Reshoring Boosts Demand for Cut & Sew Contract Manufacturing


This Thomas Index Report is sponsored by Jonco Industries, the leader in high-precision, quality controlled printing, cutting, sewing, and assembly since 1980.

Hello again. This week we’re going to take a look at sourcing activity for Cut & Sew Contract Manufacturing by users of the platform. Our data shows that over the past 12 weeks, sourcing activity for this category is up 28% over its historical average.

Our firmographic buyer data shows that retail apparel is the primary driving force of this sourcing trend on our platform.

Cut & Sew Contract Manufacturers are widely used in the apparel industry, which for decades has sent an overwhelming share of that manufacturing work overseas. In today’s hyper-competitive apparel landscape – which has Amazon entering the game – some US apparel brands are returning to American manufacturers for the improved lead times, better quality control, and more flexible production they can provide.

In fact, according to the Reshoring Initiative, the apparel industry ranks sixth in reshoring their manufacturing from overseas suppliers since 2010. In addition to shorter turnaround times, higher quality, and greater flexibility, new capabilities in factory automation technologies are also driving US apparel brands to add domestic resources to their supply chains.

In an interesting twist on offshoring and reshoring, this year a China-based T-shirt manufacturer is opening a twenty-million-dollar factory in Little Rock, Arkansas, outfitted with 330 robots, or “Sewbots,” from the American company Softwear Automation Inc. With labor costs in China rising, industry insiders appear to expect the reshoring trend to continue; in a 2017 survey by McKinsey and Company, more than one-third of chief purchasing officers in the apparel industry claimed that they expected their companies to increase reshoring in the coming years.

In addition to Cut & Sew Contract Manufacturing, our data also shows that sourcing activity is up 9% or more, month over month, in the related categories of Industrial Sewing Contractors, Leather Sewing Contractors, and Military Sewing Contractors.

Moving on from Sewing, here’s a look at the top ten industrial product and service categories being sourced on the platform over the past four weeks.

  1. Steel
  2. CNC Machining
  3. Printed Circuit Boards (PCB)
  4. Lumber
  5. Injection Molded Plastics
  6. Metal Stampings
  7. Food Products
  8. Aluminum
  9. Metal Fabrication
  10. Plastic Bottles

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Thanks for watching, and I’ll see you next week.

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