I always enjoy finding examples of companies that don’t believe in the offshoring theory of business. Companies with leadership that takes a hard and truly analytical look at the operation and realize that internal waste is more of a competitive burden than the regulatory, tax, and currency environment that many subscribe to.
Add Universal Tire Molds to that list. Although owned by Saehwa Machinery of South Korea, the company is expanding in the United States in order to service a global market.
While the potential for growth in the U.S. is relatively small, there are lots of opportunities on a global scale, [Ted] Smith said. Besides the U.S., Universal provides tire molds to customers in Western Hemisphere countries such as Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, and Venezuela, as well as Japan.
That’s pretty big news, as those of us in the molding industry are constantly bombarded with calls from Asian mold-makers offering to provide quicker, cheaper, and higher quality molds. The Akron, Ohio area, long a hotspot for natural and synthetic rubber products processing, has been hard-hit by foreign competition over the last couple decades.
Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic said he’s happy Saehwa recognizes the value of staying in Northeast Ohio and tapping the city’s talented work force. The project follows a trend in foreign investment that will continue to strengthen manufacturing, increase Akron’s competitiveness globally and provide more job opportunities.
Just in case the irony slipped by you, I’ll summarize: while many U.S. companies feel the need to flee overseas to remain competitive, foreign companies like Toyota, Honda, and now Saehwa are investing in the U.S. to become globally competitive.
One group thinks of labor as a cost, the other thinks of the knowledge of people as a competitive asset.