturing?

Contract manufacturing is often used interchangeably with the term ‘outsourcing.’ outsourcing is the technique of transferring portions of work to outside sources and suppliers, instead of undertaking the entire work within the company, resulting in lower costs and expenses. Contract manufacturing is a form of outsourcing where a manufacturer enters into a formal agreement with another manufacturer (contract manufacturing organization) to produce parts, products, or components, which the former will then use in its own manufacturing process, to complete its own product. They then undertake their own marketing, sales and distribution, and customer service to bring the final product to the end-users or consumers. In some cases, contract manufacturers may also be specialized organizations that provide contract manufacturing services to more than one business. 

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Different types of contract manufacturing

The different forms of contract manufacturing vary based on nature and operations involved in a business. Some of the most common forms of contract manufacturing agreement includes:

Production of the entire product

As the name clearly suggests, this involves contract manufacturing organizations building the entire product for a company under the brand name or label of the latter. This type of contract manufacturing is also called as ‘private label manufacturing’.

Production of parts or components

In this type of contract manufacturing, companies depend on a contract manufacturing organization to produce parts or components that will be incorporated into the final product of the company. For instance, a computer hardware manufacturer can use contract manufacturing for producing smaller computer parts and components, which is then assembled into their final product.

Hiring service or labor force

This involves subcontract for labor. If a business does not possess enough manpower in their company to carry out production processes smoothly and quickly, then they can outsource labor. Take the example of big multinational companies in the US who set up their manufacturing unit in Asian countries and subcontract their labor forces to Asian human resource companies. The key reasons why companies adopt this form of manufacturing is the specialized skills that these labor forces have and the comparatively cheaper cost of labor when compared to their home countries.

Using manufacturing equipment or facility

Companies that do not have the facility or the equipment to manufacture can transact with a contract manufacturer for the use of their facility. This saves the company capital investment needed to set up a manufacturing unit.

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Why do top manufacturers favor contract manufacturing?

The decision to make or buy a product/ parts of a product can often prove to be a tough decision for companies. They often undertake feasibility studies for the management to gain a better understanding of what would be more beneficial for them. One of the key benefits that companies can derive from contract manufacturing is the reduction in cost and expenditure. But this is not the only reason companies opt to get into agreements with contract manufacturing organizations. Some of the other reasons include:

  • Improved allocation of resources
  • Greater focus on core business functions
  • Increased innovation and enhanced product quality
  • Reduction in manufacturing time
  • Streamlined business relationships

 

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IR6

Competitive Intelligence on Contract Manufacturing for Industrial Equipment

Business Challenge
A UK-based leading contract manufacturing service provider for industrial equipment wanted to benchmark its services against its competitors in Asia.
Situation
The client wanted to identify its top competitors in Asia and benchmark its service portfolio, manufacturing capability, headcount, and regulatory compliance against them.
Approach
We followed a two-phased approach to gain the desired insights for this engagement – phase 1 for identification and shortlisting of potential competitors in each target market and phase 2 for a deep-dive assessment of the top three shortlisted competitors in each market.
Impact
The client was able to gain an in-depth understanding of its key competitors in each target market including insights on their manufacturing and operations capabilities, product portfolios, shareholding structures, and supply and service capabilities.
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