I’ve spent over 35 years working for manufacturers in the American fastener industry, with most of those years in sales and customer service management positions. Over that period of time I’ve had the opportunity to visit more industrial manufacturers in the U.S.A. than I can recall. I’ve toured electric motor plants that produced thousands of motors weekly, bicycle plants that shipped out high- and low-end bicycles by the truckload, and appliance plants that churned out household items like disposals and refrigerators in quantities that supported the majority of new home starts in any given year. Add in a multitude of cable reel, conveyor, automotive, and various recreational product plants, and it’s safe to say I’ve seen a significant slice of American manufacturing during the last three decades.
Some of my most memorable recollections from these visits involve conversations with production line personnel — the people responsible for assembly of the products I’ve mentioned. They want to be sure the components they’re using are available when they need them, and they expect the quality level of those components to be consistently perfect. They have a sense of pride in their finished product, whether it be a lawn mower, or a plywood reel, or a diesel engine. Those of us who supply them with the components that hold these products together share that same sense of pride, which comes from knowing we produced those parts in the U.S.A.
Yes, we still manufacture things in this country, and even though many industries have experimented with moving production to foreign locations, there is more domestic reshoring and onshoring activity taking place each month. More companies are realizing the benefits of having a domestic manufacturer who consistently-offers premium quality product at a competitive price in a matter of days (or hours), rather than weeks or months. Domestic freight rates are more attractive than those offered by overseas suppliers, and the labor rate differential between the U.S. and many of our foreign competitors has narrowed dramatically.
We can compete, folks. Let’s get the word out that American manufacturing is alive and getting healthier on a daily basis. We’ve all got a stake in this.