'Made in the USA' making a comeback...

Engineer

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Oct 9, 1999
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http://finance.yahoo.com/news/made-usa-making-comeback-203855011.html

A curious thing is happening among American shoppers. More people are taking a moment to flip over an item or fish for a label and ask, is it "Made in the USA?"

Walmart (WMT), the nation's largest retailer, earlier this year announced it will boost sourcing of U.S. products by $50 billion during the next 10 years. General Electric (GE) is investing $1 billion through 2014 to revitalize its U.S. appliances business and create more than 1,500 U.S. jobs.

Mom-and-pops are also engineering entire business strategies devoted to locally made goods - everything from toys to housewares. And it's not simply patriotism and desire for perceived safer products which are altering shopping habits.

The recession, and still flat recovery for many Americans, have created a painful realization. All those cheap goods made in China and elsewhere come at a price -- lost U.S. manufacturing jobs. A growing pocket of consumers, in fact, are connecting the economic dots between their shopping carts - brimming with foreign-made stuff -- and America's future.


(Read More: A $1 Billion Company With No Bosses)

They're calculating the trade-offs of paying a little more for locally-made goods. "The Great Recession certainly brought that home, and highlighted the fact that so many jobs have been lost," said James Cerruti, senior partner for strategy and research at consulting firm Brandlogic. "People have become aware of that."

"'Made in the USA' is known for one thing, quality," said Robert von Goeben, co-founder of California-based Green Toys. All of their products from teething toys to blocks are made domestically and shipped to 75 countries.

"We are reaching a tipping point, where Americans are relearning its competitive advantage," von Goeben said. "It's not about the cheapest product, but the best quality product."

(Read more: Youngstown's Story: Rust Belt Turns to 'Tech Belt' in the Name of Jobs)

From Offshore Production to Insourcing

For many consumers, affordability has driven the bulk of purchasing decisions. Businesses in turn have ventured abroad in search of cheap labor and specific manufacturing skills to keep prices down.

So what's driving big and small businesses to increase sourcing of U.S. products -- beyond the obvious good PR?

In short, a shift in global manufacturing that's in the early stages. A combination of factors including rising labor costs are eroding China's cost advantage as an export platform for North America.

(Read more: Etch A Sketch's Incredible Toy Legacy - And Burden)

Mexico, meanwhile, is rebounding as a manufacturing base, and wages there will be significantly lower than in China, according to a Boston Consulting Group report. By 2015, BCG forecasts that for many goods destined for North American consumers -- manufacturing in some parts of the U.S. will be just as economical as manufacturing in China.

For years, the main attraction of China outsourcing has been access to low-cost labor. But pile on related business costs such as transportation of goods, duties and industrial real-estate expenses, and the global manufacturing landscape is no longer China-dependent.

Domestic manufacturing, meanwhile, is on the mend. The pace of growth in the U.S. manufacturing sector picked up to its fastest rate in over a year and a half in February, as new orders continued to accelerate.

"The cost competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing is on the rise," said Cerruti of Brandlogic.

(Read more: Manufacturing Sector Surges; US Construction Contracts)

Of course, plenty of goods are still made abroad. And many Americans are broke, jobless or underemployed four years after the 2008 economic crisis. An unemployment measure that factors in those who have quit looking for jobs, as well as those working part-time for economic reasons, is at 14.4 percent. For many, buying "Made in the USA" is a luxury they can't afford.

USA Love List

Despite many shoppers' thin wallets, there's a growing appetite for domestically-made goods.

Blogger Sarah Wagner has turned her passion for "Made in USA" products into a successful website. USA Love List is devoted to sourcing and showcasing where to buy domestically-made items, ranging from lip gloss to pet food. She regularly scans the aisles of big retailers such as Costco (COST) and Target (TGT) for American-made goods.




Maybe....just maybe people are now realizing that the foundation (middle class) can't just be ripped out and the building still stand. I guess time will tell. Even Walmart sees the writing that was on the wall (well, maybe).
 

Doppel

Lifer
Feb 5, 2011
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Maybe....just maybe people are now realizing that the foundation (middle class) can't just be ripped out and the building still stand. I guess time will tell. Even Walmart sees the writing that was on the wall (well, maybe).
Doubt it. People will continue to strive for cheaper and Chinese made is not always junk. Most claims to the contrary ignore the compulsion of the tragedy of the commons. A lot of the growth and/or return of US manufacturing is via technological advances (automation). This is a good thing, but it's a meaningful point.
 

Engineer

Elite Member
Oct 9, 1999
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Doubt it. People will continue to strive for cheaper and Chinese made is not always junk. Most claims to the contrary ignore the compulsion of the tragedy of the commons. A lot of the growth and/or return of US manufacturing is via technological advances (automation). This is a good thing, but it's a meaningful point.


A factory full of robots in the US is better (for us) than a factory full of people elsewhere because, even with robots (and automation), there are still operators and there are engineers (usually more to support the automation) as well as many other plant personnel. Then throw in the many thousands of people who develop, build, program and support the automation (at least in the US as I know that can be offshored too).
 

