In an effort to win customers, Walmart pledged in a TV ad to buy $250 billion in US-made products over the next decade. But as many of us in the ‘Made in USA’ manufacturing industry know, finding quality, terribly low-cost goods is proving a challenge when the American workforce is fairly waged and environmental regulations are in place.
The Christian Science Monitor reports Walmart has to grapple with a host of challenges, including a shallow pool of component suppliers, an inexperienced workforce, and other shortcomings that developed during the country’s long industrial decline.
“A lot of the tribal knowledge and skill sets are gone because the humans who used to do that work have either retired or died,” says H. Kim Kelley, the CEO of Hampton Products International, a privately held maker of locks, lighting and other household hardware. The Foothill Ranch, California-based company began selling products made in Asia to Walmart in the 1990s and is now supplying it with some U.S.-made products.
The Made in USA “reshoring” issue is so widespread that Walmart is making it the focus of a two-day summit it is hosting in August.
Walmart’s critics say the company bears some responsibility for the diminished capability of U.S. manufacturers. For years, its relentless insistence that suppliers cut costs prompted companies to shut domestic plants and shift production to low-wage countries.
Now, the retailer is asking companies to come back home – though they need little prompting. The forces pulling production back to the United States are powerful and real and include lower domestic energy prices, increasingly competitive wage rates, the benefits of greater automation, and a renewed appreciation for the value of being able to respond quickly to shifting U.S. customer demands. –The Christian Science Monitor
What do you think? Can Walmart and it’s suppliers can pull off a ‘Made in USA’ comeback? Join the discussion below!
“As Made in the USA furniture manufacturers we recognize the importance of things made in America – here – at home. We stand in a new America and say, ‘we want quality, affordability, and a sense of where things we support come from.’ Made in the USA furniture is our pride and creed; it flows through each part of the process and each material used here. Our product proves that, and you’ll find that when it arrives at your door…”
Last summer’s video “Quality always finds a home” (embedded above) provides this narrative that speaks the essence of our core values at Manchester Wood. Quality and affordability when making solid wood furniture can be a challenge, and many of our competitors charge more under similar circumstance. Yet, at Manchester Wood we strive to reach the populous of the American marketplace with heirloom furniture that’s ‘built to last generations’ like the antiques that inspire us. We simply make modern day furniture of antique value, and there’s much to be said for that.
From conventional solid wood bookshelves, classic Adirondack folding chairs, to shaker desks, cherry coffee tables, and practical TV tray tables, the opportunity of experiencing quality design in furniture throughout all our collections is available to you today.
Abe Abbas on Furniture Made in the USA: “There are many trends driving a greater demand in American made furniture and home furnishings.”
Customization and environmental awareness Abbas says is driving consumer demand for furniture made in the USA. The About.com Furniture writer claims (to our delight) that “Consumers have begun paying more attention to American made furniture… Environmental awareness has led some consumers to ask for furniture that is locally made to reduce its carbon footprint.” Read about Manchester Wood’s environmental standards here to answer one of the many reasons we keep our furniture made in the USA. Abbas continued, “As demand drives manufacturing, some manufacturers have been paying attention to this demand. There is an increase in American made furniture and home furnishings as a result.” Take a moment and read about our attention to detail with generations of craftsmanship at Manchester Wood.
We used an ad yesterday “You Can’t Import History” as part of our President’s Day celebration. And the phrase means a lot to us on several levels. For one, you can’t replace the legacy of American made no matter how hard you try. Two, you can’t beat the styles Manchester Wood offers that hark back to days gone by, yet with a timeless appeal designed for the modern generation. And you can’t compare the quality furniture made in the USA we offer at a price within range to a cheaper “knock-off” built overseas with inhumane work ethics and codes to keep it cheaper. You can’t replace legacy and tradition, you can’t beat timeless styles with new offerings, and you can’t compare the quality of our furniture made in the USA proudly since 1976.
Manchester Wood designs and produces quality, affordable, eco-friendly solid wood furniture in the Green Mountains of Vermont and Adirondack foothills of New York.