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Hot Off the Press


Study Shows that Product Redesigns
Could Slow Foreign Outsourcing

Thursday, September 23, 2004
“It can be more advantageous for U.S. manufacturers to lower costs by redesigning products than by outsourcing production to other countries such as China,” concludes a new benchmarking study titled “Improved Product Design Practices Would Make U.S. Manufacturing More Cost Effective: A Case to Consider Before Outsourcing to China.” The study, from software maker Boothroyd Dewhurst, Wakefield, RI, implies that U.S. companies should do a better job of integrating cost analysis into product design, to enable the development of innovative products that are more economical to produce in the United States. Two design best practices identified to make this happen: redesign products to minimize part count and cost; and, carefully account for all of the costs associated with offshore sourcing and apply those added costs to the total product costs. Boothroyd Dewhurst, developer of software for Design for Manufacture and Assembly, offers the text of the study online at

Tower Phasing Out Manual Press Operations

Wednesday, September 22, 2004
Tower Automotive plans to eliminate 135 of the 300 jobs at its plant in Greenville, MI, phasing out manual press operations and related work, according to an AP story. All manual stamping and related weld assembly will move to Tower plants in Elkton and Kendallville, IN, some time before January 2005.The Greenville plant will then focus on higher-margin progressive stampings and complex value-added assemblies.

Manufacturing Extension Partnership
Helps Firm Gain ISO Certification

Tuesday, September 21, 2004
Thanks to the assistance of the Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MassMEP), New England Electropolishing, Fall River, MA, has successfully upgraded to ISO 9001:2000. MassMEP helped the firm secure a grant to assist with the costs associated with the upgrade, and brought in an ISO expert to minimize any disruption to the finishing company’s work processes caused by upgrading its certification. MassMEP is an affiliate of the National Institute of Standards and Technology under the U.S. Department of Commerce. The national MEP system is a network of centers that provide business and technical assistance to smaller manufacturers around the country. Learn more at


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