Why relocate production ?

Laurent COLIN
By Laurent COLIN
Graduate Engineer in Physics/Instrumentation at the CNAM completed by an M2 in Business Administration at the IAE, Laurent Colin is in charge of the development of the electronic manufacturing services activity on the Bosch Mondeville site. Specialising in electronic manufacturing services for many years in various international markets (automotive, etc.), he has held the positions of Quality Manager and Production Manager at Bosch.

France the most de-industrialised country in Europe*

Creating a company without a factory” was the ambition of companies at the beginning of the 2000s.  Following the bursting of the telecoms bubble, companies have rethought their strategy. They have started to relocate their production abroad (China, Middle East…).

This phenomenon is not without consequences. For several years we have been losing skills. These relocations have caused an upheaval in the economic balance. Companies are transferring their know-how to these countries, who become leaders in their field and compete with us. Their rise in skills in industrialisation has led to a decrease in production in the medical, textile, transport, pharmaceutical and food-processing sectors in France.

In this monopoly situation, companies have become dependent on these countries. In the electronics sector, 95% of batteries are now made in Asia. The Coronavirus health crisis has further highlighted this dependence. France found itself in a situation of shortage of supply, which caused many activities and production to be stopped. The country didn’t have the capacity to meet the need for basic necessities, artificial respirators and medical equipment. National sovereignty was itself impacted.

Awareness and the trend towards relocation has accelerated as a result of this crisis. It’s a question of maintaining a strong industry in France. To make this possible, we need to coordinate.

Relocation factors

The EMS market is a market that requires flexibility and continuity of supply beyond competitiveness. Companies must be responsive and promote exchanges.

The complexity of products due to their customisation makes it more and more difficult to manage the supply chain. This can be costly, so we need to rethink shorter cycles. This is why 25%, compared to 16% at the beginning of 2020, of companies plan to relocate part of their purchases.

Corporate CSR responsibility plays a major role in the national challenge. Jobs must be safeguarded and consumer demand met who wish to consume local products. Relocating to France allows companies to reduce their environmental impact.

We are aware that the relocation of certain markets is difficult to envisage. The volume markets of the consumer electronics sector and the IT sector will most likely remain in Asia.

A national approach has been created to support French companies in their development. French Tech and French Fab have made it their purpose. The government has also taken measures to develop companies and innovation. For example, it has introduced the research tax credit, which allows companies to be reimbursed for their R&D expenses and recently the State has relaunched calls for projects to support their investments.

Faced with the current context, it’s important to mobilise to work on relocation by strengthening the strong points.

The challenges of the electronics industry

Bosch is an integrated group that has always industrialised its own products. This approach is part of its industrial and innovation DNA. Through our global offer, we are a partner for innovation. Thanks to the investments we have made, we are now able to offer our customers a tailor-made production to meet the requirements and evolution of their markets. The introduction of new digital tools gives us a great deal of flexibility and thus makes it possible to manufacture both small series as well as large, highly customised volumes for certain niche markets.

Getting closer to the customer locally enables faster adaptation to market developments and better interaction between the different manufacturing processes (increased quality control, greater fluidity between R&D and production activities, faster deliveries, more agile customer relations…).

Bosch Mondeville has an international production and logistics network to support you in your development and your market.


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