One of the key philosophies we’ve been focusing on is making quality investments. Whether it’s a small purchase like a toaster or something bigger, like a refrigerator, you want to make sure that what you’re spending hard-earned money on is going to last you the better half of your lifetime. Around the time of the Baby Boomers, that was the norm. From microwaves to washing machines, Americans could rely on solid, American-made products to last them at least two decades. Now, it seems like they can barely last two years before needing to be replaced.
So what happened? What changed? For one thing, manufacturing started moving overseas. In the ’90s and early ’00s, businesses began to outsource production to foreign countries like Asia and India because it was cheaper. This wasn’t just a trend for household appliances. From classic American products, like Levi’s Jeans and the American flag, to daily items, like televisions and computers, you’d be surprised at what actually is made in the US.
So while production and labor costs for corporations were much lower, so was the quality. But in the past couple of years, a series of events have pushed a surprising trend towards returning production to the US:
- Oil prices went up, making shipping costs much more expensive
- Natural gas boom in the US lowered costs of running a factory
- Wages in China were rising and will continue to rise
- US labor productivity has continued to move upwards
And most importantly, people care where their products are being made. When your so-called trustworthy washing machine decides to stop working a week after the warranty expires, you’re going to want to chuck it at whoever is responsible.
Luckily for you (and them), a startling insourcing boom has taken over the US. Take a look at who’s coming home:
The company has invested in a new plant in South Carolina that produces energy-efficient elevators.
It was an iconic symbol of Made-in-America muscle. It’s also the epitome of every American brand that has moved out of the US. Now, Ford has returned to its roots and committed to insource production of its commercial trucks to Ohio, which will also help retain 2,000 jobs at that plant.
In 2011, GE committed $1 billion to reinvesting in America and developing new energy-efficient manufacturing facilities and creating more American jobs. Since then, GE has opened two factories in the US that will make heaters and refrigerators.
KitchenAid has returned manufacturing of their hand mixers to the US from China.
A little over a decade ago, almost all of Whirlpool’s washers were manufactured in Germany. Now, the company is making over $1 billion of US investments in the country’s plants and equipments, and over $2.2 billion in US research and development. It has also moved production of washers, as well as dryers, dishwashers and top loaders, to Ohio and Tennessee. The corporation also owns Maytag, which has also starting to insource.
With revamped american made products, not only are you making an investment in quality, you’re also helping boost the economy. Made in the USA is officially back.