Methodology: Current Trends in Production Labor Sourcing
In order to seek additional insights into the trend of outsourced production labor, a series of interviews was carried out on the status of US manufacturing labor for skilled and semi-skilled production workers. Note that specific manufacturing processes that require a high level of quality assurance is typically executed by a skilled worker. Tasks which support the manufacturing processes are typically executed by a semi-skilled worker. The following questions were explored through our research.
- Are US manufacturers receptive to outsourcing the management of the semi-skilled workforce, thus allowing their plant management to focus on core expertise in quality, efficiencies and production yields?
- Do US manufacturers spend considerable time and effort managing the semi-skilled workforce?
- Are production services unique and highly desirable alternative to off-shoring production and saving US jobs?
- Is there a valid business case for outsourcing production services?
Based on our exploration of these hypotheses and review of key opinion leader interviews, a number of key insights emerged from the analysis. Our interviews were carried out with executives from multiple manufacturing industries including office furniture, military equipment, energy industry equipment, pharmaceuticals, packaging, textiles, computers, construction equipment, and automotive components. Executives from production outsourcing firms were also interviewed. Responses were coded and captured in a set of quantifiable responses. The project addressed each research question as valid or invalid based on the data to support each conclusion.