U.S Manufacturing        

What does “Made in the USA” mean to you?

May 22, 2015

What does “Made in the USA” mean to you?

Last month, we sent out an article titled “Why Made in America Matters” and received a lot of feedback from readers offering their opinion on what seems to be a topic of conversation among many. We appreciate the response and, as always, we encourage you to ask questions, make comments, or offer your opinions on any of the topics we discuss. Thanks to all those who took time to email us regarding this article (who will not be named for privacy reasons) – we really appreciate it.

If you didn’t get a chance to read the article, please click here to view it.

>>> It seems to me that one of the biggest motivators for manufacturers going overseas is the demand for lower cost items. I have seen that consumers will say they will pay more, but when push comes to shove, they will opt for the cheaper overseas item.

I applaud your educational approach and hope those young consumers will buy local as well as swaying their parents to do the same. We as a society need to move beyond instant gratification and look at long-term solutions.

>>> It’s interesting to see the American side of things in terms of how a lot of the Made in America subject has much to do with pride and nationalism, but then it comes to a Canadian perspective.

Even in my mindset or others around me. When something says Made in America it is nice to see BUT it depends on what it is and the price. If it is a low cost item like something as simple as a garden shovel from Home Depot, it is almost preferred that it is Made in China, because their quality standard for cheaper plastic items is fairly high now and American items don’t feel as high quality. It could be because those industries in America do not really exist anymore and they have to start from scratch and compete in manufacturing cost.

When it comes to factory machinery German is the top choice (but I feel that is agreed upon in many parts of the world). However, where many feel America dominates (however Japan is catching up) is with Agricultural equipment and large item manufacturing such as trucks. If it is affordable items people here tend to feel either they cut corners to be able to make it affordable for the consumer or they destroy some sort of union job (unions are very strong in Canada).

Another similar but interesting subject is regarding what my partner said about American manufacturing. She is a manufacturing engineer and she said she prefers to work with Canadian and Mexican manufacturers because their work is better. The reason for this is that Canadian and Mexican manufactures made a better product from the start due to lack of financial resources. While American manufactures can afford to be not as efficient. However that has slightly changed since 2008.

Having American manufacturing is always good for jobs and most importantly pride. Americans did build a rocket that was made in America with American/German engineers to send man to the moon. That is something to be very proud of.

>>> It’s very good you point out how important it is to bring manufacturing back to America and the desire and need for it. I personally want to buy American products but the selection is small. It’s good to see companies who do manufacture in America.

There were also those who had a different perspective on the topic based off of their experiences.

>>> The idea that “buying American” leads to more economic stability is a fallacy. The best way for an economy to prosper is if all actors (producers and consumers) make decisions based on where they get the best value for their money. Economic patriotism is a form of protectionism that just leads to inefficient use of resources (which will hurt the economy, not boost it).

>>> When I see a label that says, “made in USA”, it makes me think of Walmart and/or that a product may only be partially made is USA. I think Walmart ruined that label.

>>> As a corporate videographer and photographer I have been inside manufacturing facilities all over the world. Every single one I’ve seen (China, Korea, Japan, Philippines, Malaysia, India, Indonesia, Germany, Italy, Hungary and more) has been cleaner, safer, more highly ISO certified and overall much more professional an operation than the many US manufacturing facilities I’ve been in.

I can tell you from experience that MiUSA is a marketing ploy that panders to the ever-increasing xenophobic tendencies of a great many US consumers and is generally meaningless from the standpoints of lead-times, quality and cost. And for those who think “Buying American” helps the US economy, well, I guess there are worse pseudo-altruistic reasons to do something.

I can think of dozens of reasons why it’d be great to bring manufacturing back to the US, truly. And I can think of billions of reasons why most manufacturers won’t do so (taxes, union payrolls, crumbling infrastructure, dwindling market share).

Thanks again to all those who shared their thoughts. And, on a side note, if you’re interested in watching an episode of How It’s Made, Graymills Corporation special will be aired June 11th at 8pm CST.


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