I liked Jeremy Pollard's "Find the Center" article in the July issue of Control Design.
I believe a contributing factor to so much manufacturing moving offshore is the attitude from buyers that suppliers should make absolute minimum margins.
One of our largest customers a few years ago asked me what margin I made on the custom power supplies I built (and inventoried) for them. When I told him it was 20–25%, he reacted with shock — he went on to suggest I was "stealing" from him.
Customers want low price, no volume commitment, no engineering fees — all the benefits and no risk!
I would love to bring all my manufacturing back from Asia, but my costs would go up and few of my customers would accept it. If my price goes down, they pocket the savings. But if it goes up, they insist on passing it on to their customers or looking for new suppliers.