You may remember seeing the commercials on TV not too long ago where Wal-Mart pledged to spend $250 Billion on American made products in an effort to help grow more domestic jobs. Say what you will about “Big Business”, this is an altruistic move that not all big businesses are making.
You would think that brand manufacturers headquartered in America could get away with calling their products American made, but Wal-Mart is auditing their supply chains to make sure they are sourcing products and components domestically, not internationally. After all, the purpose of this pledge is to put more money back into the U.S economy to grow jobs.
Here we are over a year later and it’s interesting to see how things are unfolding. Anyone who is tuned into American manufacturing will tell you that most consumer/component manufacturing has gone offshore. That doesn’t mean companies are picking up 100% and moving to China. The corporations, R&D, and brand management remain in the U.S.A. Actually, packaging, logistics, and some assembly will often remain at home. But component manufacturing often goes offshore.
This situation has actually made it difficult to source reliable U.S. manufacturing partners! True, a quick Web search on the general search engines for just about anything returns plenty of results, but how useful are those results when you are tasked with the very specific job of finding manufacturers who can fulfill a long list of requirements, specifications, and corporate audits? Top it off with the fact that huge amounts of money on the line!
It’s in Wal-Mart’s best interest to step in and help their vendors to stay true to their mission and avoid a possible PR blunder.
The SOLUTION? Wal-Mart partnered with ThomasNet to help their vendors to source U.S. manufacturers more easily. Sourcing new U.S. manufacturing partners is NOT as easy as changing cell phone providers. It requires changes in the supply chain which trickle through the entire organization. Everything from accounting to logistics and manufacturing are effected. The key is to find the RIGHT supplier the first time…..and quick. If you go down the wrong road from the start you waste time, money, and your reputation. By partnering with ThomasNet, Wal-Mart is not only providing their vendors with the most comprehensive database of American manufacturers on the planet, but it’s also giving them the tools they need to do their job more efficiently. Last but not least, the companies they find on ThomasNet are credible supply partners because ThomasNet clients represent industry leaders and businesses with a good reputation.
Read more about the Wal-Mart partnership with ThomasNet in this recent article in the NY Times.