How Local Manufacturing Can Solve Global Supply Issues


Anyone who has purchased something since the pandemic has probably had to pay more and wait longer; supply chain issues have plagued customers, retailers, and manufacturers across industries. These challenges began with halting production in overseas factories due to COVID-19 breakouts or lockdowns. This interruption resulted in a sharp decline in product supply in an otherwise well-oiled globalized supply chain. While sometimes the end of the pandemic seems within reach, the reverting of product flow to its steady stream does not. Announcements of additional lockdowns in China as the country battles COVID-19 have sparked fears that the problem will get worse before it gets better.

Not that we have a crystal ball or anything, but ChopValue anticipated such widespread supply problems if one chain in the link were to break. Our 2019 Urban Impact Report projected that “a shortfall in [globalized supply chains] can cause the entire system to come to a standstill.” Sound familiar? We wrote this in support of the alternative – local manufacturing. From our standpoint, local manufacturing can circumvent global supply issues while adding the following benefits:

  1. Less waste. What we have coined “urban harvesting” allows us to source raw materials from our local communities. By harvesting this waste, we reduce the amount of material in landfill.
  2. Fewer emissions. Without having to source materials from overseas, and through selling products to customers as local as possible, we reduce the distance that goods travel, thus reducing their carbon footprint.
  3. Local jobs. Overseas production of goods has destabilized job markets for decades and forced people who want to work with their hands to adopt a keyboard instead. We want to contribute to the comeback of local craftsmanship and give people an opportunity to earn a fair living using their hands.

Don’t get us wrong; we love globalization. However, we aspire to globalize ideas instead of materials and products. Through our vision of establishing a global network of Microfactories, we can produce ecosystems of solid relationships between local partners (restaurants, retailers, customers) while meeting global demand.

Now, we know what you’re thinking. The last time you checked the ChopValue map, you didn’t see enough factories to believe we are producing locally and worldwide. And you’re right; we’re not there yet. But in the last two years, we’ve expanded from our initial Microfactory in Vancouver to 60 locations in development across North America, Asia, and Europe – with plenty more to come in 2022. If we can do this during a global pandemic, we are confident that our vision will continue to come alive in the post-COVID world.

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