Doppel

Lifer
Feb 5, 2011
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A factory full of robots in the US is better (for us) than a factory full of people elsewhere because, even with robots (and automation), there are still operators and there are engineers (usually more to support the automation) as well as many other plant personnel. Then throw in the many thousands of people who develop, build, program and support the automation (at least in the US as I know that can be offshored too).
:thumbsup:
 

Nintendesert

Diamond Member
Mar 28, 2010
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I've seen some more stuff in Wal-Mart while shopping that states made in the USA. Some shelving units and the like. They are prices pretty competitively to the Chinese crap. I hope more people choose the USA option, it's nothing about Nationalism or hating on Chinese, it's simply supporting your fellow worker.

Too much of the politics (See the retard in the government worker's thread) is bent on simply one middle class group of workers screwing the other group while companies maximize profits by screwing them both over with outsourcing and other tax breaks and shenanigans.
 

Matt1970

Lifer
Mar 19, 2007
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A factory full of robots in the US is better (for us) than a factory full of people elsewhere because, even with robots (and automation), there are still operators and there are engineers (usually more to support the automation) as well as many other plant personnel. Then throw in the many thousands of people who develop, build, program and support the automation (at least in the US as I know that can be offshored too).

Hell yes, we need to buy more USA products. And yes, they can be found, even at Walmart.
 

zanejohnson

Diamond Member
Nov 29, 2002
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this is great! i've noticed it as well, you see we need a whole other "class" of quality/lack there of cheap stuff, all it means for everyone is just more options!!!
 

Moonbeam

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Nov 24, 1999
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A new industrial revolution is just now beginning that is going to make local the name of the game.
 

dmcowen674

No Lifer
Oct 13, 1999
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Originally Posted by Doppel
Doubt it. People will continue to strive for cheaper and Chinese made is not always junk. Most claims to the contrary ignore the compulsion of the tragedy of the commons. A lot of the growth and/or return of US manufacturing is via technological advances (automation). This is a good thing, but it's a meaningful point.


A factory full of robots in the US is better (for us) than a factory full of people elsewhere because, even with robots (and automation), there are still operators and there are engineers (usually more to support the automation) as well as many other plant personnel. Then throw in the many thousands of people who develop, build, program and support the automation (at least in the US as I know that can be offshored too).

Let him and his buddies ilk continue to spew, their hate for America is in clear black and white for the world to see.
 

Matt1970

Lifer
Mar 19, 2007
12,320
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Originally Posted by Doppel
Doubt it. People will continue to strive for cheaper and Chinese made is not always junk. Most claims to the contrary ignore the compulsion of the tragedy of the commons. A lot of the growth and/or return of US manufacturing is via technological advances (automation). This is a good thing, but it's a meaningful point.




Let him and his buddies ilk continue to spew, their hate for America is in clear black and white for the world to see.

WTF are you talking about? There was no hatred there.
 

Londo_Jowo

Lifer
Jan 31, 2010
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londojowo.hypermart.net
A factory full of robots in the US is better (for us) than a factory full of people elsewhere because, even with robots (and automation), there are still operators and there are engineers (usually more to support the automation) as well as many other plant personnel. Then throw in the many thousands of peoplewho develop, build, program and support the automation (at least in the US as I know that can be offshored too).

Installation and maintenance would have to be local but to develop, build, and program can be accomplished outside the US (including online programming). Even operation can be performed remotely via internet connection to the equipment.

When operators leave the platforms for hurricanes they're controlled by onshore operators via a satellite link. Engineers for the company for whom I work monitor client's equipment worldwide and can predict when maintenance is required or when a unit is showing signs that an catastrophic failure is imminent.
 

ivwshane

Lifer
May 15, 2000
32,124
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My concern is the labeling of "made in America" where just enough of it was made in America to get the label or even worse when things are labeled "made in America" but aren't made in America but rather someplace outside of America that is somehow classified as American.

I'm trying to find examples.
 

PottedMeat

Lifer
Apr 17, 2002
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My concern is the labeling of "made in America" where just enough of it was made in America to get the label or even worse when things are labeled "made in America" but aren't made in America but rather someplace outside of America that is somehow classified as American.

I'm trying to find examples.

quite a few things are 'assembled in usa'. or 'made in usa' = made in some far off us territory
 

Nintendesert

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Mar 28, 2010
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My concern is the labeling of "made in America" where just enough of it was made in America to get the label or even worse when things are labeled "made in America" but aren't made in America but rather someplace outside of America that is somehow classified as American.

I'm trying to find examples.



Well the Apple "Assembled in the USA" is while technically correct created as a means of exploiting the "Made in the USA" labeling and confusing consumers.

I'm very sure they aren't the only ones either.
 

Matt1970

Lifer
Mar 19, 2007
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Even a lot of the electronics that are made overseas are heavily automated. There souldn't be too much more of a cost associated with bringing production to the US.
 

