The recent PPE shortage should be an eye-opener not only for the policy-makers but for the public also and the businesses that invest overseas only to supply the end product to USA while creating jobs overseas. Each part of the supply chain from fiber to fabric to PPE means more manufacturing jobs in USA and self-sufficiency.
America - The Great Leader?
At one time, America was a leader in manufacturing, producing excellent quality goods in many sectors. Innovation and enterprise grew exponentially and the people prospered. Every country in the world yearned to be a supplier to the biggest market in the world: USA. I know; I was head of Quality in bulk drug companies that were 100% export-oriented and were given tax breaks as incentives for exports. America was the market everyone had their eyes set on. In the 1990s, as the globalization initiatives started, American corporations found manufacturing overseas was cheaper, and so our manufacturing wealth was exported overseas. Entrepreneurs followed suit. Today, after making and vetting prototypes in the US for the American public, they look for cheap manufacturing overseas so their products can sell at lower prices to a wider market. And there's a splash of advertising, investors, venture capitalists falling in line for bigger profits. It's all take, take, take and no giving back to the US economy.
All the retail stores are full of overseas-made goods, made at low prices for the American people who are happy about the low prices, not understanding that each of them represents lost US jobs. Yes, we talk about the high salaries demanded by US labor, but what is that? Sustainable wages that are above the minimum wage required? People who earn big dollars say the labor is too expensive. How about we say that the overheads are too high? The CEOs and management live a high life with six and seven-figure salaries and all kinds of perks but the wages of the labor is considered too high. I don't know, there seems to be a double standard here.
Now the PPE shortage showed us what it means not to be self-sufficient, not have manufacturing in our country. Globalization is not bad; however, being at the mercy of other countries for essential supplies is the worst position a country could be in. And that's where we are!
Inspire The Change
The conversation has to change, from the bottom up. This lesson must not be forgotten when things get better and the restrictions ease. Businesses should be talking about investing in their own country, bring the manufacturing wealth and knowledge here, where it belongs. Policy must follow the demand. Ask for made in America; invest in made in USA; invest in quality, in excellence, in your country.
At Wazoodle and AKASTEX we are committed to manufacturing textiles in USA; it's been our mission since we started our business ten years ago. We respect the hard work and grit of the textile mill supply chain that works on low margins and low overheads so that we can compete against overseas imports. I am grateful we were able to supply high quality US-made fabrics for making millions of masks, gowns, face shields, etc., thanks to the brilliance and innovation of the American people who stepped up in this crisis. I am thankful to all the people and businesses that repurposed and retooled their equipment to make much needed PPEs. Now we must not forget the lessons of this crisis. Make America self-sufficient!
“Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country,” said John F Kennedy. Take the challenge and root for self-sufficiency in America!
Arch, a US citizen