Tuesday, December 16, 2008

From an E-mail I received re: U.S. manufacturing and its importance to the U.S. Economy

Have you ever received this e-mail? It goes like this....

Joe Smith started the day early having set his alarm clock (MADE IN JAPAN) for 6am while his coffeepot (MADE IN CHINA) was perking, he shaved with his electric razor (MADE IN HONG KONG). He put on a dress shirt (MADE IN SRI LANKA), designer jeans (MADE IN SINGAPORE) and tennis shoes (MADE IN KOREA). After cooking his breakfast in his new
electric skillet (MADE IN INDIA) he sat down with his calculator (MADE IN MEXICO) to see how much he could spend today. After setting his watch (MADE IN TAIWAN) to the radio(MADE IN INDIA) he got in his car (MADE IN GERMANY ) filled it with GAS (from Saudi Arabia) and continued his search for a good paying AMERICAN JOB. At the end of yet another discouraging and fruitless day checking his Computer (Made In Malaysia ), Joe decided to relax for a while. He put on his sandals (MADE IN BRAZIL) poured himself a glass of wine (MADE IN FRANCE ) and turned on his TV (MADE IN INDONESIA), and then wondered why he can't find a good paying job in AMERICA .

My Counterargument: We don’t manufacture ANYTHING anymore. Nowhere above does it say that the alarm clock, tea pot, griddle, etc would be 2x-3x as expensive if it was made here. Heck, Joe wouldn’t be able to afford all those things if it weren’t for global manufacturing :)

We DESIGN/ENGINEER the new technology for the computers here (higher value-add). We design the “chic look” and then sell the computers (since relationships are key) but we don’t do items like MANUFACTURE or MAINTAIN SERVICE as those are outsourced to LOW cost centers. Why? Because the customer doesn’t give a crap where the computer was made as long as the quality of the product is comparable to what they were getting before. There isn’t much “proprietary” building/technology in a computer. Most of the components are made by someone else so it becomes a game of who can sell the most units (to leverage pricing with suppliers) and produce the product at the lowest price (to squeeze out low to medium sized competitors). Is the customer willing to pay a premium for a U.S. built computer? I don’t think so…

That is EXACTLY why everything got outsourced. So we could buy all this stuff that we might not need, on credit with borrowed money, to support workers overseas:)

Now customers are STARTING to care about where their customer service comes from as Dell recently brought customer service back from India after getting so many complaints.


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