(Continued from The Brothers Who Stand A Century Apart)
A couple days after I came up with the idea, I was casually having a drink outside and held up my glass to finish off the last drop. At the bottom of the glass, I saw the 5 tiny letters that are engraved on most of the items in your house: CHINA. Along with kitchenware, the industry my company is going to be a part of is dominated by Chinese manufacturing. Before doing any research or asking anyone, I already knew that it was a given to produce products like mine in China. And I really thought, and hoped, that there was someway I could have it made in the U.S. Freshen up your drink and allow me to explain why I have come to find out that it is impossible. At least for now . . . .
The whole reason I keep harping on about this is because it is a major issue within my product’s industry. My view of the respective manufacturing situations that the U.S. and China find themselves in is directly responsible for
a challenging goal I have for my company. I have wanted to produce my product in the U.S. ever since I first came up with the idea. I thought then and still think that it is the most moral thing to do.
My desire to do this increased even more after learning about the violent labor strikes going on in China. I know that if my product took off and sold really well, I wouldn’t be able to get any satisfaction driving around in a car that was essentially paid for by oppressed Chinese workers who can barely afford to get by. After being immersed in this project for so long, I’m shocked that this matter is such an afterthought.
If a riot policeman slugged a pregnant worker (near bottom of article) here in America, I’m sure every news pundit on TV would be screaming about it. Especially Nancy Grace. But, so long as it is a worker making the blue jeans outside the U.S. border, who cares. We all rally around the rights for Timmy working at Wal Mart, but don’t give two shits about the 14 year old girl in China stitching the jeans for 12 hours without a break.
I do want to be clear that I don’t think this is the consumer’s fault. I am a consumer and just about all of my clothes are foreign made. All of the blame belongs on the company’s shoulders. They certainly comply with the labor laws for their employees working in the U.S. stores, but it’s quite a different story for the workers across the Pacific who are making the products for the stores. That minimum wage salary seems to get lost along the 8,000 mile distance from here to there.
Within my company’s industry, a lot of ethical issues get swept under the rug. That is for those CEOs to live with though. And sure, some might absolutely have to manufacture in foreign countries for practical reasons. But, I bet some of them do it to make more money. There is no accountability for their actions. They take advantage of the cheap labor and want to reap the benefits without getting called out. I don’t want my company to operate like that. Take a look at this video; you’ll see what I’m saying about the zero accountability part at the 15:35 mark. And this one.
I am in the process of heading a company and I have taken all of this into consideration. Upon finalizing the mock spec for my product, I asked my consultant to price out sample costs from American factories. Come to find out, it’s simply impossible to have my product mass produced here in the U.S. because I wouldn’t be able to turn a profit. That is alarming. Voola, just like that, I had to accept my product being made in China. I was reassured by my consultant that they have worked with this factory in China for 15 years and they have great working conditions. They visit the factory a couple times every year and the workers get paid fairly. Just turn a blind eye to it, that seems to be the protocol anyway.
I do realize that I am guilty of being a
mild hypocrite right now. I have been up on my soap box yelling about how deplorable Chinese factories are and now I’m doing business with one. Trust me, if I had it my way, it’d be USA all day. However, I’m not going to let this roadblock deter me from meeting my goal. If I’m lucky enough for my product to become a fad, I believe that I would have the capability to open up a factory here and mass produce my product. There would be many things to consider, especially being able to keep the product at the same price point and turning a profit.
If I would be able to meet those requirements, I would definitely do it. I understand the potential hot water situation I am putting my company in right now by declaring all of this. Like the girl said in The Social Network, on the internet, everything is written in ink. But, I stand by it now and will in the future. If it can financially work opening a factory and producing units here, I by all means will do it. Some may consider it wishful thinking, but I like to think of it as forward thinking.
Considering China is the manufacturing powerhouse right now, they need to do some forward thinking of their own. To reiterate my point from the last post, their labor cost is going to go up and all the companies are going to move to countries like Vietnam. This trend is already beginning. In 50 years they very well could be in the same situation the U.S. is in right now and having to outsource for manufacturing. It’s almost just like the infamous Domino Effect. Once the cost of labor goes up in one country, companies will move onto the next cheap one. Maybe this explains the sudden skedaddling of the rich Chinese out of their homeland.
That’s why, along with the U.S., China should get ahead of the game and set regulations for the companies selling products within their country. They should make these companies abide by labor laws that protect the rights of the laborers who are manufacturing the products, even if they are outside of the country. This would be in their best interest and a giant step towards equality throughout the world. It would knock down the next “domino” in a much more positive fashion.
My company will never be a major player in the industry by any stretch, but I want to do my part. What’s right is right. Maybe opening a factory here would encourage the big wigs that it could work for them. Nonetheless, creating jobs for fellow Americans is good enough for me. Just maybe, we could create a positive
domino MadCap Effect.
What are your thoughts of the labor strikes going on in China?
Cheers to sharing!