...In a research paper on the subject presented at a recent meeting of Boothroyd Dewhurst's Design for Manufacture and Assembly International Forum in Providence, R.I., Meeker outlines many of the additional and hidden costs involved in shifting production to China. They find that they add up to 24 percent of the total product price, a conservative number that "does not include provisions for many of the risks and intangible costs that relate to specific products," he says.
Here's the critical difference:
Meeker and his colleague Jay Mortenson found that it is cheaper by 8 percent to produce a current design in China. There are substantial savings associated with purchased parts from China that include direct labor (79 percent savings versus U.S. labor rates), indirect labor and salaries (61 percent savings), benefits (75 percent savings), overhead (40 percent savings) and selling, general and administrative (SG&A) (11 percent savings).
IOW, the Barbie-doll design, established since--what, 1970?--should be made in PRC.
But if you're putting up a new product, and you apply real know-how in the design process, making it here is a MUCH better deal. And that doesn't (apparently) count the inevitable tweaking-and-jiggling of the design which is usually prominent early in the product's life-cycle. When you tweak-and-jiggle, having the engineering folks next-door to the manufacturing folks makes all the difference in the world--particularly when they literally speak the same language.
Much, much, more at the link.