December 10, 2013 Leave a comment
Julie Reiser Fox Business 12.06.2013
Made in USA Certified President Julie Reiser on the importance of buying products manufactured here at home
MADE IN USA CERTIFIED
December 10, 2013 Leave a comment
Julie Reiser Fox Business 12.06.2013
Made in USA Certified President Julie Reiser on the importance of buying products manufactured here at home
December 10, 2013 Leave a comment
My hometown — Port Clinton, Ohio, population 6,050 — was in the 1950s a passable embodiment of the American dream, a place that offered decent opportunity for the children of bankers and factory workers alike.
But a half-century later, wealthy kids park BMW convertibles in the Port Clinton High School lot next to decrepit “junkers” in which homeless classmates live. The American dream has morphed into a split-screen American nightmare. And the story of this small town, and the divergent destinies of its children, turns out to be sadly representative of America.
Growing up, almost all my classmates lived with two parents in homes their parents owned and in neighborhoods where everyone knew everyone else’s first name. Some dads worked in the local auto-part factories or gypsum mines, while others, like my dad, were small businessmen. In that era of strong unions and full employment, few families experienced joblessness or serious economic insecurity. Very few P.C.H.S. students came from wealthy backgrounds, and those few made every effort to hide that fact.
Half a century later, my classmates, now mostly retired, have experienced astonishing upward mobility. Nearly three-quarters of them surpassed their parents in education and in that way advanced economically as well. One-third of my classmates came from homes with parents who had not completed high school and, of that group, nearly half went to college.
Low costs at public and private colleges across Ohio were supplemented by locally raised scholarships — from the Rotary Club, the United Automobile Workers, the Junior Women’s Club and the like. Although the only two black students in my class encountered racial prejudice in town and none of their parents had finished grade school, both reached graduate school. Neither for them nor for our white classmates was family background the barrier to upward mobility that it would become in the next century.
Our (white) star quarterback, whom I will call J, grew up on the poor side of town. His dad, who had an eighth-grade education, worked two jobs to keep the family afloat — on the line at Port Clinton Manufacturing from 7 to 3, then at the canning factory from 3:30 to 11. Despite his 70-plus-hour workweek, J’s dad made it to J’s games. Unable to afford a car, J’s family hitched rides with neighbors to church every week and ate a lot of hash. Despite their modest background, J’s parents urged him to aim for college, and he chose the college-prep track at P.C.H.S., finishing in the top quarter of our class. His minister pointed him toward a downstate Lutheran institution and made a phone call to help find him financial aid. J graduated debt-free and continued on to seminary and a successful career as a Lutheran minister, coaching high school football on the side.
J’s rise from a well-knit but modest working-class family to a successful professional career was not atypical, as a recent survey of my classmates revealed. My classmates describe our youth in strikingly similar terms: “We were poor, but we didn’t know it.” In fact, however, in the breadth and depth of the social support we enjoyed, we were rich, but we didn’t know it.
As we graduated, none of us had any inkling that Port Clinton would change anytime soon. While almost half of us headed off to college, those who stayed in town had reason to expect a steady job (if they were male), marriage and a more comfortable life than their parents’.
But just beyond the horizon a national economic, social and cultural whirlwind was gathering force that would radically transform the life chances of the children and grandchildren of the graduates of the P.C.H.S. class of 1959. The change would be jaw dropping and heart wrenching, for Port Clinton turns out to be a poster child for changes that have engulfed America.
The manufacturing foundation of Port Clinton’s modest prosperity in the 1950s and 1960s began to tremble in the 1970s. The big Standard Products factory at the east end of town provided nearly 1,000 steady, good-paying blue-collar jobs in the 1950s, but the payroll was more than halved in the 1970s. After two more decades of layoffs and “give backs,” the plant gates on Maple Street finally closed in 1993, leaving a barbed-wire-encircled ruin now graced with Environmental Protection Agency warnings of toxicity. But that was merely the most visible symbol of the town’s economic implosion.
