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With technology, US sites '10 times' more productive than overseas sites

How one company sees a future tapping into a more tech-savvy environment -- on these shores.
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Written by Joe McKendrick, Contributing Writer on

With the right technology, a US worker can produce up '10 times' the volumes of products as his or her overseas counterpart.

That's the observation of Paul Fichter, president and founder of Taphandles, a producer of beer-marketing products for breweries with plants in both the United States and China.

Fichter recently drew the attention of The New York Times because he announced plans to begin shifting work back to the United States, and is building a new plant in Washington state. Labor and transportation costs factored heavily into his decision, along with the need for faster delivery times to customers.

Here's what Fichter said about the role of technology in improving per-worker productivity at the US location:

"[Taphandles is seeking] mostly skilled technicians who can use computer numerical controlled machines, which allow us to cut many products at once. The cost of computer automation in the United States has also dropped. In China, humans do the same work on much simpler machines. So, we’re replacing Chinese labor with machines run by United States workers. The machines will make 10 times more product than a person could in China."

Fichter's plans are in line with new research out of The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) which suggests that many kinds of manufacturing will soon return to US shores, due to rising wages in China and greater efficiencies in US plants.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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