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Not Made in the USA

A few weeks ago I was talking to a client and we were discussing how a fabric wasn't stocked in the United States.

Her comments were simple, "Nothing is made in the United States anymore."

Sad thing? She is absolutely correct. 

I used to notice the little image of our flag with *Made in the USA* on all kinds of things. Now it is just a fading image.

What once was a booming furniture manufacturing center, North Carolina is now just a speck in what many interior designers are growing increasingly frustrated with.  As an interior designer, our primary sourcing function relies on manufacturers and distributors to stock and or produce good in the states.  This speeds the delivery process to our workrooms and to other manufacturers and keeps our workflow and project progression moving along. Manufacturers are all trying to save a buck as to not go out of business and there is a majority of them now completing order fullfillment as items are ordered.

What does this mean for the end-user, our client? Extended lead times on items.

Two years ago we would get stock updates and order fullfillment percentages on a majority of our vendors.  Now, we don't.  There is not any need apparently as the items are not stocked in the USA.

What does this means going forward?

In my opinion, we have two options as an industry.

1. Start producing items in the states again.

Why this isn't happening is a simple bottom line number. Why produce things here when the cost of doing business is rising?

2. Become an all import trade industry.

This really isn't an option I don't think, but then again it sure does appear to be moving that way doesn't it.

The next time you purchase something and you call your vendor, ask then if the product(s) you are looking at are made domestically or imported. Then decide how you want to proceed.


Jesus Cisneros said...

Due to duty free regulations like NAFTA or CAFTA, off shore manufacturing companies will purchase yarn from local yarn suppliers and knit or weave the fabric and garments in their offshore plants and ship them Duty Free. I know a lot of factories have samples shops in the USA to meet short lead times; specially those factories from the Far East.

Jesus Cisneros said...

When I said local yarn suppliers, I am refering to domestic U.S. yarn suppliers.

Gigi-Gray said...

I am also a believer in buying American. And am saddened, not only by the diminished sightings of the flag symbol, but by the fact that you can't call the customer service center of an American owned company without speaking to someone in India.

Seemingly this is a vicious cycle. As you mentioned, companies are cutting quality, service, convenience, and product-in order to cut cost. First, the Customer or Client- becomes dissatisfied. Eventually, they will find someone or somewhere that can get them what they want faster, better, friendlier...Losing a Client or costomer is something no company and on a grand scale, something no country can afford. Like your Client, many Americans are losing faith in being able to find the same quality in our homeland,that they can abroad...This has to change? Right?

I for one am excited for the day when America returns to making AMAZING, quality things...it has been too long...Time for us to make something-other than the news...:)

Clark said...

I'm not an interior designer so I don't know your business but I do believe it is possible to buy quality locally made goods. You will pay more for it but there is a certain satisfaction in being able to name the person who made the product you are using. It's not always financially feasible but I try to buy local whenever I can. I'm not American but I apply this belief to whatever country I am living in or visiting.

Advocating buying local is not necessarily an anti-globalisation stance.

I love having access to the quality work of Thai. artists and craftsmen, Chinese package designers and potterers, and Indonesian textiles. I buy from them whenever I can but we need to support our own artisans too.

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