The Manufacturer’s Dilemma: Reshoring and Resiliency in a Pandemic World

From the Rust Belt to the White House, policymakers, manufacturers, and consumers are debating the merits of reshoring, nearshoring, and building more resilient supply chains in a pandemic world. President Joe Biden has largely maintained many of the previous administration’s trade policies while outlining his own administration’s commitment to “Buy American” and build more resilient supply chains. Supply chain resiliency is defined as the capacity for a supply chain to resist and respond to disruptions, minimizing the time needed to recover operational capacity. Reshoring, on the other hand, occurs when suppliers reduce their dependence on global supply chains by moving production within domestic borders. These pandemic-induced dynamics have complicated industries’ responses to supply chain issues. Should supply chains be built for resiliency or efficiency, and what are the trade-offs between the two approaches? This report assesses how these industries have been affected by the pandemic and how they have responded, particularly whether firms have chosen to embrace resiliency or pursue reshoring.

This report is made possible with generous funding from the Alcoa Foundation.

Emily Benson
Director, Project on Trade and Technology and Senior Fellow, Scholl Chair in International Business

Jasmine Lim

Program Coordinator and Research Assistant, Scholl Chair in International Business

Anthony Hokayem

Former Intern, Scholl Chair in International Business

Sarah Mortensen

Former Intern, Scholl Chair in International Business