A number of smallish U.S. manufacturers are deciding that it's not worth all the hassles - despite still-lower labor costs. We are talking 7,000 miles and 15 hours away. From Businessweek:
When Sonja Zozula and Jerry Anderson founded LightSaver Technologies in 2009, everyone told them they should make their emergency lights for homeowners in China. After two years of outsourcing to factories there, last winter they shifted production to Carlsbad, Calif., about 30 miles from their home in San Clemente. "It's probably 30 percent cheaper to manufacture in China," Anderson says. "But factor in shipping and all the other B.S. that you have to endure. It's a question of, 'How do I value my time at three in the morning when I have to talk to China?' "
Neither of the founders has ever been to China, which made communicating with manufacturers difficult. Components that were shipped from the U.S. sometimes got stuck in customs for weeks. And Anderson had to spend hours on the phone to explain tweaks in the product. "If we have an issue in manufacturing, in America we can walk down to the plant floor," Anderson says. "We can't do that in China." Anderson says manufacturing in the U.S. is probably 2 percent to 5 percent cheaper once he takes into account the time and trouble of outsourcing production overseas.