A 2013 survey by the Consumer Reports National Research Center notes 78% of Americans would prefer to buy products made in America. And they would pay more for them, too.
Yes, that’s right — more than 60% of respondents said they’d buy American-made clothes and appliances even if those cost 10% more than imported versions; more than 25% said they’d pay at least an extra 20% more. Reminds me of that old saying — “You get what you pay for.”
Preserving U.S. manufacturing jobs and keeping American manufacturing strong in the global economy were cited as important reasons for more than 80% of people to buy American. About 60% cited concern about the use of child workers or other cheap labor overseas, or stated American-made goods were of higher quality. (Read more about the survey and how to distinguish products made in America here.)
It’s too easy these days to find a “Made in China” or “Made in Mexico” stamp on the goods we buy. It seems fitting as we celebrate the 239th birthday of our nation this month to also celebrate the quality and craftsmanship of American-made plumbing and heating goods.
In early 2012, I was invited to Louisville, Ky., to see some of the first General Electric GeoSpring electric heat pump water heaters come off the assembly line. GE Appliances opened the $38 million manufacturing plant — the first in Appliance Park since 1957 — in order to design, engineer and manufacture the water heater. GE’s goal was to invest $1 billion in U.S. manufacturing and create more than 1,300 new jobs. Bottom-freezer refrigerators, dishwashers, and washing machines and dryers are now made at the Louisville plant.
Last month in Charlotte, N.C., DeWalt Tools made a similar announcement at the media event I attended. Another 60 corded and cordless products will be built in the United States, adding 500 new jobs. New cordless tools will be manufactured in the Charlotte plant, while corded products are to be built in Greenfield, Ind. That brings the amount of DeWalt products made in America to nearly 14 million.
“We’re choosing to invest in domestic manufacturing because it’s important that we maintain our connection with core DeWalt customers,” says Nick DeSimone, DeWalt vice president of operations. “Not only can we build quality products in the United States, but we also care deeply about making things at home and bringing jobs back to the United States.”
Milwaukee Tool will expand its operations in Greenwood, Miss., and create 126 new positions, part of a $35 million investment in Milwaukee’s U.S. manufacturing operations over the last four years.
“Milwaukee Tool is dedicated to driving growth and creating new jobs in the United States,” says Milwaukee Tool Group President Steve Richman. “In the last several years we have created nearly 900 new jobs across the country. We firmly believe that, through investing in our people, we will deliver disruptive innovation and the highest-quality products for our users and distribution partners.”
A few years ago, Bradford White Corp. produced a video touting its manufacturing facilities around the country and celebrating its “Made in America” products. You can watch the video here. Earlier this year, InSinkErator announced its video on keeping jobs in the United States and how the company values American workers. View the video here.
The Fox TV program “Built in America” profiled Cranston, R.I.-based Taco in its very first show in April 2013, where Taco’s dedication to its American employees, manufacturing and the HVAC market it serves was explored.
Xylem’s Goulds Water Technology recently released a case study on the design (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and production (Auburn, N.Y.) of its high-quality pumps. The 300,000-sq.-ft. manufacturing facility employs more than 200 workers — who build nearly 2,500 residential and wastewater pumps each day.
“A great sense of pride and responsibility comes with knowing that each product can be traced to its origins and was assembled here in the U.S.,” notes Michael Foster, manager, Goulds Water Technology manufacturing engineering.
A new line of high-performance, commercial-grade sewage pumps by Blue Angel Pumps are now being built in the United States. Eric Tinnemeyer, group president, WAYNE Water Systems, Blue Angel Pumps’ manufacturer, notes that the American workforce is “second to none in creating top of the line, reliable pump products.”
Of course, many more plumbing and heating manufacturers are producing their goods in this country. They are proud to let their customers know their products are American made with American quality. If you notice these companies at trade shows or other industry events, take the time to thank them for investing in American workers and for providing jobs in communities that desperately need them.