Reshoring is Rewarding: 2020 Winners Announced

The National Metalworking Reshoring Award is given to two outstanding U.S. companies that brought manufacturing back to America, overcoming obstacles of high wages and complex processes to effectively compete in the global contest for business.

Die-Tech & Engineering (Wyoming, MI) and Trenton Forging (Trenton, MI) are the 2020 winners of the third annual National Metalworking Reshoring Award. Harry Moser, founder and president of the Reshoring Initiative, made the announcement Sept. 15 on the IMTS Network.

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Sponsored by AMT, the National Tooling and Machining Association, the Precision Metalforming Association, and the Reshoring Initiative, the award recognizes the top cases of reshoring in the production of products, parts or tooling made primarily by metal forming, fabricating or machining, including additive manufacturing.

A key factor in the selection of Die-Tech & Engineering, which makes molds and dies, said Moser, was the fact that its sector faces particular competitive challenges in the U.S.––where wage rates are higher­­––due the complexity and labor-intensive nature of its processes.

“It’s very important to show that this category can be reshored,” he added. The company was also recognized for its five-day turnaround of a critical component during the height of the Covid pandemic.

“One of our focuses is to be cost competitive and [provide] quick lead times to help bring products back on shore,” said Die-Tech Owner Bill Perry. “Some of the products we’ve worked on in the last year are office furniture products, some consumer products, but most interesting perhaps, was a very short lead time effort to tool up for ventilators that couldn’t have been done logistically in a time frame that was needed.”

Trenton Forging stood out as a deserving recipient of the award for two key factors, as well, (1.) supplying components previously imported from Japan by a Japanese machining company doing business in the U.S., and (2.) demonstrating substantial investment in automation and processing, as well as quality innovation, said Moser, which are essential in a high-wage country like the U.S.

Trenton Forging is shipping approximately 3,000 sets of forged fuel rails to its customer each day as part of a seven-year project.

“The factors that came into play the most were things like duty, freight, inventory carrying cost, lead and delivery times,” said Trenton Forging Director of Manufacturing Chelsea Moxlow Lantto. “And what those translate into … is being reliable and dependable and being able to communicate with our customer on a daily basis.” She added that Trenton is not only in same time zone but within an eight hour drive, facilitating face-to-face meetings when needed.

“We’re able to respond really effectively,” she said. “In addition to that, we had to prove to our customer that we have equipment redundancy, so if anything were to break down, we have a backup waiting in the wings ready to go so there’s no delay in shipping. When our customer was looking to bring this product back to North America, those factors were really the ones that stood out in making sure that we were competitive.”

Moser said, “To me, that’s wonderful and shows what more U.S. companies should do.”

Trenton Forging emphasized total cost of ownership in its bid to replace their overseas competitor––and Moser encourages all companies to make use of the Reshoring Initiative’s free, online Total Cost of Ownership Estimator as a means to duplicate Trenton’s success.

The IMTS e-newsletter will announce details for entering the 2021 contest. Click here to subscribe. “You’re going to having months to reshore and apply,” said Moser.