We sat down with one of the owners of Do It American MFG Company, a company whose mission is to bring quality manufacturing back to America. They are leaders when it comes to culture with unrivaled positive morale, profit sharing, and opportunities for learning and growth.
We particularly wanted to know about the truth behind China versus U.S. manufacturing as well as the supposed oncoming recession and what they’re feelings are about it. You’ll love the answers!
We’re a manufacturer focused mainly in gas utilities, doing a lot of metal work and fabrication. We saw a need in the market for an American focused manufacturer and had a vision for the type of culture we wanted to create for employees, so we went for it.
Manufacturing is typically thought of as a dirty job, and we wanted to change that. With the people in our shop, we’re helping them to realize that it can really be a profession – a higher level kind of job, even in a front level factory position. Our employees are all involved in learning and progressing, as well as in profit sharing. When the company does well, so does every employee. This all ties into us wanting to be a really good example that you can and should manufacture in the U.S., and that you can do that and be successful with happy people working alongside you.
American manufacturing companies can be competitive, no problem. There’s an existing paradigm that it’s cheaper to go to China, but we can hit their price here. What people misunderstand often is how classic accounting methods skew things like labor rates and what it costs at every level of the process. They don’t often realize that we can compete domestically because of reducing a lot of costs in shipping, in choosing materials, in not needing additional consulting, etc..
There are some companies who are very dedicated to staying domestic, but not a lot. No matter what, you have to be good at what you do. Work in small batches, be extremely efficient, treat your people well. We won’t win head to head by being a better sweatshop – we win by being a better producer and a better partner.
We don’t worry about it really at all. We’ve been hearing about it for years and nothing has changed much. You can do forecasting, but 100% of the time it will be wrong. Pick a likely goal, and go for that, while having a plan in place on how you’ll handle it if something goes wrong. We plan for at least three months of disaster. If business stopped tomorrow, we’d have the ability to still pay everyone and adjust. If the economy slowed, it wouldn’t stop business but instead would slow things by a percentage, and we have a plan to survive that time period.
We really see hope and opportunity with new roles and employment opportunities in the industry overall. Everyone’s all hot and bothered about 3-D printing, but in reality it happens so incrementally. All these new technologies get implemented very very slowly. It’s like with robots, which are not there to replace people, but to enhance and supplement workers.
The capability of people is often determined by the leadership. Shift your thinking to look for attitude and aptitude first, because you can teach people anything. Skill set is much less important than getting good people in the door who want to learn, and we see a ton of opportunity for those people at all levels.
Do It American MFG Company is located at:
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