Keith Nosbusch, CEO of Rockwell Automation: Manufacturers Will Not Move Back to the U.S. for Political Reasons

Rockwell Automation Chairman and CEO Keith Nosbusch recently gave an interview to China Business News, one of the most influential business newspapers in China with a circulation of 720,000. Below is the English translation of the full article.

“American Manufacturing Reflux” and “American Reindustrialization” have become buzzwords over the past two years. The third industrial revolution represented by “3-D Printing” and “Smart Manufacturing” seems to provide an unprecedented opportunity for American reindustrialization. As the most important manufacturing base in the world, will China‚Äôs position be threatened?

In a recent interview with China Business News, Keith Nosbusch, Chairman and CEO, Rockwell Automation, commented that businesses will not pull back manufacturing facilities to the United States for political reasons. If they do move them back, they do it because of economic reasons. He added that though American politicians can do some lobbying, it only works when they can create an environment for business success. Decision-makers of large enterprises are pursuing bigger economic benefits and higher competitiveness, especially in the long term.

Last year end, Tim Cook, Apple CEO expressed that they will make big investments to rebuild their iMac production line in the U.S., which generated big concern in the industry. As a member of the Council on Competitiveness, Keith D. Nosbusch commented that “It is key for businesses to be close to their customers. For Apple, it has a big customer base in the United States, but most of its current manufacturing is done outside of the United States, so it’s natural for Apple to pull some of its manufacturing back to the U.S.”

“Many American businesses set up their manufacturing facilities in China not purely because China has cheap labor, but also because they believe China will be a huge consumption market,” he added.

Rockwell Automation has been promoting Smart Manufacturing over the past two years. It defines Smart Manufacturing as a highly connected and knowledge-enabled industrial enterprise, where all business and operating actions are optimized to achieve substantially enhanced productivity, sustainability and economic performance.

With regard to whether Smart Manufacturing will be adopted at the same pace in the world’s three biggest economies (the U.S., Europe and China), Keith said, “No matter in what regions of the world, we are still in the early phases of smart manufacturing. I believe that smart manufacturing will progress at different rates in different industries, not in different regions. Countries that face global competition or want to supply their products globally will move faster to adopt and develop Smart Manufacturing.”

“China is now undergoing an economic transformation and evolving from the ‘made-in-China’ period. If China can be one of the first to achieve “manufacturing knowledge”, it will earn a long-term competitive advantage well into the coming decades,” said Tom O’Reilly, Managing Director of Rockwell Automation Greater China.

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