In March 2020, Americans learned a valuable lesson.
As the world stopped because of the COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain issues for food, cleaning products and other essentials became commonplace.
Not only were people cautious about leaving their homes to purchase items, but delivery services slowed to a crawl. Companies weren’t able to create products because there was confusion about what was essential and what wasn’t, who could go to work and who couldn’t – not to mention who was willing to go to work.
On top of that, once these companies were able to produce their goods, getting them shipped to warehouses and to customers was an issue as well.
At Kimball Midwest, we never stopped. We know we are essential to essential businesses. We provide the parts and services that keep the trucks moving, the warehouses stocked and the grocery stores open.
And we can do that because we make American products a priority. American parts, American workers. At Kimball Midwest, there are a few things we brag about. One of them is that 80 percent of the money we spend on inventory – that is the items we have in our warehouses ready to ship – is spent on products made in the USA.
In fact, we went through a painstaking process to make sure we could source all the steel necessary to make our KM-USA high head cap screws right here in the U.S. That means should there ever be a concern, we know exactly where it came from and can figure out a fix quickly. Plus, we provide a limited warranty on all items we sell. And frankly, it’s just easier to stand behind American-made products.
While we know our focus on American-made products is important to our customers because it is something they can rely on, not even we knew just how important it was until recently. The world faced unprecedented challenges, but American-made products were there for the win.
It’s no secret American-made products have a reputation for having better quality. These products and their workmanship will save you money by preventing downtime and other problems.
A Boston Consulting Group survey found this reputation doesn’t stop at the U.S. border, as 61% of Chinese consumers would pay a premium for American-made goods and 82% believe they have higher quality.
When products are made in the U.S., it generally is much easier to replenish stock, as was the case through March, April and May of this year.
Imports from Asia, for example, often take two weeks to a month or more to arrive by ship, not to mention time for customs clearance.
The proximity of American suppliers makes it easier to maintain relationships throughout the supply chain and provides easier tracing back to the source if there is a malfunction or other problem. Also, it’s difficult to ensure proper working conditions, including wages and safety standards, are being upheld overseas.
American-made products help provide jobs for today’s American workforce and keep jobs here for future generations. American manufacturing jobs also create a cycle that helps grow our economy and create more demand and, thus, more jobs. That’s something that is critically important right now.
American businesses and workers are the backbone of our nation, and keeping manufacturing here helps maintain our economic independence.
For those of us always looking to support American businesses, the “Made in America” label represents our American values: Hard work, the freedom to do it our own way and that unrelenting desire to be the best. Past generations of American workers and businesses embodied those values, teaching us to do the hardest jobs right so our families and our dreams can flourish.
And if you prefer buying domestic products, you’re certainly not alone. A 2017 poll conducted by Reuters/Ipsos found seven out of 10 American consumers think it’s “very important” or “somewhat important” to buy American-made products.
The same survey also stated a significant number of Americans are willing to pay more to buy U.S.-made goods over imports. A whopping 63% of those surveyed said they’d be willing to pay at least 5% more to buy American, with nearly half of them noting they would pay a 10% to 25% premium.
Contrary to widespread belief, there’s still a great deal of manufacturing done in the USA. According The Balance, American manufacturing is actually the largest in the world, producing 18.2% of the world’s goods. And according to the National Association of Manufacturers, domestic manufacturing made up nearly 12% of U.S. economic output by contributing approximately $2.25 trillion in 2016.