Manufacturing employment in Ottawa County plummeted from 55 percent of all jobs in 1965 to 25 percent in 1995 and kept falling. By 2012 the average worker in Ottawa County had not had a real raise for four decades and, in fact, is now paid roughly 16 percent less in inflation-adjusted dollars than his or her grandfather in the early 1970s. The local population fell as P.C.H.S. graduates who could escape increasingly did. Most of the downtown shops of my youth stand empty and derelict, driven out of business by gradually shrinking paychecks and the Walmart on the outskirts of town.
The social impact of those economic hammer blows was initially cushioned by the family and community bonds that had been so strong in my youth. But as successive graduating P.C.H.S. classes entered an ever worsening local economy, the social fabric of the 1950s and 1960s was gradually shredded. Juvenile-delinquency rates began to skyrocket in the 1980s and were triple the national average by 2010. Not surprisingly, given falling wages and loosening norms, single-parent households in Ottawa County doubled from 10 percent in 1970 to 20 percent in 2010, while the divorce rate more than quadrupled. In Port Clinton itself, the epicenter of the local economic collapse in the 1980s, the rate of births out of wedlock quadrupled between 1978 and 1990, topping out at about 40 percent, nearly twice the race-adjusted national average (itself rising rapidly).
Unlike working-class kids in the class of 1959, many of their counterparts in Port Clinton today are, despite toil and talent, locked into troubled, even hopeless lives. R, an 18-year-old white woman, is almost the same age as my grandchildren. Her grandfather could have been one of my classmates. But when I went off to college on a scholarship from a local employer, he skipped college in favor of a well-paid, stable blue-collar job. Then the factories closed, and good, working-class jobs fled. So while my kids, and then my grandchildren, headed off to elite colleges and successful careers, his kids never found steady jobs, were seduced by drugs and crime, and burned through a string of impermanent relationships.
His granddaughter R tells a harrowing tale of loneliness, distrust and isolation. Her parents split up when she was in preschool and her mother left her alone and hungry for days. Her dad hooked up with a woman who hit R, refused to feed her and confined R to her room with baby gates. She says her only friend was a yellow mouse who lived in her apartment. Caught trafficking drugs in high school, R spent several months in a juvenile detention center and failed out of high school, finally eking out a diploma online. Her experiences left her with a deep-seated mistrust of anyone and everyone, embodied by the scars on her arms where a boyfriend injured her in the middle of the night. R wistfully recalls her stillborn baby, born when she was 14. Since breaking up with the baby’s dad, who left her for someone else, and with a second fiancé, who cheated on her after his release from prison, R is currently dating an older man with two infants born to different mothers — and, despite big dreams, she is not sure how much she should hope for.
R’S story is heartbreaking. But the story of Port Clinton over the last half-century — like the history of America over these decades — is not simply about the collapse of the working class but also about the birth of a new upper class. In the last two decades, just as the traditional economy of Port Clinton was collapsing, wealthy professionals from major cities in the Midwest have flocked to Port Clinton, building elaborate mansions in gated communities along Lake Erie and filling lagoons with their yachts. By 2011, the child poverty rate along the shore in upscale Catawba was only 1 percent, a fraction of the 51 percent rate only a few hundred yards inland. As the once thriving middle class disappeared, adjacent real estate listings in the Port Clinton News Herald advertised near-million-dollar mansions and dilapidated double-wides.
The contrast with the egalitarian ethos and reality of the 1950s — the contrast between the upward mobility experienced by J and the bleak prospects of R — vividly captures Port Clinton’s transformation in the last half-century, much like that of the rest of the country. My research team has talked with dozens of R’s from Austin, Tex., to Duluth, Minn., and from Atlanta to Orange County, Calif.
The crumbling of the American dream is a purple problem, obscured by solely red or solely blue lenses. Its economic and cultural roots are entangled, a mixture of government, private sector, community and personal failings. But the deepest root is our radically shriveled sense of “we.” Everyone in my parents’ generation thought of J as one of “our kids,” but surprisingly few adults in Port Clinton today are even aware of R’s existence, and even fewer would likely think of her as “our kid.” Until we treat the millions of R’s across America as our own kids, we will pay a major economic price, and talk of the American dream will increasingly seem cynical historical fiction.
December 5, 2013 1 Comment
TEANECK, N.J., Dec. 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ – Results from the latest shopper research survey conducted by Perception Research Services (PRS) indicate that shoppers are motivated by “Made in the USA” claims on packaging as most say that they are more likely to purchase a product after noticing the “Made in the USA” claim on it. This claim has resonated with baby boomers in the past, and is now influencing Millenials more so than in prior years.
