When I posted the question “Would you buy products made in the USA?” on social media, I got a flood of responses. As a manufacturer, we have to deal with many different issues, and one of those is price. Americans have gotten used to paying low prices for products that are made in other countries, mostly China.
I got a quick lesson in importing when the company I was licensing my product to went bankrupt only weeks before we were to sign our contract. I didn’t have time to wait, and realized I was going to have to do it myself. I had never even run a business before, and here I was searching for international manufacturers, and learning about freight brokers, ports, and ocean shipping. I also have to deal with regulations and taxes in the other countries I ship to. Plus, you have to allow about 30 days for delivery and usually have to buy in large quantities.
I have hope that we will soon be bringing cheaper and better manufacturing back to the U.S. through innovative manufacturing systems like robotics and 3-D printing. Right now robotics in manufacturing is still new. They are limited to one task, and aren’t yet suitable for assembling small items. But new models currently being developed will be able to assemble any kind of product, and will be able to work alongside humans without danger of injuring them.
Since wages have soared in China, they have also begun to invest heavily in robotic manufacturing. The small, family owned factory I use there is constantly increasing my prices. Hopefully, robotic manufacturing used here to lower prices will mean the end of manufacturers always having to chase the lowest wages.
Buying products made in the USA is something many Americans feel strongly about. In fact, about 80% of the people I polled said they would rather buy American made. And it’s a completely bi-partisan issue. Everyone knows American-made products, for now, will be more expensive. The question is, how much more?
Here are some of the answers I got when I asked about buying “Made in USA” products:
“I would not pay more for products specially made in America, since I
strongly believe in free trade and getting the best value for money.
America has always been best when it competes with the rest of the world,
and I don’t think protectionism will help Americans in the long term.”
“As a business owner, I’m always concerned with my bottom line. As a consumer, I think in the same way. How much am I spending – and how much do I have left over.