Advance social sustainability with onshore/nearshore custom manufacturing.
Today, consumers and investors hold major U.S.-based brands to high standards for profitability, environmental impact, and social sustainability. You have to consider the impact of any business decision to your “triple bottom line” – profits, people, and planet.
One part of this is your brand’s manufacturing practices.
Your stakeholders expect you to favor methods and locations that are eco-friendly and socially responsible; they also expect quality products, rapid delivery, and rising stock value.
Triple-win solutions (good for all three P’s) may be challenging to come by, but they are possible – such as product customization programs backed by onshore/nearshore manufacturing.
Manufacturing is an area where questions of environmental and social sustainability frequently intersect.
When you hear the word “sustainability,” environmental concerns are likely the first to spring to mind.
The word is often associated with a broad set of business objectives, such as minimizing waste, reducing your carbon footprint, and using less water in manufacturing.
But manufacturing brings to mind broader issues that include social sustainability – the impact of factories on planet and people.
The overall perception of a brand’s sustainability scorecard with regard to manufacturing practices can be either positive or negative:
- Negative example: When polluting factories are built in marginalized communities, compounding social inequity with environmental health concerns.
- Positive example: Factories using lean manufacturing techniques to reduce waste while creating jobs with safe, desirable working conditions.
And as global business consultants at Protiviti explain, brands that maintain high standards for environmental impact, social responsibility, and responsible governance (ESG) reap rewards:
“Investors who value ESG practices are growing in number and influence. Recent research from the US SIF Foundation found that sustainable investing assets now account for $17.1 trillion — or one in three dollars — of the total U.S. assets under professional management. That’s a 42% increase over 2018.”
Onshore/nearshore manufacturing + customization can bolster profits, environment, and social sustainability.
The American “reshoring” movement of the last several years has been driven in part by this triple bottom line mentality.
In today’s global economy, U.S. companies that bring their offshore manufacturing operations back stateside or closer to home stand to benefit in several ways.
You don’t have to stop doing business with offshore manufacturers entirely to tap into these benefits. Reshoring isn’t all-or-nothing. It’s really about diversification.
An investment in new onshore/nearshore vendor relationships – to manufacture and rapidly deliver high-quality custom products, for example – can earn you huge ESG wins.
Foremost on the minds of many brands today are the twin issues of supply chain efficiency and security.
The challenge to meet consumer demand for lightning-fast shipping (a.k.a. “The Amazon Effect”) was already putting stress on global supply chains. Then, the pandemic showed us just how vulnerable offshore-dependant brands can be to supply chain breakdown.
Domestic manufacturing – far more competitive today than 20 years ago, thanks to automation – shortens and simplifies the supply chain. Onshore vendors can help meet the demand for higher quality products as well, which North American consumers are eager to pay for.
Among these higher-end consumer goods are custom products. Their higher profit margins make your customization program a great place to start pivoting to onshore manufacturing.
Though accelerated recently by supply chain issues, the reshoring movement had been driven in part by a desire to create good jobs for American workers since long before the pandemic.
It now appears reshoring can address both concerns, improving supply chain resiliency while reducing unemployment with well-paying jobs.
In addition, greater transparency may be possible with onshore manufacturers to ensure social sustainability practices are in place.
Under the umbrella of U.S. law, you can have more assurance that your expectations are being met regarding issues such as:
• Fair pay
• Equitable hiring
• Responsible raw material sourcing (avoiding conflict regions)
Look at your product customization program as part of your broader social sustainability initiative. By using onshore vendors, you invest in a profitable product line while creating jobs for American workers.
A shift toward onshore/nearshore manufacturing can support environmental sustainability initiatives as well, especially in the context of product customization.
Shorter supply chains help reduce your brand’s carbon footprint. Working with onshore or nearshore manufacturers decreases transportation emissions and fossil fuel consumption.
In addition, factories set up for made-to-order produce far less waste than in the world of traditional mass manufacturing, in which overproduction inevitably feeds landfills.
Using onshore/nearshore vendors for product customization can help advance environmental sustainability. Delight consumers with choices and rapid order fulfillment, and impress ESG investors with reports of carbon footprint and waste reduction.
Let’s talk about product customization, the environment, and social sustainability.
Eager to score one for profits, people, and planet, but not sure how to get started? You’re in good company. Every brand looking into customization today has a lot to consider.
But here at JTB Custom, we try to simplify this process with a “walk > run > fly” approach. The place to start with product customization is wherever you already have some momentum.
If your brand is already walking the path of triple bottom line/ESG initiatives, let’s start there.
By diversifying your operations into onshore/nearshore manufacturing, building out your product customization program can work in tandem with – even enhance – your environmental and social sustainability efforts.
Let that insight be your North Star as we walk alongside you, showing you how to implement your product customization program in a way that is cost-effective, scalable, and profitable.
To get started, talk to an expert today.