The Value of a Label

by Todd McDonald on November 29, 2012

Let’s start this week’s blog post off with a bit of word association.

What do apple pie, cowboys and baseball make you think of? What about consumer electronics, appliances and clothing?

In the global arena, Americans are known for a lot of things, but production isn’t one of them. These days, we’ve become fairly accustomed to seeing “Made in China” labels everywhere as our economy becomes more service-based. And while outsourcing has been a hot-button issue for decades, a recent Boston Consulting Group (BCG) study indicates that this trend may be reversing – and that the “Made in the USA” stamp’s value may be rising worldwide.

Specifically, the Plastics Today article, “Survey Says: Who will pay more for Made in the USA?,” summarizing this BCG survey reports that two thirds of US consumers are actually willing to pay a premium for “Made in the USA” goods, and surprisingly, more than 60% of Chinese consumers would prefer to do the same.

A BCG partner and author, Michael Zinser, commented that, “The higher brand value of U.S.-made goods is a further reason why companies should rethink their global manufacturing footprint and consider the U.S. as a manufacturing location.” Zinser highlights monetary gain as a further reason to onshore, but what are some the other, less profit-motivated incentives?

At TEQ, we’ve always felt that “Made in America” is the way to go. For us, it’s never been about commanding a price premium, but rather, streamlining our supply chains and improving efficiency of our workflow.

Case in point, in 2009, TEQ was awarded a contract to take over production of Kaz’s ear thermometer covers, but the supply chain was scattered among facilities in Ireland, mainland Europe, and Wisconsin. To increase sustainability and efficiency, we relocated the entire supply chain to the United States (the country of greatest consumption) and created a truck route between our materials extruder, our own custom built modular ISO 13485 Registered clean room production facility, and our printing and shipping partner to reduce cost and waste. This relocation kept the entire process within the USA, which had several significant benefits outside gaining value from the “Made in the USA” stamp – from lower transportation costs to a decreased carbon footprint to reduced quality control concerns, just to name a few.

What are some of the other benefits your business or industry has gained, or could gain, from a “Made in the USA” stamp?

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