According to the Boston Consulting Group’s (BCG) Center for Consumer and Customer Insight, U.S. Millennials are receptive to cause marketing and are more likely than non-Millenials to purchase items associated with a particular cause (37 percent versus 30 percent). Consistent with 2012, the PRS study shows that the primary reason shoppers claim they are more likely to purchase “Made in the USA” products is to “help the economy.” Considering that Millennial shoppers may still be feeling the effects of the last recession, it makes sense that they want to reinvigorate the U.S. economy.
Another reason many shoppers claim to prefer “Made in the USA” products is because they are perceived to be higher quality and worth paying more for. According to the BCG, “when considering similar products made in the U.S. vs. China, the average American is willing to pay up to 60% more for U.S. made products.”
However, this may vary greatly based on the specific product category. Recent sales data suggest that many apparel shoppers are willing to forgo some level of product quality in order to pay less. According to industry analysts at NPD, many T-shirts that are bought today are lighter than they used to be since manufacturers had to take things out to keep the price the same.
But Wal-Mart, for one, is pushing to have it both ways – maintain low costs while still providing American made goods. Walmart asserts it is giving its suppliers added incentives that would increase sourcing of American-made products by $50 billion over the next 10 years and create more than 1,600 American jobs.
A wide range of companies such as Apple, General Electric and Brooks Brothers are also experimenting with making more products in the U.S. However, the shift to more American-made products may not be entirely patriotic. For many, manufacturing abroad no longer makes sense. Either it is becoming too costly or they feel they are lacking a competitive edge. In some cases they want to meet consumers’ desire for American-made goods, or they simply want to get merchandise from the design phase into stores within weeks rather than months in order to be “of the moment”.
Importantly, for the shoppers in our study, the majority of products they say they would prefer to purchase if American-made are food, medicine and personal care items – suggesting that quality and safety may be the true motivating factors. This may be, in part, because for these lower priced items, the cost savings may not be substantial enough to sacrifice quality.
“Manufacturers of American-made products would do well to clearly state this fact as it is a meaningful point-of-difference. This is certainly true if all else is equal, and in some cases, could provide a sufficient level of quality assurance to justify a higher price,” stated Jonathan Asher, Executive Vice President of PRS. “As Millennials enter their peak purchasing power years, it will benefit manufacturers to provide more “Made in the USA” products, and overtly tout this claim,” Asher continued, “as this group is likely to be increasingly interested in buying American.”
This research for “Made in the USA” was conducted in July 2013 among over 1500 consumers, aged 18+, drawn from a nationally representative online sample in the United States.
Founded in 1972 and headquartered in Teaneck, New Jersey, Perception Research Services (PRS) specializes in consumer research to develop, assess and improve shopper communications, including packaging and POS systems. PRS conducts over 800 studies annually on behalf of marketers, designers and manufacturers, including: qualitative research, on-shelf packaging assessments, in-store, online and with PRS Eye-Tracking. With office locations throughout the United States, Europe and Asia, our global reach helps clients win at retail the world over. For more information visit http://www.prsresearch.com.
Media Contact: Ana Sandoval: 201-720-2719, Ana.Sandoval@prsresearch.com
SOURCE Perception Research Services
November 19, 2013 Leave a comment
Does a product that proudly touts a “Made in USA” label or claim influence consumers purchasing decisions? The answer is a resounding “yes”! According to a recent research study done by the Boston Consulting Group, more than 80% of U.S. consumers (and over 60% of Chinese consumers) say they are willing to pay more for products labeled “Made in USA” vs. those labeled “Made in China”.
There is no doubt that the “Made in USA” cache is strong and companies are anxious to capitalize on this uptick in consumer demand. Now more than ever, we are being flooded with a flurry of “Made in USA” images, logos, claims and statements.
Let us take a look back in time in the early 2000’s when the organic movement was gaining popularity with consumers and there was a growing worldwide demand for organic food. Organic certification (a third party certification process for producers of organic food & other agricultural products) appeared on the marketplace to assure quality and prevent fraud as well as promote commerce. As more and more organic products were showing up in supermarkets claiming to be “organic” – consumers needed a third party regulatory certification to give consumers product assurance that they products they were buying were “truly organic”.
