The world is more connected than ever, so why does it matter where my product is assembled?
When selecting a product, an often-overlooked factor is where that product is manufactured and assembled. Why does it matter where something is manufactured and assembled you ask? There are a variety of reasons for this, and we will discuss some of the differences between products originating overseas and those originating here in the USA.
If there is one thing 2020 taught us about the manufacturing industry and the world economy as a whole, it is how fragile the global supply chain can be. In 2020 alone, the global supply chain was rocked by tariffs and trade negotiations, shifting weather patterns, and a pandemic, all causing fluctuations in pricing, delivery times, and much more. While these fluctuations were made more extreme in 2020, mostly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they are still liable to pop up in any given year. This lack of consistency, required order quantities, and instability can make it extremely difficult for both manufacturers and consumers.
Products being shipped overseas are susceptible to more outside influences
Conversely, having a more simplified supply chain allows manufacturers to provide consumers with accurate and consistent pricing, order amounts, and lead times. Products being assembled in the United States, along with Mexico and Canada following the USMCA (United States – Mexico – Canada Agreement), are able to bypass many of the aforementioned roadblocks. Let's compare the journey of products being produced overseas vs. those being produced in North America. An Assembled in America product such as Superior Aluminum’s Railing normally has three or four stops along it journeys from materials to final consumer. Compare that to an overseas product, which at minimum will see seven stops due to port checks and other international factors. Reducing stops and disruptions allows for stability and predictability, which in the end is exactly what manufacturers and customers want and need.
While stability is a major factor for customers it is ultimately the quality of a product that matters most. Unfortunately, it is common knowledge that most overseas products are produced to lower standards than North American standards, and especially US standards. Sadly, labor is significantly cheaper in other countries so the market is flooded with low-price, low-quality goods overtaking higher-quality, American-made products. In a 2014 study, Chinese goods represented 23% of all goods made and manufactured, yet accounted for over 51% of recalls(USCC). These recalls are due to factors such as harmful materials, failed safety tests, lack of accountability, and overall low quality. With such a high percentage of recalls, it’s clear that American-made products should be able to capture a larger market share, despite the higher price point.
By having a product, such as aluminum columns, assembled in America there are a variety of safeguards to ensure a high-quality product. First, American workers are assembling the product, meaning labor laws and safe practices are being followed. Furthermore, unlike their overseas counterparts, American manufacturers are subject to legal action if their products are faulty.
Assembled in America products are produced by American workers
Cost will always play a factor when deciding which product to choose, but going with the cheaper choice might actually cost more in the long run. Instead, choosing a product assembled in America provides both superior stability and quality.