This is a piece I just wrote for a trade industry publication, and I thought I'd share it with you.
I saw a news item recently about Mack Trucks putting people back to work here in America. Amidst all the downside news about our struggling economy that we’re hearing and seeing all the time, this was a good sign for our manufacturing economy. And it got me thinking again, as the CEO of a manufacturing company that’s been in continuous business since 1920, about what it means to be an American manufacturing company in 2010.
It gets back to Made in America and how important that should be to all of us. We need to see more companies hiring here at home and not overseas. We need to rebuild American manufacturing, starting right here in Rhode Island, the birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution.
In the past century America was all about manufacturing. We made everything that’s now made overseas and a whole lot more. We were a manufacturing colossus and that, coupled with our abundant natural resources and Yankee ingenuity, was the basis of our national strength. Sadly, that’s no longer true. We have hollowed out core manufacturing sectors and are even jeopardizing strategic industries that we would need in a time of national peril.
Many American companies in the last decade or two took their jobs overseas to take advantage of cheap labor. While most of them found that producing goods overseas might have bottom line advantages at first, those advantages have gradually disappeared or shrunk considerably as wage levels rose, commodity prices increased, and transportation costs weighed in. Quality control can also be an issue in some overseas manufacturing, as we’ve seen with certain goods coming in from China. Made overseas is not necessarily better than made here at home.
Some American companies never made the easy move to manufacture overseas. I am proud to say that Taco was one of those companies. Long ago, we made a commitment to our employees to stay where we began and to improve our manufacturing process so that we could manufacture competitively right here at home. We accomplished that, and we continue to work on perfecting it. To survive, we need to be the smartest and most efficient company in our business.
Just as we are an American company, we are also an international company. We source and buy materials from around the world. We also sell Taco products overseas in certain markets like Asia and the Middle East, where there has been significant business for us, based on fast growing economies. Every American manufacturer needs to have an international presence today and to grow their overseas business as best they can, depending on the markets they can tap into. Exports, after all, help our economy and lower our worrisome trade deficit.
But when it comes to the products that go out our doors to our customers, we do not outsource overseas. We make the best products right here in America and we’ve learned how to do it competitively against any foreign company. We’re very proud to be an American manufacturer and to build products focused on our domestic market. These products are specifically designed and built for use in American systems, based on our long experience in servicing them.
We build the products our American customers need. We want their work to be quick and easy, and for them to have peace of mind in knowing that they’ve installed the best and most advanced products available today. We stand 100-percent behind all of our products as we stand behind our customers. We want them to prosper using our products, services and support, and in doing so to build a secure future for themselves.
In return we hope that Made in America means something important to them too. Because, when all is said and done, we are all in this together. That vital connection starts on our factory floors in Cranston and nearby Fall River. Working there day to day are some of the finest and most efficient workers to be found anywhere in the world. We didn’t have to search the globe to find them; we’ve had them all along, for ninety years.
That’s why I say that Taco’s most important constituency is our 500 employees. It all starts with them, and our success goes back to them. Like me, I know they are proud to be engaged in helping make an American company an enduring success.