Flash forward to 2013 and the Made in USA Movement, consumers can walk down any retail isle of any store and find many different “Made in USA” claims, logos, and images. A great way to see the array of images is to go to Google Images and type “Made in USA” in the search bar and thousands of images will appear. Any company can download one of these images and use it for marketing and consumers need to be savvy enough to know that the “Made in USA” claim is a marketing claim that does not need to be pre-approved by any governing regulatory body.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and also provides helpful information to help spot, stop and avoid them. However, as they state themselves on their website “The Commission does not pre-approve advertising or labeling claims. A company doesn’t need approval from the Commission before making a Made in USA claim. As with most other advertising claims, a manufacturers or marketer may make any claim as long as it is truthful and substantiated.”
Recently in the news the FTC settled a “Made in USA” case with E.K. Ekcessories out of Utah. This is the first FTC “made in the USA” case since 2009.
The FTC asserted that the company falsely claimed certain of its products were “Made in the U.S.A. or “Truly Made in the USA” even though the products contained substantial foreign content. In the press release found on the FTC website, the FTC alleged that E.K. Ekcessories, Inc. violated the Federal Trade Commission Act by making false and unsupported statements that its products were all or virtually all made in the United States.
According to the FTC, to say an item is “Made in USA”, all or virtually all of it has to be U.S. –made in the U.S.A. In other words, all significant parts and processing must be of U.S. origin, and the product should contain no – or negligible foreign content. That’s the standard explained on the FTC’s 1997 Enforcement Policy Statement on U.S. Origin Claims.
With product marketers, big business, foreign countries and even American politicians not always being completely forthright when making manufacturing claims, and no FTC pre-approval needed, how do consumers know what is truly made in America and how do companies avoid what the FTC’s Lesley Fair put as the “Yankee Doodle Don’t”?
Fairs in her blog suggests, “First, it’s a good time to brush up on how to comply with Made in USA standards. The Business Center has a dedicated Made in USA page to make that easier for you. Second, given just how important many consumers take a Made in USA claim, companies that make that statement falsely or without a reasonable basis are risking law enforcement action.”
That is where a company like Made in USA Certified comes in.
Made in USA Certified is the only independent third party certification company in the Nation that conducts a full supply chain audit to verify the percentage of components/ units that are “Made in USA” and that the product was substantially transformed or manufactured in the United States of America.
Co-Founder, Julie Reiser stated. “Made in USA Certified is here to promote accountability, transparency and verification for companies and consumers within the marketplace with a standardized supply chain audit process and recognizable seals with clear percentages.”
To learn more about Made in USA Certification please visit our website: www.USA-C.com or call 1-561-279-2855 to speak to a representative.
Written By: Julie Reiser is co-founder of Made in USA Certified, the Nation’s leading third party Certification company for “Made in USA” claims.
November 19, 2013 Leave a comment
Final numbers are in and it’s official: PLMA’s 2013 Private Label Trade Show, held which began on Sunday and runs through Tuesday, is the biggest in the 33-year history of the association’s trade shows.
Despite rough weather in the Midwest that cancelled more than 200 flights out of O’hare airport, increases – some of them in double digits – were recorded across the board. The total number of exhibition booths in the three halls of the Rosemont Convention Center was 2,535, for a gain of 10% over last year’s Show, while the number of exhibiting companies at 1,229 was 14% more than participated in 2012. More booths require more exhibitor personnel, so there were 600 more men and women registered on behalf of Private Brand manufacturers and suppliers on the Show floor.
Pre-registration for the Show also reached record highs. Some 9,500 individuals in all categories registered before the Show, an increase of about 12%. The largest gain was among non-members of PLMA, ahead by 35%. Among retail buyers from the country’s leading supermarkets, drug stores, discount stores, dollar stores and other chains pre-registrations increased by 5% or more over last year. Visitor registrations, which topped 4,500 last year, were expected to set a new record for 2013.
Among the special features of this year’s Show was a Pet Pavilion to call attention to the rising importance of store brand pet foods and pet care. The Pet Pavilion was introduced at PLMA’s 2012 trade show and was significantly expanded for 2013.
