by Bob Zaruta, President/CEO, NWIRC
Last month, we saluted manufacturing and celebrated Manufacturing Week. Across our nation, thousands of young people, educators, and the general public had the opportunity to learn about the importance of manufacturing, to see first-hand what U.S. manufacturing is today, to get a glimpse of the manufacturing future, and begin to imagine the opportunities and possibilities. The opportunities for themselves, their son or daughter, their grandchildren, their students, and for our country.
Many manufacturers and organizations, including the NWIRC, played a part in spreading the good news about manufacturing in the United States. Manufacturing Day and Week may be over, but for us at NWIRC it is business as usual helping manufacturers improve their competitiveness and grow and all of us must keep the foot on the pedal. We must accelerate to where we need and want to be. And, we must add vastly to the number passengers on the ride and for the cause of U.S. Manufacturing.
Every one of us has the opportunity to play a greater part and to increase our support for U.S. manufacturing. As consumers, we can continue to seek out and purchase items ‘Made in the USA’. According to surveys, 8 out of 10 Americans prefer to buy USA manufactured goods. Americans are even willing to pay between 10 and 25 percent more for items ‘Made in the USA’. The top reasons include: American pride, better for the economy, support local companies, and a desire not to be involved with issues of low wages and poor, unsafe work conditions found in foreign countries.
There is a strong and growing movement by Americans to purchase domestically produced products. U.S. manufacturers are responding by promoting their goods that proudly bear the ‘Made in the USA’ label. Larger U.S. manufacturers are also responding by reshoring products. Since 2010, more than 300 manufacturers have returned to the USA the manufacturing of products that were previously made offshore and the trend of reshoring is expected to continue. In addition to the movement to buy USA products and the willingness of consumers to pay a little more, higher labor rates, longer lead times and higher freight costs are fueling the trend. Additionally, larger manufacturers have discovered that they can better innovate and launch new products faster when research & development (R&D), product design, and manufacturing are under one roof, or at least not thousands of ocean miles apart.
A few years ago, one could more easily argue that finding USA made products was a difficult task. That is no longer the case. I recently donated a basket of goods to be raffled by the church I attend at their annual festival. The task of shopping for and purchasing a nice array of high quality USA made products was relatively easy. You can play an important part in US manufacturing if you take the time to look for the label.
As we get into the month of November, you have the opportunity to support manufacturing and have a voice through our national, state, and local elections. Many of the candidates and elected officials understand the impact of manufacturing on our national, state and local economies. Some, more than others, have prioritized the need to strengthen manufacturing and create jobs. You also play a major role as we approach the holiday season. I recently read that the average American will spend $700 on gifts. If only half of that amount was spent on items ‘Made in the USA’, up to a million jobs could be created. Imagine the possibilities.