When was the last time you bought something that said it was Made in Canada? If you remove Canada's primary industries from its manufacturing landscape, you are left with the auto sector and little else.
There are a number of reasons I chose to produce the easy slip-on baseboard heater covers here in Canada, but it's the reasons not to go the overly popular Made in China route that are worthy of comment. Normally consumer goods made of sheet metal come from a country where labor rates are far less than they are in North America. China's massive industrial expanse is perhaps the largest origin for such products. It seems that whenever an analysis is performed on deciding where to mass manufacture a product, the developing nations can offer only a single benefit. That benefit is a low cost to produce. But on the other side of the equation are all the disadvantages and problems associated with reaping the lower cost to produce benefit. The list includes:
- Long lead times due to transit time.
- Product quality can be a problem unless the customer has local staff to monitor the supplier.
- All goods must be prepaid before leaving the country.
- Undisclosed materials and/or specifications substitutions can be made to benefit the supplier.
- No small quantity orders. Makes testing new products very risky.
- Requires the importer to hold large inventories.
- Having to engage in local business customs such as bribery.
- Language and general communication problems.
Despite all of these undesirable factors, emerging economies are where most of the world's manufacturing is taking place. It would be foolish however to assume that this trend of low labor cost manufacturing is sustainable. It isn't. This is because China, India and other nations that currently have attractive labor costs will simply run out of workers willing to accept a low working wage. It is a matter of time which is linked to the regions overall prosperity.
Local manufacturing means our company can be highly responsive to our customer's needs. It means we can provide a level of order and product customization in a very short amount of time. It means we can tightly control the quality of the end product. Does the consumer pay a premium for this? Yes. Will the average consumer be able to realize tangible superior value from products Made in Canada? Leave us a comment.