Private brand sales have continued to expand and set new records for total dollar volume and market share, according to Todd Hale senior vice president of Nielsen. In an opening speech for PLMA’s annual seminar program, Hale reported: “Private brand focus is unprecedented, and best-in-class retailers are investing in brand management activities like their branded peers,” assured Hale. “With slowing population growth and pressures from current and unforeseen competition, winning retailers will be those who step up their innovation efforts to connect with and create demand for their offerings across diverse and evolving population segments.”
He was clear that store brands are doing better than ever. “Store brand sales reached $111.6 billion for the 52-week period ending 8/31/2013 a level that is 18.5% greater than for calendar 2009. National brand sales during that period were $529.4 billion, up 8.0% since 2009. These sales include Walmart POS data along with measurement in the club, dollar and military channels.”
Still, asked Hale, while private brands are gaining share, can it be faster?
He suggests today’s financial headwinds offer an opportunity for private brands to engage shoppers even more. “U.S. consumers continue to be faced with impediments to their spending power. From rising food prices, gas prices, utility/energy bills, health care costs, and payroll tax, the ability to spend continues to be tested.”
One piece of advice offered by Hale: “It may be time to re-think private brand category investments and look for white space opportunities. Look to accelerate growth by focusing energy against the shoppers that matter most – women in most categories and top-spend buyers provide powerful connection points. We see faster growth in a number of small share private brand categories.”
Watch Monday’s PLMA Live!
Posted on November 15, 2013 By Lance Griffin for the Dothan Eagle
If you use gloves to work, play or accessorize, they may have come from Juliana Lam’s company.
Lam, an executive with the Hong Kong-based AML Group, boasts a large portion of the world’s glove market and employs more than 5,000 worldwide.
Lam was in Dothan on Monday for the U.S.-China Manufacturing Symposium preview and said now may be the time for her company to build a facility in the United States, possibly in Alabama.
Rising labor costs in China, high tariffs, a more competitive Chinese currency and an increasing American market have been cited as standard reasons for a “reshoring” of manufacturing facilities in the United States.
Lam, however, said a recent push by Wal-Mart – a core AML vendor — to buy American-made goods can’t be discounted. In fact, Lam said one option for a potential Alabama facility would be to produce a special American-made line of gloves.
Lam’s company has expressed an interest in locating in Monroe County in Alabama, although no deal has been finalized. She said she is looking for a long-term relationship with a community.
“There are of course a lot of cultural differences in China and the United States,” Lam said. “People are the most important element of what we do and I know in Alabama, people care for their jobs.”
AML has several factories in China as well as others in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Cambodia and Indonesia.
Lam was selected as an “Entrepreneur of Tomorrow 2010” by Capital Entrepreneur magazine and was included in the China Top 100 Women Entrepreneur Awards of 2012. She holds an Executive MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business Asia.
While Wal-Mart’s push for American made products may not be the primary reason Lam is looking to locate in the United States, it appears to be a factor in the decision-making process of AML and several other manufacturers which had been using foreign labor.
Redman and Associates announced last month it plans to open a manufacturing facility in Rogers, Ark., to build battery-powered toy cars. The toy cars were previously made in China. The Wall Street Journal reported last month that Malaysian-born entrepreneur Lip Yow was switching manufacturing of his plastic cell phone cases from China to Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
And, of course, American facilities bring the end product closer to the largest market. Lam said American people tend to accessorize more than the Chinese, especially when it comes to gloves. Lam also said that glove sewing is probably the most labor intensive of garment manufacturing jobs because of the precise work that needs to be done in a small area. She said skilled workers are important. The manufacturing landscape of Alabama is littered with thousands of workers who lost their jobs during the manufacturing exodus of the 1990s and 2000s.
Thomasville Mayor Sheldon Day, who helped land Alabama’s first major Chinese Company in Golden Dragon Precise Copper Tubing, said Golden Dragon’s decision to locate in the United States saved the company millions in shipping costs. Day said Golden Dragon buys most of its copper from South America. The Thomasville location allows the company to have the copper shipped into the Port of Mobile and straight up Highway 43 to Thomasville, instead of shipping from South America to China, and then shipping the end product to the United States.
