Making Products in the USA
Fireworks and barbecues make us all feel more patriotic, right? That little “Made in America” label does, too. We take pride in where we buy our products and where those products come from. Here in Austin, TX, there’s a saying: Keep Austin Local. We’re proud to support local shops, products, and people. Now scale that up to the national level.
We asked some of ShipStation’s customers who make products in America why they made that decision and how it impacts their business. Here are their thoughts:
Co-Founder, Project Repat
It was always important for us to find production partners that treat their workers well, and pay living wages. There are places that, despite being in the USA, still look and feel like a sweatshop, and we wanted no part of it. We found two partners—Precision Sportswear, in Fall River, MA and Opportunity Threads in Morganton, NC—two places that once had thriving textile industries, that we are really happy to work with and support. We have the kind of product that can’t be replaced if there’s an error so it makes great business sense to work with partners where the workers feel empowered to do their work well. Also, our customers would not want to send their prized t-shirts overseas so the made in USA component is integrated very well into the core business.
Producing here in the USA gives us better quality control and communication throughout the process and also allows us to support other small businesses throughout the country. We know we could drastically cut our costs if we were to outsource everything overseas, but we take pride in making sure our products are ethically produced and the people making them are fairly compensated for their hard work.
President, TAB Performance
We firmly believe that production in the US makes the most sense for our business. Below are a few of the main points why we believe this to be true.
1. Quality Control – If an overseas manufacturer makes a mistake in production, and it is not caught right away, it can be devastating for a company. Overseas orders generally require large order sizes to be economical—combine this with long shipping times and customs processing and you might have several months’ worth of bad inventory in the pipeline before you even know it.
2. Inventory Management – Because there are so many variables when sourcing overseas—long shipping lead times, possible weather delays, possible customs delays, quality issues, economic & political instability—it is generally necessary to keep several months of inventory on hand. This not only ties up capital, but also warehouse space, both of which cost companies money.
3. Flexibility – If we see a possible improvement that we could make to an existing product, we like to be able to implement it as soon as possible. With outsourced production, long lead times and on-hand inventory requirements make this next to impossible.
4. Customers – Customer support is something our company is well known for and it would be next to impossible to deliver the high level of support that our customers expect from us if we had to deal with all the issues outlined above. Many of our customers are also very passionate about buying American-made products and I feel we would lose a great deal of our customers’ respect and admiration if we moved production overseas.
We strongly believe in cutting costs through innovation, lean principles, and the help of services like ShipStation, rather than sending work overseas where costs are cut by paying depressingly low wages and cutting corners on quality, environmental, and worker safety.
Owner & Head Hammer Swinger, Punky Jane Jewelry
I create very personal, handcrafted pieces for my customers. I just can’t imagine having those produced in a foreign country, possibly in a questionable work environment. I believe my personal involvement in every design sets my products apart from something mass-produced in a factory.
Keeping all production in my Woodland, California studio allows me to be personally involved in each and every piece we make.
In addition, I purchase all my supplies from US companies. I want to know that I’m going to receive the same quality of product and high-level customer service that I provide my customers. Whether true or not, I believe that American manufacturers are held to higher standard. With that comes trust.
I love that by ordering USA-made supplies from American companies, I’m doing a little to help our economy.
There you have it, folks. In the coming weeks, we’ll have a few more articles about keeping production in the United States. If these customers inspired you to take another look at how you manufacture or source your products, these articles will help get you going in the right direction.