But the sheer number of jobs isn't necessarily the best measure of success. More important, as Willy Shih, a Harvard Business School professor of management explains, is constant innovation, quality control and having engineers, production
lines and suppliers in close proximity. The rush to low-cost China interrupted a lot of the progress U.S. companies had made -- and created new costs.
Inventing products is only a part of the value proposition. Taking an idea from the laboratory to the production line is equally important. The manufacturing process can give vital information to engineers, who in turn can use it to improve designs or manufacturing methods. All of this ultimately leads to greater efficiencies, fatter profits, faster economic growth -- and yes, better-paying jobs.
Insourcing can help speed this process along. Washington could reinforce the trend with a mix of pro-manufacturing policies, starting with taxes. By lowering the corporate income-tax rate from the current 35 percent -- one of the highest in the world -- Congress could stem the flow of jobs overseas. Lawmakers should also make permanent the research-and-development tax credit and liberalize trade with Europe and Asia.
Eoin Treacy's view As global competition in manufacturing
and innovation intensify, every opportunity is being explored to enhance companies'
unique advantages. More and more, the knowledge that can be gleaned from an
intimate understanding of the manufacturing process is being looked into for
productivity gains and as sources of future innovation. The high cost of energy
and how this has contributed to transportation expenses are additional considerations
that have become more relevant over the last decade.
As the value proposition for domestic US manufacturing becomes more compelling, companies engaged in insourcing are utilising the most advanced manufacturing processes in order to ensure they have visibility on future production costs. This is fuelling significant demand growth in automated manufacturing.
Japanese listed Fanuc has returned to test the region of its 200-day MA near ¥14,000. While this represents a potential area of support, a clear upward dynamic will be required to confirm a return to demand dominance. THK Corp and Omron Corp are still unwinding their respective overextensions following impressive rallies earlier this year.
US listed Cadence Design Systems has been trending steadily higher since 2009. During this time every overextension relative to the MA has been followed by a reversionary move which have tended to overshoot somewhat. Potential for mean reversion has therefore increased following the recent powerful rally.
Mentor Graphics has rallied impressively to retest the psychological $20 area which has offered resistance on a number of occasions over the last decade. A sustained move above that level will be required to confirm medium-term demand dominance.
Dover Corp has a growing industrial automation unit and rallied impressively from the April lows to test the $80 region where it has at least paused. Potential for some consolidation of recent gains remains more likely than not.
Rockwell Automation has been ranging mostly below $90 for much of the year and found support this week in the region of the 200-day MA, a sustained move below $80 would be required to question medium-term scope for continued higher to lateral ranging.
Brooks Automation steadied this week near $10 and a sustained move below $9 would be required to question medium-term potential for higher to lateral ranging.
Aspen Technology has lost momentum following what had previously been quite a consistent advance. It will need to hold above the April low near $26.50 during this consolidation if the medium-term upside is to continue to be given the benefit of the doubt.
In Europe, Swiss listed ABB has been ranging for the last few months and found support this week in the region of the 200-day MA. A sustained move below CHF20 would be required to question medium-term potential for continued higher to lateral ranging.
German listed Krones AG encountered resistance at the 2011 peak near €60 from April and continues to consolidate its earlier impressive rally. However, a sustained move below the €50 would be required to question medium-term upside potential. Kuka AG has lost momentum following an impressive advance over the last year and will need to hold above €30 if the medium-term uptrend is to continue to be given the benefit of the doubt.
Finnish listed Metso OYJ has returned to test the 18-month progression of higher major reaction lows. A clear upward dynamic is now needed to indicate a return to demand dominance in this area.