Bringing Manufacturing Back Home To Georgia

One U.S. manufacturer has completely switched gears in its outsourcing strategy, bringing its manufacturing back in-house and back to the United States.

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NCR Corp, a major automated teller machine (ATM) producer in Duluth, Ga. spent a couple of decades developing a hybrid model that included some outsourcing overseas, some domestic contract manufacturing and some in-house production.

As of this year, NCR brought all of its ATM production in-house at a revamped facility in Columbus, Ga. “To really achieve innovative outcomes, it was important to keep our manufacturing close to our major customers and supply base,” says Peter Dorsman, NCR senior vice president of operations. “We also wanted to be close to our innovation center in Duluth and close to universities that are good on supply chain management.” NCR has partnered with two nearby universities—Georgia Institute of Technology and Clayton State University.

While NCR received support from the state of Georgia, incentives were not a decisive factor in the plant’s location. “We looked at 12 states and any of them would include incentives, but incentives were not the driver,” says Dorsman, “Georgia offers access to the interstate, access to the port of Savannah, access to our supply chain, and access to universities and customers where we have working relationships to develop and innovate.”

Once the decision was made to bring production back home, NCR moved quickly. Papers were signed to purchase a 350,000-square-foot former Panasonic battery facility in April 2009, the retrofit began in May and the ribbon was cut for the plant’s opening in October. We did it in less than five months, and that included the retrofits and hiring a contractor,” says Dorsman. “We worked with Georgia Power on the environmental design.”

A good part of the decision came from the difficulty of customizing products and getting them to market quickly while using overseas contract manufacturers. “In our business, innovation is everything,” says Dorsman. “The hybrid model was difficult when you’re talking about speed to market and proximity to market."

On the Web: For more on NCR's decision to manufacture in Columbus, Ga., listen to Managing Editor Wes Iversen’s podcast interview with NCR Senior Vice President Peter Dorsman, at www.automationworld.com/podcast-6211.

Related Feature - North America Still Strong For Manufacturing
To read the feature article relating to this story, go to www.automationworld.com/feature-6316.

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