The “Made in America” sticker you see on products means different things to different people. Some see it as incentive to buy because it supports the U.S. job market. Some think it stands for quality in manufacturing. Others merely anticipate higher prices because American workers are better paid than their international counterparts (some of whom work in sweat shop settings). But however you feel about products manufactured in America, you cannot deny that there are several good reasons to work with U.S. companies when it comes to manufacturing products for your own business. Here are a few you’ll want to consider before you opt for overseas labor.
- Support local businesses. As an American business owner yourself, you can see the benefit in having local proprietors support each other. For one thing, producing goods that are made in America is a great selling point, and you’ll probably find that some consumers and corporate clients buy your products simply because they want to support home-grown industry. In other words, one good deed begets another. However, you are also participating in a culture of mutual support. When more Americans buy American, including business owners, it benefits the economy and the entire country as a result.
- Quality materials. When you purchase materials from foreign countries, you never know what you’re going to get. This has to do with their standards, laws, and regulations, which you may not understand and you certainly don’t have any control over. In the U.S. we have set levels for acceptable quality of goods, and domestic companies make it their business to remain in compliance. But when you have goods manufactured internationally, you may not get the same quality. Just look at all of the toy recalls over the past several years; some of the biggest recalls centered on toys from China that were found to contain potentially harmful levels of lead in the paint or other manufacturing flaws.
- Quality work. There’s a reason that American workers earn higher salaries than their counterparts in other countries. For one thing, there are laws in place to ensure livable wages and protect against forced labor. But Americans are also trained laborers, selected for their knowledge and skill. So you know that having your products manufactured on home turf will result in the highest quality construction.
- Fair trade. When you outsource your supply chain to other countries, there’s always the possibility that you’re going to end up financing sweat shops. This could mean that your products are the result of forced or even child labor. How do you think they’re able to offer such low prices? American manufacturers are pretty much guaranteed to offer fair trade services because they are subject to labor laws.
- Legal protections. As a company doing business with American manufacturers you can reasonably assume that your products are going to meet certain standards. Even if you’re saving money by partnering with a company that endorses the lean manufacturing process, you know that you have legal recourse should they default on their end of the agreement by producing sub-standard goods. Whether you’re ordering custom rubber compounds from a manufacturer like Elite Elastomers or you’ve hired Deluxe Digital to press and package workout DVDs for your health club, any dispute you may have can be mediated or ruled on in a court of law. You may not have that option when you work with international vendors.