While the results of the latest Riverwood OEM survey are eye-opening, I want to focus on one data point in particular: the percentage of OEMs that are hiring staff near their EMS providers.
Per the study, the results of which were released today, 63.6% of survey respondents say that they are likely to hire remote operations staff near their EMS provider. That’s up 34.2 points (not percent) from a year ago.
Riverwood did not indicate reasons for the switch, but some can be inferred, including OEMs are demanding more control and insight over EMS operations, and OEMs are staffing up after severe cuts in 2009.
But the bottom line, as always, is the bottom line. Outsourcing assembly was supposed to reap substantial tangible benefits, not the least of which was lower fixed costs (i.e., head count). As we’ve noted before, in many cases employees formerly known as process engineers have now become supplier engineers — but they are still at the OEM. That development (or lack thereof) does not suggest a high degree of confidence in a lights-out supply chain.
Which once again begs the question, has outsourcing been worth it?