Choosing Overseas vs US Plastic Manufacturing

When you need a large number of custom plastics, you want the best quality at the lowest production costs, which means you're most likely debating between foreign and domestic plastic manufacturers. Our thermoforming company in North Carolina wanted to look at the factors that go into this decision and weigh the pros and cons beyond the "Made in the USA" appeal.

Advantages and Challenges of Domestic Manufacturing

First, let's look at the pros and cons of choosing a plastic manufacturer in the United States.


The leading benefit of working with a domestic manufacturing company is proximity. When you have a product that needs to be delivered by a specific deadline, you don't have to worry about supply chain issues overseas or delays in customs when you keep manufacturing within the United States. This significantly reduces the risk of missing deadlines and getting your products when you need them.

It's also important to note that the United States has very high standards for manufacturing and labor which helps ensure a higher quality product overall. This also helps minimize the risk of a public relations concern if you inadvertently partner with a foreign company that is shown to have poor working conditions or poor quality output.

Additional benefits include:

  • Strict intellectual property protections minimize the risk of another company copying your product.
  • Improved communications due to a shared language.
  • Greater ability to sign off on design and prototyping to ensure what you're getting is precisely what you have in mind.
  • Lower cost of shipping.
  • Once the product ships, it will be at your company in just a few days.


While the United States ensures better working conditions than many other nations, this drives the labor costs higher. This can increase the overall cost of manufacturing.

Advantages and Challenges of Foreign Manufacturing

Now that we've looked at why you should choose domestic manufacturing, it's important to look at foreign manufacturing and why so many companies choose it.


The main reason a company will choose foreign manufacturing is the per-unit cost is originally less expensive due to low labor costs. Because the worker protections aren't in place, this does lead to lower-cost labor. However, it's important to consider whether you want your products to be manufactured in unsafe or unsavory working conditions.


The challenge of foreign manufacturing is the same as the benefit of domestic manufacturing, and that's shipping. As we've seen the past year, supply chain issues, from manufacturing centers shut down in Asia to bottlenecks in shipping have led to months-long delays in getting products where they're needed. Delays in overseas shipping and moving products through customs are something you can't plan for, so this can be a particularly serious concern when you need to meet a deadline for receiving your products.

Additional challenges include:

  • Plans or designs may be stolen and mass-produced.
  • Concerns from customers about the quality of foreign-produced goods
  • Language barriers may complicate communication.
  • The design and prototyping experience may be more complicated to navigate.

Get a Free Quote for Custom Plastic Manufacturing Today

At Advanced Plastiform, Inc., we're dedicated to designing and producing high-quality, durable plastics for a wide variety of industries. We keep lead times short and per-unit costs low while ensuring the accuracy and consistency of every piece we make. Our company supplies plastics across the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic states including North CarolinaSouth CarolinaPennsylvaniaMaryland,  TennesseeGeorgia, and Virginia.

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