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Benchmarking global production sourcing decisions: Where and why firms offshore and reshore

This paper reports on the results of a global field study conducted in 2014 and 2015 amongst leading manufacturers from a wide range of industries. It provides insights about managerial practice surrounding production sourcing as well as the factors driving these decisions. Exploratory factor analysis and multiple logistic regression models using the response data generate the following seven key findings: (1) Companies are currently restructuring their global production footprints. (2) The majority of firms engage in offshoring. Reshoring is indeed occurring but not largely for corrective reasons. (3) North America may be at the cusp of a manufacturing renaissance, but not because of reshoring. (4) China is still the most attractive source for production, followed by developing economies in Eastern Europe and Southern Asia. (5) The decline of manufacturing in developed economies, i.e., Western Europe and Japan, continues. (6) Labor cost is no longer the driving force in manufacturing location decisions. Instead, firms make complex trade-offs among a variety of factors. (7) Firms localize production in developed economies and use developing economies as production hubs.