The manufacturing industry is a cornerstone of the American economy. American manufacturers not only build products, they build the American middle class and drive innovation.
However, for many businesses, these aren’t the things that the boss wants to know. What is it about American manufacturing that your boss wants to know?
Here’s our list of the top 4 things your boss probably wants to know about American manufacturing:
#1: Is it Cost-Effective?
One of a manager’s biggest concerns in any major business is controlling the budget. Looking for solutions that are cost-effective can be an enormous challenge. Between the cost of materials and labor, acquiring manufactured goods can be quite expensive.
This is one of the reasons that many American businesses began to outsource their production jobs to overseas countries with cheap foreign labor. With low labor costs, budgets would surely be easier to control.
However, many companies have awoken from the outsourcing “dream” only to discover the the nightmare of long lead times, high parts rejection rates, and other hidden costs of doing long-distance business.
These issues drive up your costs per part, and may even limit your business’ responsiveness to developing market trends.
Because American manufacturers have invested heavily in factory automation that enables consistent results and are located close to the American consumer market, they can avoid many of the hidden costs of outsourcing. This, in turn, allows for easier control of the budget and makes American manufacturing surprisingly cost-effective in the long run for businesses.
#2: What’s the Timetable for Getting My Product?
When companies need manufactured goods, the sooner those goods arrive, the better. One of the issues with ordering parts from an overseas manufacturer located in China is that there are long lead times between when a part/product is ordered and when it arrives.
This problem is exacerbated when there’s a need for a physical prototype for testing purposes.
American manufacturers have a clear advantage when it comes to shipping products to other American companies. Rather than having to wait months for cargo space on a ocean-going vessel and having to go through customs processing, products made by an American manufacturer can simply be loaded onto a cargo truck and sent straight to an American business post-haste.
For example, Marlin has been able to take a custom basket order from concept to delivery to the customer in less than two weeks. This is a much shorter time-to-delivery than most overseas manufacturers are capable of.
As cited by the New York Times, “it takes about 14 days for a typical container ship to travel from California to Hong Kong.” In short, just shipping can take as long as the entire production process would with an American manufacturer. When you factor in time spent on development, tooling, manufacturing, waiting for available cargo space, and for customs processing, the lead time for overseas-manufactured products can be months.
Which timetable is better for your business? The “it’ll be there in a few months, not exactly sure when” timetable, or the “You’ll have your order Friday after next by 5:00 p.m.” timetable?
#3: Will the Parts/Products Made Meet Our Standards?
Many American companies in various industries have a need for precision-crafted parts. Whether your business is a toy company or an aerospace engineering firm, if your parts or products don’t consistently meet a given set of tolerances, they won’t work.
This wastes time and money on materials, labor, and shipping. While the money might be recouped in refunds, the time spent on dud parts/products can’t.
Unfortunately, many overseas manufacturers still rely primarily on manual labor to make critical components for their parts and products. The problem here is that even the best workers are prone to making minute mistakes. When your product tolerances are measured in micrometers, this is something that you cannot afford.
Many American manufacturers such as Marlin Steel have overcome the problem of dealing with tight production tolerances by adopting manufacturing automation tools such as CNC punches, presses, and wire bending robots. These machines can make bends in materials with a level of precision unmatched by manual work.
Unlike manual laborers, these machines won’t get bored or tired either, so they’ll keep working with the same level of robotic precision from the first part they make to the last. This allows American manufacturers who use factory automation to meet incredibly tight tolerances with consistency.
#4: How Will Using an American Manufacturer Benefit MY Company?
There are many ways that using an American manufacturer can be of benefit to your company:
- Improved Time-to-Delivery. As was mentioned earlier, using an American manufacturer can help to keep your time-to-delivery to a minimum, allowing for faster, more flexible production schedules and increased responsiveness to changing trends in the American consumer market.
- Better Legal Protection. When you get into a dispute with a company based in a foreign country over whether or not they’ve met their contractual obligations, your company could be at a significant disadvantage. Many foreign countries won’t recognize the authority of an American court to demand restitution for damages (and good luck convincing a foreign court to make a ruling against one of their nationals). Working with an American company ensures that your manufacturer is being held to the same legal standards as your own company.
- Parts Will Meet Tolerances More Consistently. As mentioned earlier, many American manufacturers have made heavy investments in factory automation. These investments allow American manufacturers to manufacture parts with incredible precision and consistency that manual methods cannot match. This, in turn, helps keep production costs down by avoiding the waste of time, labor, and materials that caused by parts rejections.
Overall, American manufacturing is fast, reliable, and well-regulated, which can be of enormous benefit to companies looking for quality engineered quickly.