Huntersville, N.C., Mayor Jill Swain, who was part of the Southern Mayors’ contingent in China recently, said numerous Chinese manufacturers mentioned an interest in developing products made in the United States.
“The Made in America brand is important to them,” Swain said.
Harry Moser, president of the Reshoring Initiative, sat down with us after speaking at Commodity/PROcurement EDGE to chat about his passion that gets him out of bed every morning: reshoring manufacturing jobs to the United States.
Man, for a guy that does, by his own count, hundreds of speaking engagements a year in the name of reshoring, Harry Moser must continue to stoke quite a fire in his belly.
As he told MetalMiner (in our video interview, above) recently, he’ll continue to push the benefits of reshoring until he, well, expires. But it seems as though his hard work is surely paying off. You can’t turn around in the mainstream press or blogosphere without running into mentions of Moser, it seems – but due to his work, the trend continues.
In our sister publication, Spend Matters, guest contributor Joel Johnson of GEP gives the readers in our particular sphere a bit more context:
“There are multiple implications and challenges for procurement if the trend of re-shoring continues to gain momentum, but a lack of a strong domestic supply base is the biggest. Having personally worked with firms to bring back specific production lines to the US, I saw that the redevelopment of local and regional supplier networks was the most integral in ensuring the success of manufacturing operations from a procurement standpoint. Enabling such a transition may include more progressive procurement tactics such as direct supplier investment, vertical integration, and the development of knowledge-sharing frameworks.”
An example of how reshoring could be worth it for even smaller US manufacturers: according to Matt Hodges writing in the China Daily (which quotes Moser), “in April, the president of Quality Float Works Inc, a Chicago company that makes hollow float metal balls, told ABC Radio Australia that his experiment with outsourcing to China had proven to be a mistake due to faulty materials, delivery delays and the changing economic landscape.
“It started out being a very positive experience. We were able to save a lot of money, but unfortunately it went downhill,”Jason Speer is quoted as saying. “It became a nightmare. It ended up costing us money overall, because all the time and money that we wasted in trying to check everything … (we) ended up just having to buy it again.”
Moser’s TCO (total cost of ownership) Estimator has some company. According to the comment thread from this electronics-industry-supply-chain-blog post (which also quotes Moser), consulting firm Charlie Barnhart & Associates also has a TCO tool (true cost of outsourcing, in their case), which “comprehends three distinct factors, all with multiple sub-factors that are embedded, which are: 1. Global Pricing for services purchased [ed. note: no surprise there], 2. OEM Internal Spend: what OEMs spend internally to acquire and manage outsourced solution, [and] 3. Geographic [sic] risk associated with solution chosen,” according to commenter Eric Miscoll.
Also, to Joel Johnson’s points above, Chase Richardson of fabricating.com will present “Sourcing in America: How Will Buyers Find You” at the huge FABTECH 2013 conference here in Chicago next week. The site’s ”SourceNow technology enables buyers to build their U.S. supplier network to manufacture made-to-order, made-in-the-USA parts,” according to this release.
But what’s the real takeaway here? Harry Moser is everywhere.
To contact Tara,
Accessories for the iPhone, bottle holders, lens cleaners, and dog collars and leashes were among items for sale by a Utah company on its website and by third-party sellers such as Amazon and REI. The company claimed products were “Made in the USA” and “Truly Made in the USA.”
“Our source of pride and satisfaction abounds from a true ‘Made in USA’ product,” the company said on its website.
Turns out, it lied, at least about some products, the Federal Trade Commission alleges. In fact, the company imports some products and components, the FTC said.
The company, EK Ekcessories, recently settled with the FTC after the agency alleged the company was deceiving consumers with its claims of products being American-made.
EK Ekcessories said in a statement it was unaware of the FTC’s “strict application” for Made in USA guidelines.
The FTC case highlights the confusion — and sometimes, deception — around what exactly Made in the USA means to consumers.
Buying American-made products is a big deal for a lot of people. In a survey by Consumer Reports National Research Center, 78 percent of Americans would rather buy the American product when given a choice between it and an identical one made abroad. And more than 60 percent said they would buy American-made clothes and appliances even if they cost 10 percent more than imported versions.
