BLUE-COLLAR workers in fields like manufacturing — particularly when they make products on American soil — are again becoming a favorite subject for white-collar workers on Madison Avenue.
The trend was born of the economic worries that followed the financial crisis in 2008. Recently, it is gaining steam — appropriate, since the ads often use blasts of steam to signal something is being built — with proposals in Washington to offer incentives to encourage the location or relocation of factories in the United States.
David Paul – President, Fiscal Strategies Group – Posted: 02/13/2012 8:30 am
Apple aficionados suffered a blow a couple of weeks ago. All of those beautiful products, it turns out, are the product of an industrial complex that is nothing if not one step removed from slave labor.
But of course there is nothing new here. Walmart has long prospered as a company that found ways to drive down the cost of stuff that Americans want. And China has long been the place where companies to go to drive down cost.
For several decades, dating back to the post World War II years, relatively unfettered access to the American consumer has been the means for pulling Asian workers out of deep poverty. Japan emerged as an industrial colossus under the tutelage of Edward Deming. The Asian tigers came next. Vietnam and Sri Lanka have nibbled around the edges, while China embraced the export-led economic development model under Deng Xiaoping.
By Parija Kavilanz @CNNMoney February 13, 2012: 11:51 AM ET
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — U.S. small businesses that initially rushed to Chinese factories to get their products made are now dumping them for American manufacturers.
And the shift is gaining traction, said industry experts who match U.S. small companies with domestic firms.
Mitch Free, the founder and CEO of Atlanta-based MFG.com, said his company has seen a 15% uptick in inquiries since 2009 from U.S. firms looking for American factories to replace their Chinese suppliers.
MFG.com is one of the largest online directories used by businesses to find domestic manufacturers.
One reason behind the trend is that “Chinese manufacturing has become expensive,” Free explained.
Another is that the U.S. economy is still uncertain. Most small businesses are forced to order large quantities to justify costs when dealing with companies overseas, he said. And that’s a risky move if American consumers are not splurging yet.
Manufacturers closer to home allow small businesses to order smaller batches, which means less of their money is tied up if their inventory is unsold, he said.
Revive Made in USA? Easier said than done
WindStream Technologies knows well the value of manufacturing in the United States.
In December 2010, the startup selected a Chinese factory to make 35 prototypes of its wind turbines, because they wanted them “quickly and cheaply,” said David Dingman, Windstream’s lead mechanical engineer.
It was a disaster. “The prototypes that the Chinese manufacturer sent back to us were junk,” said Dingman. “There were parts that were put upside down. Other parts were poor quality. Some even fell off.”
WindStream decided not to have the final products made in China.
The company was able to snag U.S. manufacturers with the help of MFG.com.
And last month, it started mass producing its small wind turbines for home use at its new 45,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in North Vernon, Ind. The company employs 30 workers and is hoping to ramp up to 100, if it lands a deal to sell the turbines at a mass retailer, said Dingman.
WindStream now has its turbine covers made in Chicago, while some metal parts are produced in Ohio.
Some of the turbines parts are still made in China, simply because the raw materials to make them don’t exist in the United States, said Dingham. But “the Midwest proved to be terrific for us,” he said.
Indeed. WindStream produces its turbines at a 10% lower cost per unit compared to what the company would have paid in China, thanks to its American suppliers that provide competitive prices and the elimination of overseas shipping and travel costs.
Del Mar, Calif., entrepreneur and inventor Julie Zizka actually liked the way her tote bags looked after a Chinese manufacturer produced 5,000 of them for her in 2008.
But she still was not a fan of having her manufacturing done overseas. She had concerns about production delays and fretted about how the extensive amount of transportation used was hurting the environment. What’s more, she noticed that her customers were preferring products that were made in the United States.
By 2011, she was looking for a U.S. manufacturer to produce her “Tote Buddy,” a colorful tote for storing reusable plastic bags.
She came across one after searching online and seeing ads for Bristol Custom Solutions, which heavily advertises on MacRAE’s Blue Book.
MacRAE’s has seen a pickup in inquiries — just like Zizka’s — from companies wanting to replace Chinese suppliers with American ones, said Lori Meloche, MacRAE’s vice president of marketing.
The directory — first published in the United States in 1893 as a “blue-colored book” — has since evolved into a website with more than 1.2 million North American industrial manufacturers, which averages 1.5 million users monthly.
What small firms want from Obama’s manufacturing plan
Zizka connected with Bristol, a 26-year-old, Tennessee-based manufacturer, best-known for making secure locking bags used by banks and the federal government to transport cash and other valuables.
“People have been contacting us all the time lately, telling us they don’t want to produce their products in China,” said Brandon Cantrell, Bristol’s general manager.
When Zizka sent Bristol a sample of the tote, the company redesigned it and brought down some of her costs, said Cantrell.
Today, Bristol is making 1,000 new Tote Buddy bags for sale this spring. For Zizka, the unit price for one of her Tote Buddy bags made in Cantrell’s factory is still 170% higher than for one made in the Chinese factory, said Cantrell.
But that doesn’t bother Zizka.
