Onshoring manufacturing, shoes edition

A nice scenario’ing of brining manufacturing back to the US, told through Under Armour. For example, with factory-automation and higher labor prices, you don’t end up hiring 1,000’s of people:

Plank has lamented that we’ve been making clothes the same way for 100 years, and he hopes to change that with the innovation happening at UA Lighthouse. But a huge innovation in the footwear industry, as in other industries, is automation. Adidas now has two Speedfactories, its automated robot-helmed sites. According to Fortune, these only require 160 employees, cutting out many of the humans formerly needed for this kind of factory work.

Plank is fully aware of this tradeoff. When asked about creating jobs in the US, Plank told Footwear News, “It’s not pegged to have 175,000 of those jobs come back to America. I just wonder if there is a way that we can be more thoughtful, creative, and innovative. What if we could bring 100 of those jobs or 500 or 1,000 or 10,000 here?”

Productivity!

There’s also a nice discussion about a border tax’s effect on retail.

The summary is: on shoring manufacturing will create jobs, but probably much less than “like back in the good old days” notions. Further, in the overall retail system, it’ll require much investment and change.

As ever, for an administration that wants to “shock the system,” it fits what’s on the tin. Get some rubber shoes.

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