Quality, Flexibility and Service Create Trust and Value for Made in America Products Overseas
There is still a great deal of value in “Made in America.”
- By Robert Laughlin
- Jul 03, 2017
While some companies manufacture products in China and other countries where low-cost labor is readily available, there is still a great deal of value in “Made in America.” Naturally, this sentiment is true here in the U.S., but you may be surprised to learn that the perceived value of American products overseas is equally high.
According to Thomson Reuters, a key reason behind the strong growth among S&P 500 companies in the first quarter of 2017 is increased demand for American-made goods overseas, particularly products in the technology, energy and heavy equipment sectors. According to several surveys, the popularity of American products worldwide is driven by quality, flexibility and a commitment to customer service – three critical factors in the high-stakes world of security.
The quality and reliability of solutions is critical to ensuring safety and security of people, places and assets, especially considering that in our connected world, the consequences of a security lapse or breach could be catastrophic for an organization and could extend far beyond a single site.
For the most part, U.S.-manufactured products must meet higher standards than those produced in China, Russia and other countries. This further contributes to the well-earned reputation for superior quality enjoyed by American-made products.
Part of American manufacturers’ strategy to compete on a global scale has been to invest heavily in equipment and processes that make it possible to produce solutions that deliver a high level of precision and standards that are impossible for most foreign-based manufacturers with lower labor costs to attain. This also solidifies the positive perception of “Made in America” products, which is backed up by quality and performance.
Another key strategy for competing with other countries’ low labor costs is a commitment to utilizing advanced technologies that allow them to be more agile and flexible. Many manufacturers’ approaches to customization are an ideal example of this.
No two facilities or security installations are alike. There is almost always some unique variation that off-the-shelf solutions can’t perfectly address.
Customization can pose tremendous challenges for non-U.S.-based companies, whose profits depend on their ability to mass produce and sell large volumes of standardized products. Because entire manufacturing operations are built with this singular focus in mind, these providers are ill-equipped to deliver customization, which would likely require shutting down a continuously moving assembly line to reconfigure machinery and processes – a move that would significantly eat into profits. For these products, customization becomes the responsibility of installers or in-house technicians, which is hardly ideal in many cases.
American manufacturers have invested in flexibility that provides an edge in delivering custom solutions. Given the customer-focused philosophy many providers have adopted, these companies are more willing to develop innovative customized solutions – often without major cost increases.
As market demands and end users’ requirements inevitably change, this flexibility positions American companies to meet those demands quickly and easily. Conversely, lower-cost offshore companies would likely need to invest significant time and expense to overhaul their entire operations to accomplish this. And by that time, demands and needs could already have changed, leaving them a step behind U.S.-based manufacturers.
To complement the quality of their products and flexibility of their manufacturing processes, American manufacturers have carefully cultivated a reputation for “getting things right” the first time. This provides customers around the world peace of mind, knowing their security solutions will perform as intended when deployed. It’s unrealistic to expect that any company could guarantee 100 percent success every time, but U.S.-based providers often go to whatever lengths necessary to rectify issues as quickly as possible.
No matter how robust a company claims its service and support may be, that means nothing if end users aren’t able to connect with them. Delays in responding to customers can compromise security, so end users must have reliable access to a provider when they need help the most, regardless of where they are located.
U.S.-based manufacturers are well-positioned to deliver this access, with smaller, more agile companies able to provide dedicated individuals customers can contact. Fast, easy access to service and support when needed goes a long way toward building trust in both a particular company and in American manufacturing as a whole.
It would be naïve to suggest that competing against foreign-manufactured goods is not a significant challenge, but it is precisely this challenge that has propelled American companies to produce higher-quality goods, offer fast and easy customization and deliver superior customer service and support. These are just three of the many reasons behind the strong reputation of and trust in American manufacturers, which is driving increasing demand for U.S.-produced goods and solutions among overseas end users.