Conventional wisdom says that "Made in America" can't compete with products manufactured in lower-cost countries. But we recently ran across two companies that are apparently bucking the trend.
Whirlpool, the Benton Harbor, Mich., appliance manufacturer, still makes plenty of its washers, dryers, and other "white goods" here in the United States. Given the cost of moving bulky appliances from one continent to another, it stands to reason that the company would manufacture products for domestic consumption somewhere in North America. But in an interesting twist, Whirlpool is exporting washing machines made at its Marion, Ohio, plant to Mexico. Company officials say the plan makes economic sense. "Because we have such a good cost position in Ohio, we can do that there, versus putting a factory in Mexico," said Brian Hancock, vice president of Whirlpool's North American regional supply chain, in an interview with Editor at Large James Cooke.
On a much smaller scale, Beyond Products is manufacturing a multifaceted, electric-powered truck—known as "The Mule"—in New England. The all-in-one stacker, transporter, and work positioner is produced at a new 50,000-square-foot facility located in Milford, Conn. At less than $1,400, The Mule is priced very competitively with equipment manufactured in other countries, say company executives.