Made in the USA

Made in the USA?

I am a member of a LinkedIn discussion group, where the question was recently posed, “What are the challenges of selling “Made in the USA” products?

hooper5After three plus decades and around 15,000 pole buildings, I can count on one hand with fingers left over, the number of times I’ve heard of a client even asking us about made in the USA products. In those rare instances where we were asked, it was in regards to government projects which specified preference for USA made products.

Me, I am all for supporting our country’s economy and business which are based here. However, I believe businesses in the USA need to have some degree of cost competitiveness. They do not have to be the least expensive, but they should be close.

Recently my lovely bride and I visited Ecuador on holiday. Our youngest daughter was a high school Rotary youth exchange student, when she was a sophomore, so we had been there three years prior. Ecuador has recently enacted protectionist duties, which are designed to encourage “Buy Ecuadorian First”. For the most part, if an item is imported into Ecuador, which could be purchased otherwise in Ecuador from an Ecuadorian business, there is now a significant duty to be paid.

Want to import an automobile? Good luck with this one, as the vehicle must be brand new, and expect to pay a duty of as much as 80% of what the Ecuadorians value the vehicle (not what was actually paid). What this policy has done, in reality, is to cripple the Ecuadorian economy. Imports (especially from the USA) are in high demand, mostly due to quality. Not only can the great majority of Ecuadorians no longer afford to purchase many of these items, but many Ecuadorian businesses have now raised their prices to levels close to what the import product plus duty would be.

Certainly not a situation I would ever want to see in the USA.

In the case of Hansen Pole Buildings, other than a few select components which we cannot get sourced in the USA (most of these come from our good neighbor to the north – Canada), we are providing a pole building package which is primarily a Made in the USA product. While some of our vendors may be producing their end products from materials which are, in part, originally manufactured overseas – when a Hansen Pole Building is ordered it is as American as is realistically possible.

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