If you believe part of a product’s value to you is that it is American-made, here are some things to know:
WHAT ‘MADE IN THE USA’ MEANS: The standard to claim a product is made in the U.S., according to an FTC rule from 1997, is that “all, or virtually all,” of the product was made in the United States. The product should contain “no, or negligible,” foreign content. But there are no hard-and-fast percentages. The FTC looks at such factors as the final place of assembly, product costs attributable to various countries, and how far back in the manufacturing chain the foreign content is, said Julia Solomon Ensor, the FTC attorney in charge of the EK Ekcessories case.
The Utah company says it only recently started to offer “a few new lines of products” that had components made offshore. And those products were assembled in the U.S., it said.
Still, it failed to meet the strict requirements for Made in the USA for some products.
HOW TO DETERMINE IF SOMETHING IS AMERICAN-MADE: Many products are not legally required to carry a label identifying where they were made, nor are retailers required to disclose the information. But, according to the FTC, most textiles and wool products must identify where they were made. And automobiles made since Oct. 1, 1994, for sale in the U.S. must have a label stating where the car was assembled. The label also must specify the percentage of equipment made in the U.S. and Canada, and the country where the engine and transmission were made.
Unfortunately, it’s “nearly impossible” for the average consumer to determine whether a product is truly made in the U.S., Ensor said. But if you find a company is making an overly broad claim about Made in the USA, file a complaint at FTC.gov or call 877-FTC-HELP.
“It’s a tough question that I get asked a lot,” Ensor said. “I wish I had a better answer.”
READ LABELS CAREFULLY: A loophole in the strict Made in the USA rule is that a claim can have qualifiers, such as “Made in the USA, with some components assembled in Mexico.” In those cases, the FTC has to make a decision on whether to crack down on such a claim. It uses the test, “How would a reasonable consumer, seeing the claim in context, understand it?”
A picture of an American flag or advertising with imagery associated with the United States does not mean it was made in the U.S.
WHAT AN AMERICAN CAR IS: The notion of buying an American car is especially complicated because so many foreign automakers use American-made parts and have assembly plants in the U.S. while profits flow to a foreign company. Meanwhile, some U.S.-based automakers use some foreign parts and labor. So that becomes a judgment call based on your personal definition of “American car.”
FOLLOW THE PROFITS: Roger Simmermaker, author of the book “How Americans Can Buy American,” suggests starting more simply than with vehicles and appliances. Start in the supermarket “where, ultimately, you spend more of your time and more of your money.”
Making choices at the supermarket often involves similar items about which consumers don’t have a strong preference. So it’s easy to make a switch if buying American is important to you, he said.
His idea is not to just buy American-made products but products from American companies, which pay more taxes than foreign firms.
For example, even though both are American-made and known to be quality brands, Clorox is owned by an American company and Lysol is owned by a British company. Prego is American-owned; Ragu is owned by Unilever, which traces ownership to England and the Netherlands.
Simmermaker says that if you have a strong preference for a brand, go ahead and choose it. But when it’s a toss-up, buy from an American company.
GET AN ONLINE ASSIST: Several websites identify products made in the U.S. and/or made by American companies. Simmermaker’s website, HowToBuyAmerican.com, can help you identify which companies make which brands. Other sites sell items they claim are American-made. They include MadeInUSAForever.com and AllAmericanClothing.com.
RETAILER HELP: Some major retailers will help you identify American-made products. One trick is to try typing “Made in the USA” into a retailer’s online search box, Simmermaker said. Sometimes the search will return products that are American-made. It works with Nordstrom.com,Walmart.com and Amazon.com, for example.
Gregory Karp, the author of “Living Rich by Spending Smart,” writes for the Chicago Tribune
By Rebecca O. Bagley, - Original post in Forbes 11.15.13
The next decade of manufacturing will require an innovation capacity and entrepreneurial spirit that only the U.S. can harness. When we talk about the future of the industry, we are not talking about our fathers’ manufacturing. We are talking about software solutions, service integration, 3D printing and the utilization of big data. These trends will allow entrepreneurs to capture new business opportunities and pave the way for the U.S. to stay relevant in the global manufacturing economy.
