OEMs working with overseas suppliers have long felt the impact of ever-changing geopolitical, environmental, and economic factors that undoubtedly add new layers of complexity to today’s global supply chains.

While many U.S. manufacturers have already re-evaluated production and sourcing and realized major benefits of onshoring (or ‘reshoring’), the growing trend is expected to continue. The practice refers to moving manufacturing operations from foreign soil back to the U.S., or outsourcing to domestic contract manufacturers rather than overseas.

In the molded rubber category, an uptick in reshoring began years ago with motivations tied to quality standards and reducing supply chain exposure. This resurgence was largely due to an unbalanced increase in production costs with a steady, and even declining standard for quality.

For example, in the early 2000s, indexed manufacturing labor costs increased 400% in China, compared to only 2% in the U.S. Other commonly cited costs include inventory carrying costs, shipping, travel expenses and communications issues, rising offshore wages, as well as intellectual property risks.

In the last few years, however, macro trends, trade war realities, regulations, and pandemic-related disruptions have further made the case clear for onshoring across industries, as OEMs realize the total costs of ownership of Made in USA components to be lower on average and declining.

Accordingly, the supplier—OEM partnership has become more important than ever, and companies that can source a strong domestic supplier will gain the advantage.

The Reshoring & Supplier Transition Process

When producing or assembling parts, OEMs should turn to suppliers that can truly address supply chain gaps and overall manufacturability — such as Rahco Rubber — through design enhancements, advanced product quality planning, and material offsets.

Time to market can be reduced by leveraging fast, production-intent prototyping, mold development and production, with secondary operations. For example, Rahco customers often find it easier and more cost effective for it to perform various assembly operations. This can range from simple packaging of various components to highly automated cells for part assembly and boxing, rubber part slitting and robotic part removal of molded parts.

Along with automated production processes, OEMs should source vertically integrated suppliers that work as partners. Rahco’s on-staff chemists, material experts and engineers works with customers as an extension of their staff to design, improve and optimize parts that meet lifestyle demands, mitigate risk, and help build sustainable, competitive advantages.


Designing a part for optimum manufacturability involves many considerations —and when we have the opportunity to get involved in a project in the beginning design and engineering stages, all parties benefit.

Besides offering ideas that focus on the concerns we might have as the rubber molding producing the part, we’ll assist in accomplishing your ultimate goals. A Rahco transfer and onboarding team, led by a project manager, works closely with the customer and remains intimately involved from the conceptual stages that lead to prototyping and carry it all the way to production.


To learn more, please contact us or take advantage of our Complimentary Testing Services to not only validate your material formulation, but ensure all designs and components are optimized for performance, cost efficiencies and manufacturability.