“My customers want my bag made in the U.S.,” she said, “I’m willing to absorb that cost if I can control the quality, get them to my customers faster and help the environment as well.”
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – General Electric Co plans to hire 5,000 U.S. military veterans over the next five years and to invest $580 million to expand its aviation footprint in the United States this year.
The largest U.S. conglomerate unveiled the moves ahead of a four-day meeting it is convening in Washington starting on Monday to focus on boosting the U.S. economy, which has been slow to recover from a brutal 2007-2009 recession.
“We should have the confidence to act and to restore American competitiveness,” Chief Executive Jeff Immelt, a top adviser on jobs and the economy to President Barack Obama, said in a statement.
The U.S. unemployment rate — seen as the main barrier to a move vibrant recovery — fell to a near three-year low of 8.3 percent in January, helped in part by the manufacturing sector adding about 50,000 workers. Even with that improvement, 23.8 million Americans remain out of work or underemployed, which is keeping the economy a key issue heading into November’s presidential elections.
The world’s largest maker of jet engines plans this year to open three new U.S. aviation plants, in Ellisville, Mississippi; Auburn, Alabama, and Dayton, Ohio. After cutting headcount significantly during the recession — as did its major peers including United Technologies Corp and Caterpillar Inc — GE has added about 9,000 U.S. workers since 2009, and has already announced plans to hire another 4,500 people.
The Fairfield, Connecticut-based company, whose operations range from making loans to mid-sized businesses to manufacturing railroad locomotives, plans to discuss these moves at the Washington meeting. Boeing Co CEO James McNerney and Dow Chemical Co CEO Andrew Liveris are also scheduled to speak.
(Reporting By Scott Malone; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)
Paramount Sleep announced that Fresno, Calif., bedding manufacturer Cannon Sleep Products has licensed its bedding brands.
Cannon is licensed to manufacture and distribute the products in California, Oregon, Nevada and Arizona. Cannon also has signed a license with Paramount to manufacture and sell A.H. Beard, an Australian luxury line that Paramount holds exclusive rights to in the United States.
“In Cannon, we partnered with a family and a company with many shared values—integrity, hard work and a shared growth vision for the future,” said Jamie Diamonstein, president of Paramount Sleep.
Like Paramount, Cannon Sleep Products is a third-generation, family-owned mattress producer. Founded in 1959, the company manufactures high-quality mattresses, box springs, futon mattresses, and futon covers.
“For more than 50 years my family has proudly manufactured the highest quality bedding,” said Cannon Vice President Rion Morgenstern. “The more we work with the Diamonstein family and see the perseverance and innovation that has become the hallmark of Paramount Sleep, the more excited we become about our new alliance.”
Cannon will produce Paramount mattress lines including Nature’s Spa, Heavy Duty (HD), Back Performance, Sleep For Success, and Boutique Hotel, as well as A.H. Beard. Last April, Paramount entered into a strategic alliance with Omaha Bedding to manufacture, service and support the full line of Paramount’s mattresses.
About Paramount Sleep: Paramount Sleep is truly a company of bedding people, dedicated to carrying on its legacy of integrity, innovation and American made craftsmanship for more than 80 years. It is the only national mattress company to be Made in USA Certified®. The company’s mattress lines include: A.H. Beard, Back Performance, Boutique Hotel, GoodNiteKids, Heavy Duty, Nature’s Spa, Quilt O PEDIC, and Sleep for Success.
About Cannon Sleep Products: Cannon Sleep Products is the number one independent mattress manufacturer in northern California. Founded in 1959, it is a third-generation, family-owned company with a vision to be the leading bedding producer on the west coast. Cannon operates out of a 150,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art, purpose-built facility currently shipping nearly 200,000 units each year across the west coast.
American workers are far, far more productive than their Chinese counterparts.
Seem like an overly bold statement to make? Consider a recent study published by the Boston Consulting Group entitled Made in America, Again. The study makes just that assertion. And what happens when you combine lower productivity with the rising wages that Chinese laborers now demand? We might be looking at the perfect recipe for the rebirth of American manufacturing. Continue reading “‘Made in China’ Is Starting to Get Too Expensive”→
“We’re willing to DIE for our country, but are we willing to BUY for it?”
Josh and his film crew will set out on a journey in which he will live off USA made products for 30 days. During his travels, he will speak and interview business-owners, homeowners, politicians, economists and American consumers to find out, among other things, what ‘Made in America’ means to them. We will help Josh and his crew verify the made in USA claim with the help and support of Made in USA Certified.
Their goal is to raise $5,000 for the film during this campaign. A $10 donation will get your name in the rolling credits of the film under “Minutemen”. How cool will that be!
We believe Josh and his crew are a part of the Made In America Movement. This film will help gain more exposure for this Movement. This is why we are asking for your support.
Diane Sawyer & David Muir of World News with Diane Sawyer made everyone across the nation aware of this Movement last year with their ‘Made in America’ segments on ABC News, asking you all if you are “IN”. Now we are asking you, are you in?
Let’s help Josh Miller on his journey. Go to the link below. Donate your $10 (or more!) and let them know you are a proud supporter of the Made in America Movement. Your support and donations really do matter!