As I am thinking about the future of U.S. manufacturing and those that will shape it, I can’t help but marvel at how different the experiences are of young people who explore the sector today.
When America Makes, also known as the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII), in Youngstown recently held an open house, parents brought their children to take a look at this new thing called 3D printing. They were able to see printers ranging from small desktop devices to sophisticated scanners that reverse engineer parts; and they observed layer after layer of plastic and metals forming these specialized devices.
“It’s really neat,” 12-year-old Kody Kojima told Youngstown’sBusiness Journal. Kojima, who visited NAMII with his father Jun, an engineer at the NASA Glenn Research Center, and his two brothers, said he someday wants to work in a place that uses 3D printing.
High school student Chris Steward said he realized 3D printing can simplify complex manufacturing processes and that he would be interested in writing programs for such machines to make parts.
Their experiences are very different from what I encountered when my father, an engineer, took me to see the machinery and production lines at his work. I cherish those experiences and credit them for igniting my passion for the manufacturing sector. But at the same time I am excited U.S. manufacturing is changing. The key question is: Are we positioned to capture that change?
I think in certain parts of the country, we are. But there’s a lot more work to be done to make sure regions across the U.S. have the innovation capacity to take advantage of new trends that will transform the manufacturing sector.
In Northeast Ohio we have taken steps in the right direction because we had to. Over the past three decades, our manufacturing sector suffered more extreme losses than the nation as a whole. While our traditional driver industries still account for 380,000 jobs and drive between two to four times that many in the economy, they are underperforming the national average.
In this context, enhancing the innovation capacity of our traditional industries, growing emerging sectors and increasing the connectivity between the two is an important part of our economic strategy.
Blue Spark Technologies is an example of what this focus on innovation and technology can accomplish. Blue Spark makes and has sold millions of eco-friendly printed batteries, which thanks to their compact size, flat profile and flexibility have almost unlimited applications. The Blue Spark batteries can be used for transdermal drug delivery, musical greeting cards and RFID smart cards, among many other things.
The company was initially launched in 2003 as Thin Battery Technologies to develop flexible, printed batteries built on IP acquired from Eveready Battery Company (now Energizer). The patented IP was the result of years of Eveready knowledge, experience, research and development.
So here’s an example of a company developing a cutting-edge product that resulted directly from a commitment to innovation by a traditional battery maker.
There are tremendous opportunities for traditional manufacturers. Forces that will change or are already changing the face of manufacturing include computer processing power, data storage and collection, bandwidth and software, among others.
“With a proven track-record of innovation, low energy costs and competitive wage rates, the U.S. is well-positioned to continue to lead this manufacturing transformation leveraging emerging technologies and cutting-edge software,” writes Helmuth Ludwig, CEO of Siemens Industry Sector, North America.
Ludwig points to manufacturing’s ripple effect. “It is estimated that every U.S. dollar invested in the industry sector generates $1.4 dollars in other parts of the economy,” he writes.
McKinsey, in a report on manufacturing’s future, points to similar figures. It estimates that 4.7 million U.S. service sector jobs depend on business from manufacturers. While manufacturing share of U.S. employment declined from 25 percent in 1950 to nine percent in 2008, the U.S. still holds the largest share of global, nominal manufacturing gross value added. Hiring overall is slowing, but investments in new technologies and processes will require a highly skilled, higher paid manufacturing workforce.
Unfortunately, we haven’t taken enough advantage of new trends. Manufacturers need help understanding new technologies and how they apply.
This is where regional intermediaries like MAGNET and NorTechcan play a significant role. Regional networks are engines for innovation. They can create resilient infrastructure that allows manufacturers to take advantage of new trends. Since regional networks target the entire value chain from fundamental research to production, they are the framework in which we can enhance the innovation capacity of manufacturers.
As Ludwig points out, we must facilitate a culture of innovation by fostering R&D in manufacturing; build bridges between academic institutions, industry and the public sector to strengthen workforce development; and address modern manufacturing’s image problem.
The bottom line is that U.S. manufacturing is not at a dead end, but at a crossroads – a crossroads where innovation, new technologies, entrepreneurial companies and big trends are paving the way for America to become a “Nation of Makers” again.
November 12, 2013 Leave a comment
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