Marlin Steel knows many manufacturers have been facing supply chain disruptions due to COVID- 19. The pandemic has especially disrupted foreign trade and manufacturing companies who outsource from overseas, such as from countries like China. These companies were originally looking for the most cost-effective solution they can to meet their needs when they based operations overseas. This only makes sense because they have to do whatever they can to keep the doors open and profits coming in. Not only do many companies have shareholders and investors to look out for, but they also have their employees to consider as well.
However, some companies have, in their search for a cheaper solution to their needs, run into problems: Chinese manufacturers who cut corners in their products to save costs and introduce supply chain insecurity. If the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed anything, it is how easily international manufacturing supply chains can be disrupted, often with cascading effects.
While many American manufacturing companies relocated their supplies to China decades ago, Marlin Steel has been producing high-quality products domestically all along. Marlin Steel’s leadership, engineering team, and production team are all proud to produce American-made custom wire baskets using American steel for customers all over the world.
Why Use An American-Made Basket?
One question that a lot of Marlin’s clients have is “Why should we use an American-made basket instead of a basket from China that costs less?”
While cost is an important factor for acquiring a custom wire basket, it is far from being the only factor that matters. There are many reasons for a company to use American-made custom wire baskets from companies like Marlin Steel—such as:
The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the inefficiencies of international supply chains. Countries closed their borders and enacted stricter import and export processes to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Companies who were used to ordering products from foreign countries, such as China, quickly felt the brunt as the virus originated in China.
Many American businesses that outsource their manufacturing to Chinese companies were forced to shut down their overseas manufacturing operations, stalling business domestically as well. The failing arrivals of Chinese-made goods reduced manufacturing in North America and other Western countries relying on that trade, revealed alarming gaps in the global supply chain.
While there is no perfect solution to overcoming these supply chain challenges, opting to source American made steel products can limit the risks posed by supply chain disruptions.
Many manufacturing applications that call for custom wire baskets tend to also demand incredibly tight parts tolerances to be consistently met. If one basket is an inch too big or has wires that are bent at a slightly odd angle compared to the intended design, it could cause damage to delicate parts or jam the processing machinery. So, it’s important to have custom wire baskets that can consistently meet quality requirements.
However, one of the issues with buying cheaply-made foreign baskets is that, to meet tight budgets, they have to cut corners on manufacturing processes. For example, instead of investing in factory automation, some companies use ultra-cheap manual labor to cut, shape, and bend steel wires. This manual process results in a lot of variability from one wire to the next, making meeting tight parts tolerances much more difficult.
Fast Shipping Speeds
One of the biggest drawbacks of working with a foreign basket maker is the wait. First, you have to wait for a slow manual assembly process. Next, you have to wait for the shipping space to be available on a freighter bound for the United States. Then, you have to go through customs processing. Finally, after months of waiting, you get your custom wire basket and test it out… only to find out that there are issues with it that need fixing. This means more waiting for a revised basket design.
With an American stainless steel custom wire basket, there is no need for American companies to wait for slow overseas shipping or customs. As soon as the basket is finished, it can be put out on a priority shipping truck for immediate delivery—shaving months off of the wait time for custom wire baskets. Some of Marlin’s products can even be shipped same-day as the order, so you can use your products as soon as possible.
Covered by American Laws
If a foreign company delivers a substandard product to you and you demand a refund, but are denied, you’re going to have to deal with that manufacturer’s legal system to process the claim. This can be a nightmare of red tape and frustration. After all, what incentive does the foreign company’s government have to side with an outsider?
Even if you can get a fair arbitration for your claim, there may be legal loopholes that you aren’t aware of that the other company can use against you—ones that only legal experts specializing in that country’s trade laws would be aware of. Finding such experts can be enormously difficult - not to mention costly as well.
When using American-made custom wire baskets, however, you can rest easy knowing that you and the basket maker are following the same rules. If there’s an issue, it’s much easier to find fair arbitration to resolve the issue
Another reason to invest in an American-made custom wire basket? To help ensure that the baskets you get are safe and effective for your manufacturing application.
Cheaply-made baskets that cut corners on safety could fail during use—leading to worker injuries or damaged manufacturing equipment. This can put your own manufacturing processes behind schedule while costing you money for medical treatment and repairs.
However, because American manufacturing is held to a higher quality standard and must follow American safety requirements, you are much more likely to get a safe product that won’t fail. This helps to ensure that your wire basket applications can proceed without an increased risk of worker injury or equipment damage from basket failures.
Supports the American Economy
Another important reason to get your custom wire baskets from an American manufacturer is that it helps support the American economy. By buying American-made goods for your custom wire basket applications, you’re supporting an American business that provides jobs to American workers and supports American families.
Buying American baskets helps grow American jobs. Supporting American jobs has been more important than ever as a result of the economic effects of COVID-19. Every time a manufacturing company orders American baskets, American workers benefit and the economy continually rebuilds.
Other Benefits of Steering Away from Chinese Manufacturing
Working with a domestic company means not having to deal with massive language and time zone barriers. You can confer with your manufacturer without having to worry about something getting lost in translation or having to stay up into the wee hours of the morning so you can call them during their business hours.
There’s an old saying: “you get what you pay for.” Attempts to cut costs with a cheap custom metal form can result in getting a product with cut corners. One such case of an American manufacturer getting a cheap product that didn’t conform to their specifications was a company who ordered a set of stainless steel parts from a Chinese manufacturer and received an unpleasant surprise some months later.
While the parts they got conformed to the shape specified in their design requirements, the parts weren’t purely stainless steel like they had ordered. Each part that the company received was more than one-third plain steel! This was bad for a number of reasons. First, the plain steel would be susceptible to corrosion from the part’s regular use. Second, contact with the iron in plain steel would compromise the corrosion resistance of the stainless steel.
These issues would make the part practically unusable.
Unfortunately, getting reimbursement for contract violations from a foreign-based and owned business in a country that lacks a strict trade agreement with the United States is notoriously difficult. Unless the manufacturer decides of their own volition to pay a refund for faulty or unusable products, it’s not going to happen. To force repayment, you would have to convince a foreign court system to make a decision against a local business—one that might be subsidized by the state. This creates an inherent conflict of interest.
Why Getting It Made in America Makes Sense
After getting burned by the Chinese company that tried to cut costs by cutting corners, the manufacturer from the above example turned to Marlin Steel, an American manufacturing company, to make the replacement products they needed. Marlin won over these clients with “Quality, Engineered Quick®” that handed them replacement custom metal forms that actually conformed to all of their needs.
Marlin Steel’s staff are all proud to be an American manufacturing company that uses American-made steel to produce top-quality custom wire baskets for all kinds of manufacturing applications. For American manufacturing companies to keep up with foreign competition, COVID-19 pandemic or not, and increase overall productivity and output, then reliable products engineered to high standards of quality is essential. So, don’t hesitate - reach out to the Marlin team to get started!