Press Release: CEG-SCRI Survey: 44% NYS MFGs Eye Reshoring after Pandemic Supply Chain Disruptions
For Immediate Release: December 8, 2021
Director of Research and Communications
CEG Awards Nearly $50,000 in Reshoring and Supply Chain grants to 5 Capital Region MFGs
ALBANY, NEW YORK – Many New York manufacturers, especially those in Downstate regions, are bullish on reshoring their production operations or supply chains after the Coronavirus pandemic put them through upheaval. The Center for Economic Growth (CEG) and Siena College Research Institute (SCRI) today unveiled a survey of manufacturers statewide that found that 44 percent of them plan, or have already started, to reshore their supply chains or production operations. But among Downstate manufacturers, which sustained the heaviest pandemic job losses, that planned/implemented reshoring rate was 59 percent.
To support manufacturers’ reshoring plans, CEG earlier this year managed over $220,000 in COVID-19 Reshoring and Supply Chain grants across the state with other New York Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) centers. Five of the 23 manufacturers that received those grants were in the Capital Region, with their share totaling nearly $50,000. They included Centrotherm Ecosystems in Albany, Free Form Fibers in Saratoga Springs, Unilux in Niskayuna, Stem Cultures in East Greenbush, and Next Advance in Troy. These funds were provided through a National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) MEP $800,000 grant from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
“Our main product line is useless without the normally ubiquitous 5-cent parts used to hold samples. Since the pandemic, these parts have been unavailable or in very short supply. The New York State MEP grant enabled us to provide a solution so that our bread-and-butter product line is still in demand and scientists can use it to research COVID-19, cancer, Alzheimer’s, new pharmaceutical drugs, etc.,” said Ian Glasgow, president of Next Advance, a laboratory instrument manufacturer.
“Whether you’re making widgets or wafers, supply chain reliability is foundational, and the pandemic has reminded manufacturers statewide that it is something they cannot take for granted,” said Michael Lobsinger, vice president of CEG Business Growth Solutions (BGS). “That is why we see so much momentum behind reshoring in manufacturing. Reshoring can mean a lot of things but primarily it’s two things: either a company is physically moving a plant, operations, or process back to the United States, or it is replacing goods or services with new ‘domestic’ vendors and suppliers.”
To help economic development organizations and Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) centers statewide understand how the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted supply chains for New York State small and medium-sized manufacturers and how it affected their business outlook, CEG BGS, through a New York State Economic Development sub-award, commissioned SCRI to survey the sector in May 2021. The study was supported by the NIST MEP CARES grant.
SCRI surveyed 332 manufacturers between July and October 2021. Among the manufacturer respondents, 36 percent were in New York’s North Central Region (Capital Region, Central New York, Mohawk Valley, North Country), 30 percent were from Downstate (Long Island, Mid-Hudson, New York City) and 33 percent were from the Southwest (Finger Lakes, Southern Tier, Western New York).
“Supply chain disruptions have impacted virtually every manufacturer across New York. While nearly two-thirds saw their distribution network impacted, almost nine of 10 faced problems in their acquisition system. Turmoil in the supply chain has resulted in rising material costs, delays and product scarcity. Not surprisingly, 71 percent of manufacturers say that since the start of the pandemic business conditions in New York have worsened,” said Don Levy, SCRI’s director.
SCRI also surveyed manufacturers on their business outlook and workforce needs. Download survey data for New York State and combined economic development region here.
View Dr. Levy’s New York State Manufacturers Study presentation here.
Supply Chain Disruption
Since the start of the pandemic, 95 percent of manufacturers report experiencing supply chain disruptions. Supply chain acquisition disruptions were most acute, with 83 percent of manufacturers statewide describing them as very or somewhat significant, compared to 76 percent of distribution disruptions.
The single greatest supply challenge for manufacturers is rising material costs (35 percent), followed by limited availability of materials (32 percent) and transportation delays (7 percent). In response to these disruptions, 74 percent purchased materials through alternative sources and 71 percent of manufacturers statewide report increasing prices. Forty percent report reducing operations and 32 percent turned business away. Among the manufacturers that responded to the disruptions by purchasing materials through alternative sources, 95 percent of them ended up paying higher prices.
In the wake of the pandemic-induced disruptions, New York manufacturers have a favorable view of reshoring supply chains or returning the production of goods to the United States. A majority of manufacturers somewhat or completely agree with the statements that “The benefits of onshore production outweigh the higher labor costs” (79 percent) and “Increasing costs, like labor costs, shipping costs, and tariffs, are making it more prohibitive to continue offshore operations” (72 percent).
Most manufacturers likewise somewhat or completely disagree with the statements “The cost of transitioning to onshore production makes it impractical to undertake” (65 percent) and “Companies cannot remain competitive if they are reshoring” (65 percent).
The reshoring plans reflect the heavy economic toll supply chain disruptions took on the sector. That toll was heaviest in Downstate, which sustained a 12.1 percent year-over-year decline in manufacturing employment – almost double that of the upstate regions. Ultimately, 84 percent of surveyed manufacturers somewhat or strongly agree with the assertion that “Reshoring will enhance supply chain predictability.”
The CARES grant also supported Reshoring Institute research that focused on how manufacturers and supporting agencies dealt with COVID-19 and identified gaps and best practices, among other factors. The purpose of this BGS-commissioned research was to inform activities that manufacturers can take to make them more resilient during national threats such as a pandemic. The information from this study will also inform EDOs and MEPs on what new resources and services might be needed to help small to medium-sized enterprises. For this study, the Research Institute conducted one-on-one interviews and surveys with more than 50 manufacturers.
On Dec. 14, CEG and the Reshoring Institute will host a webinar on What the Pandemic Taught Us: Building a Resilient Manufacturing Business. Register for the 12:30 p.m. webinar here.
CEG BGS has a menu of supply chain services for Capital Region manufacturers, including supplier scouting, an import substitution program, ISO-Gap analysis, supplier risk assessments, supplier opportunities, and MEP supply chain grant program. BGS has helped manufacturers such as assist Capital Region manufacturers in identifying regional and national suppliers, manufacturing resources and keeping them updated on upcoming training programs as well as supplier opportunities. Capital Region manufacturers who have benefited from BGS’s supply chain services include Precision Valve and Automation and VARA Safety.
The Center for Economic Growth (CEG) is dedicated to driving economic growth in New York’s eight-county, 1.1-million-person Capital Region. As the nonprofit regional economic development organization, we do this by attracting investment and talent; growing manufacturing and workforce capabilities, leveraging industry clusters, and developing the entrepreneurial ecosystem. We serve as a catalyst and work with partners and stakeholders to prepare the region to compete and move high-impact strategies and projects forward. An affiliate of the Capital Region Chamber, CEG is supported by investors in business, government, education, and the nonprofit sectors who are committed to sustainable economic growth and shared prosperity. For more information on CEG, visit www.ceg.org.
About Siena College Research Institute
Founded in 1980, the Siena College Research Institute conducts regional, statewide, and national surveys on business, economic, political, social, academic, and historical issues. The surveys include both expert and public opinion polls. For more information visit: www.scri.siena.edu