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11/28/2011 | 2 MINUTE READ

Of Harry Moser, Sewing Machines, And Reshoring

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If you have lost business to China or other low-cost nations because of “price,” Harry Moser can help you. Here’s his phone number: (847) 726-2975. If you call him he will either answer himself or get back to you right away. And he will teach you what you need to know to get that business back. For free.

Harry Moser is on a mission to bring manufacturing back to the U.S. He runs a non-profit business called the Reshoring Initiative. Go to his website (reshorenow.org), and access the organization’s trademarked Total Cost of Ownership Estimator for free. Plug in the numbers, and the next time you’re up against a competitor from a lower-cost nation that’s offering your customer a price on the cheap, lay down the results from Harry’s estimator in front of your customer and watch the reaction.

Harry Moser knows manufacturing. For 25 years he worked at AgieCharmilles LLC, a leading global supplier of EDM and high-speed milling equipment for metalworking. He retired in 2007 as chairman and president. In 2010 Harry was inducted into Industry Week magazine’s Manufacturing Hall of Fame.

Harry’s current mission was brought about by personal experience. His dad, you see, ran much of the Singer Machine plant in Elizabeth, N.J., a short distance from Newark Airport. The Elizabeth plant was Singer’s first for producing sewing machines in high volumes; it opened its doors in 1863. Harry worked there himself during the summers, doing odd jobs while he went to school.
You could probably finish the rest of the story yourself, but for the record…during a visit to New Jersey as an adult Harry drove past the old plant and found it shuttered, with production outsourced overseas.

It’s a time-worn tale, but one that moved Harry Moser. And with his website and his speaking gigs, he’s out to change things.

I’ve written many times expressing puzzlement about how billion-dollar entities can be so shortsighted when it comes to selecting suppliers. I’ve expressed exasperation at how OEMs can be so unsophisticated that they don’t understand something so basic as the difference between cost and price. Harry cleared things up for me: “It’s easy to make a decision based on price because price is what is right in front of you, so that is what so many companies use. What I have termed Total Cost of Ownership is not part of any ERP program. You won’t see anything in any accounting software program that measures the risk of losing intellectual property, or what might happen in the event of a natural disaster. So many companies like to report bold accomplishments, like ‘We just saved 40-50% on this project by offshoring!’ without looking at the total picture.”

But things are changing. Harry reports that hundreds of companies lately have bucked the trend and begun to “reshore.” His advice to them: Tell others about it. “One reason offshoring took off is because people began to read about it over and over. So if you’re reshoring, do the same thing. Let people know. Send me an email about it (harry.moser@comcast.net). Call your local paper.”

Harry has advice for those who haven’t picked up the fight yet: “Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security if your business is doing well. I’ve heard a lot of manufacturers say that things are going so good that they aren’t worried about the Chinese as much. What they need to realize is that by utilizing the tools I have provided they will be better prepared for the next cyclical downturn.”
I’d be interested in hearing about any of your reshoring success stories too. Email me at jcallari@ptonline.com.