Made In The USA

Independence Day is tomorrow, July 4th. It was on this date in 1776 the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence and thirteen former British colonies became the United States of America. 241 year ago, our nation was made. This year, I’m celebrating Made In USA.

Recently I needed to buy a rather pricy piece of equipment for my business. As with most things these days, there were many options from all over the world. Capabilities, reliability, options, support, price and reputation all played a part in my decision. I chose the product made in the USA.

When I received my shipment, I noticed a particular line on the packing list. It was Item # 14–1035–00 Label, “Made in the USA”. Sure enough, that label was prominently, and proudly displayed on the front of the product, the very one in the image that accompanies this article. The equipment, software and all the trimmings are from a company in Arizona that has been in business for over 30 years. All of the company’s engineering, development, assembly, training, support and operations are in this same location and always have been. Best of all, they are great people to do business with.

The United States used to be the world leader in innovation and manufacturing. We are still leading in innovation, although more and more of that is being outsourced offshore. Manufacturing in the US is now only a fraction of what it used to be. Why is that?

If you ask the big corporations, they say they need to outsource work and production out of the country in order to effectively compete. They say doing the same work and building the same products in the US would make their products and services more expensive and nobody would pay that amount. I say that’s a load of bull.

The real reason is profit and greed. When is the last time you saw a company drop their prices on a product because they moved production off shore? Their price to produce that product dropped by X% and no, that savings wasn’t passed along to you. Simply put, if you can make $5 profit on a widget made in the US vs. $10 on the same widget made outside our borders, they’re going to go outside every time. Is $5 profit a bad thing? No, of course not. But $10 is twice as much as $5. Greed is good, or so they say.

Companies also complain the American worker is overpaid and lazy. While this may be true for some individuals, as it would be for any civilization anywhere in the world, I don’t believe it to be a valid assessment. I think it’s an excuse. Does it cost more to pay American workers? Yes, but that’s the price we pay for a robust economy. And it’s not like those dollars don’t get spent. If American workers have become obsolete it is because the companies that employ them no longer see them as an asset to the company, only pricey liability on the company books.

Was my purchase decision influenced by the location of the company? Absolutely. Now does that mean I would have purchased an inferior piece of equipment just to have a “Made in the USA” label on it? Of course not, I’m patriotic, not idiotic. In this case I was fortunate to find an American company that is doing it right. Products and services made in the USA have to compete favorably with the world on all facets of what they make. You can’t just put an American flag on a piece of crap and expect people to buy it based solely on national pride.

During his inauguration speech on January 20, 1961, President John F. Kennedy stated: “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.” It was a call to action for the nation, to do what is right for the greater good. The most interesting thing is that the greater good for individuals very often correlates with the greater good for all. You just have to make the right choice.

As you are celebrating our nation’s birthday this week, I invite you to not only think about how the USA was made, but what is made in the USA. What can we do individually and as a nation, to make what is made here, even better.

Bob

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