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Reshoring rules: 5 questions for Harry Moser

September 16, 2016

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Washinton State Steelworkers build the rebar frame of a Seattle highway. Photo via Washington State Dept. of Transportation on Flickr
Determined to bring jobs back to the U.S., Harry Moser has made his case before presidents and the press.
Determined to bring jobs back to the U.S., Harry Moser has made his case before presidents and the press.

Founder and president of the Reshoring Initiative, Harry Moser is widely recognized for his efforts to bring jobs back to the United States. Moser’s father and grandfather both worked in New Jersey’s mammoth Singer sewing machine plant before the company outsourced those operations overseas. Formerly president of GF Machining Solutions, he has received numerous commendations, including the Manufacturing Leadership Council’s Industry Advocacy Award in 2014. The Reynolds Center recently asked him our five go-to questions. 

What was the proudest moment of your career?

Meeting with President Obama at the January, 2011 Insourcing Forum at the White House. This event helped generate a lot of reshoring publicity and gave the Reshoring Initiative instant credibility.

What story about the Reshoring Initiative have you never told a reporter, and why do you suspect they never asked?

In 500 interviews over the last six years, nobody ever asked about our finances: who funds us and what our budget looks like. We get about 60 percent from sponsors that believe their company and industry will improve as we bring manufacturing jobs back. Twenty percent each come from honoraria and consulting. Reporters probably don’t ask because we hit above our weight. We have had as much impact and visibility as much larger, better funded organizations so they assume we are larger than we are. We could do much more with a few more sponsors.

What do you wish you’d known about business 20 years ago that you know today?

That Chinese wages would rise so fast and that U.S. companies had so seriously underestimated the “hidden” cost of sourcing offshore. If I had known these facts sooner, I might have helped companies [see] that eliminating U.S. manufacturing and offshoring to Asia is not always the best solution. It is more difficult now to bring them back.

What was the biggest challenge you’ve faced in business?

When I became North American president of machine tool company Charmilles Technologies, the company’s customer support was a disaster; we were sixth in market share in the industry. I visited customers to learn the problems and encouraged them to call me as needed. We started to measure and improve every aspect of customer support. When a measure turned favorable it became a sales tool. Within about 6 years we were known to have the best customer support in the industry and had risen to Number 1 market share.

What news publications and outlets do you rely on?

Daily, The Chicago Tribune, my local major paper. This publication covers the human side I would not otherwise see. For business purposes, I read the daily newsletters that digest the national news from hundreds of publications and provide links to relevant articles on manufacturing, trade, politics, the economy, technology, skilled workforce, etc. These include Industry Week Daily, Quick Mfg Ne, SME Daily Executive Briefing and Coalition for a Prosperous America Newsletter. I get to see a range and depth of subjects that I could never achieve with individual publications.

Weekly, I read a whole other group of similarly structured newsletters, including AGMA Newsletter, Manufacturing & Technology News, Manufacturing Trends, NTMA/PMA One Voice Newsletter.

I get the best insight into the national and world economic, financial and political trends from Mauldin Economics newsletters. I receive one or more a day, with detailed analysis ranging from the national debt to prospects for China and Russia to technical innovations that will impact our lives and investments.

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