Engineer

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Oct 9, 1999
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Installation and maintenance would have to be local but to develop, build, and program can be accomplished outside the US (including online programming). Even operation can be performed remotely via internet connection to the equipment.

That is rarely done (usually by larger Japanese companies who, through loyalty, buy their equipment from Japan if possible) in US factories. Working as a Controls Engineer, I see and know this VERY well (at least for the time being). People want their equipment and controls built locally for support and it is usually a nightmare to get remote support. The internet doesn't always give the best programming speeds and flexibility on industrial equipment, especially when the control software doesn't traverse the various firewalls, etc. that the internet brings. Remember, when it comes to factories, much of the equipment is a unique, stand alone piece of equipment and in many cases, they can be one of a kind. With that in mind, the locals must know how to program the equipment and language can be a severe barrier (I have seen this all week while at a Japanese customer).

You might be talking about oil rigs, etc. but it doesn't work that way very often in factories. In fact, it's discouraged to program remotely unless there are several people talking via phone to make sure that there is no damage or that nobody gets hurt.
 
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Moonbeam

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Nov 24, 1999
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Once a poor man was walking down the road in a state of dejection over his poverty. A man sensitive to the feelings of others and also well off saw him walking toward a bridge so he put a bag of money in the middle of it, but the poor man stepped over it and walked on in his focused internal lament.
 

Svnla

Lifer
Nov 10, 2003
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There are a few factors for some of the jobs coming back to the US, and have nothing to do with "patriotic":

1. Manufacturing costs in China are getting higher and higher (ABC News tonight said the cost was 30%+/year) due to employees demand higher salary and higher cost of environment compliance (heavy smoke in China's cities/heavy pollution in the air, water, and land).
2. Ability for faster turn around/fix the glitches/new items if made in US for US market.
3. Higher productivity/output in the US and still going up (ABC News said 1 US = 10 Chinese).
4. More and more people are paying attention to the quality problems with made in China products.
 
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Londo_Jowo

Lifer
Jan 31, 2010
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londojowo.hypermart.net
That is rarely done (usually by larger Japanese companies who, through loyalty, buy their equipment from Japan if possible) in US factories. Working as a Controls Engineer, I see and know this VERY well (at least for the time being). People want their equipment and controls built locally for support and it is usually a nightmare to get remote support. The internet doesn't always give the best programming speeds and flexibility on industrial equipment, especially when the control software doesn't traverse the various firewalls, etc. that the internet brings. Remember, when it comes to factories, much of the equipment is a unique, stand alone piece of equipment and in many cases, they can be one of a kind. With that in mind, the locals must know how to program the equipment and language can be a severe barrier (I have seen this all week while at a Japanese customer).

You might be talking about oil rigs, etc. but it doesn't work that way very often in factories. In fact, it's discouraged to program remotely unless there are several people talking via phone to make sure that there is no damage or that nobody gets hurt.

Guess it depends on the control system. I've made online program changes (installed some logic to capture instability issues) when I was half way around the world from the PLC controller. I was in Houston and PLC was offshore Vietnam.
 

Engineer

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Oct 9, 1999
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Guess it depends on the control system. I've made online program changes (installed some logic to capture instability issues) when I was half way around the world from the PLC controller. I was in Houston and PLC was offshore Vietnam.

I guess the Vietnamese aren't as anal about letting people into their IT systems and factory systems remotely then. The 2 that I've worked with in the states to get access from the outside was worse than trying to carry a M16 onto a plane.
 

zanejohnson

Diamond Member
Nov 29, 2002
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81
A new industrial revolution is just now beginning that is going to make local the name of the game.

this. Moonbeam, you have a gift of vision.


i see it too... humans aint finished. not even CLOSE. we're about to do some crazy ancient civilations shit...
 

Zorba

Lifer
Oct 22, 1999
14,292
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My concern is the labeling of "made in America" where just enough of it was made in America to get the label or even worse when things are labeled "made in America" but aren't made in America but rather someplace outside of America that is somehow classified as American.

I'm trying to find examples.

At the company I currently work for we receive a lot of customer specs that say "US materials only" or "No Asia materials." The problem is almost all of the valve and regulator companies make all of their piece parts in China/India ship them to the US, assemble them and then call them "Made in the USA."

It really pisses me off that even when someone is willing to pay top $ for all US materials, it is almost impossible to actually find them and then when you do you never know if it is really actually "made in the US."
 

ivwshane

Lifer
May 15, 2000
32,124
14,766
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At the company I currently work for we receive a lot of customer specs that say "US materials only" or "No Asia materials." The problem is almost all of the valve and regulator companies make all of their piece parts in China/India ship them to the US, assemble them and then call them "Made in the USA."

It really pisses me off that even when someone is willing to pay top $ for all US materials, it is almost impossible to actually find them and then when you do you never know if it is really actually "made in the US."

And I imagine its going to get worse as more people becone pro "made in the USA", companies will do whatever it takes to get the label even if you or I would hardly call it made in america. I hope some legislation passes that says all of the product has to be made here in order to use the label.