The virtues of local sourcing are very appealing to manufacturers that care about their communities, have sustainability concerns and want to support the “little guy.” In the manufacturing sector, however, local sourcing isn’t always as easy as walking up to a vendor and asking for a handful of mechanical components. That may be one of the reasons some original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) maintain supply chains from around the world. And, yes, cheap offshore goods play a factor, too.
However, the recent resurgence of manufacturing in the United States is making many OEMs take a second look at local sourcing. Climbing prices and disappointing quality from offshore suppliers are contributing to the shift, but adding to the trend is a shift in attitudes; it’s estimated that 72% of industrial B2B buyers prefer to source locally.
This is great news for regional suppliers that may have struggled in the past to attract the attention of OEMs. If you’re a marketer for a supplier using inbound marketing and content to attract sales-qualified leads, be sure to share the following benefits of local sourcing in your blogs, emails, advanced content and throughout your website to convince prospects of the value of working with you.
Improved Public Relations
When a manufacturer chooses to move jobs back to a local community, it’s a major benefit for all those living in the area and is a boost to the economy. Depending on the size of the company and the market, it’s not unusual to make the nightly news or grab the front page headlines. Investing in the community is always a win. When there are jobs tied to that investment, the benefits are far reaching, and people will talk about it and generally shed a positive light.
Improved Speed to Market
In the manufacturing world, time is money. It usually takes a minimum of two weeks to ship parts from foreign countries, and that’s assuming there are no delays in ports or customs (on either end). Additionally, language barriers can sometimes be an issue and lead to misunderstandings about expectations and further delay delivery. As a local supplier, you’re strategically positioned — both geographically and operationally — to help OEMs launch products faster, increase their speed to market and maintain a competitive edge.
With local sourcing, buyers can easily “stop in” for a site visit at a supplier to monitor quality assurance programs and evaluate a production facility first hand. This type of oversight gives manufacturers confidence and peace of mind, and can help keep suppliers top-of-mind.
Maintaining Ethical Integrity
The cost of labor in many foreign countries is cheap, but those savings come at a different kind of cost. Poor labor practices, organized crime and corruption plague some nations and, despite working excessive hours, many workers in those countries continue to live in poverty. Manufacturers should consider how these ethical dilemmas align with their culture, mission and brand.
Accurate Budget Forecasting
The added costs of outsourcing across the border are often much greater than anticipated. Managing the myriad of administration, regulation and legal considerations such as currency exchange rates, tax implications, shipping and fuel surcharges, lawyer fees, travel expenses and more can fluctuate greatly. Uncertainty with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) only adds to the possibilities of added expenses in the future, and manufacturers should consider establishing relationships with local suppliers in anticipation of changes moving forward. It’s these types of hidden and unknown potential costs that can quickly erode profitability.
A True Partnership
Most local suppliers have a pulse on the manufacturing market in their region and can better anticipate customers’ needs. Position yourself as more than an order taker; make sure you demonstrate the value of being a trusted partner and working together to get the results the OEM is looking for. Can your company lend design or engineering expertise to improve quality and gain a competitive advantage? Can you arrange smaller runs to accommodate changing needs and improve speed to market? Can your warehouse frequently order components to free up floor space and help with their inventory control? Also consider ways your two companies can align your missions and cultures to partner on community events and initiatives. These are just some of the ways OEMs and their supply chains can collaborate and form a partnership.
Showing your company’s value needs to go beyond price. Marketers at local supply chains will need to have a robust inbound program if they expect to attract global manufacturers and demonstrate that they are capable, professional and competitive. Within each of these categories lies a plethora of potential topics that you can use to leverage your inbound efforts and fill your editorial calendar with rich content.
Are you facing a marketing challenge for your supply chain company? Or maybe you’re an OEM looking for help. We’ve partnered with manufacturers both big and small and can help you develop and implement an effective inbound marketing strategy. Check out the link below and reach out to us.