Jump to content

Made in USA


Bmill25

Recommended Posts

So I'm sure this has been asked before, but is there a power tool company out there that isn't made or has materials made in China. With all this tariff stuff going on, I'm sure that everything made in China will increase in price. I'm invested in Milwaukee, and I know they're made in China, but if a company can rival Milwaukee in quality and is made anywhere but China, I'll consider buying some whenever the Milwaukee tool need replaced.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I’d say you’re probably hoping for too much. Pretty much everyone manufactures considerable amounts of their products in China because it’s flat-out the smartest way to go, and the tariffs aren’t at all likely to increase the production costs enough to change that equation.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 5/13/2019 at 7:09 PM, Bmill25 said:

So I'm sure this has been asked before, but is there a power tool company out there that isn't made or has materials made in China. With all this tariff stuff going on, I'm sure that everything made in China will increase in price. I'm invested in Milwaukee, and I know they're made in China, but if a company can rival Milwaukee in quality and is made anywhere but China, I'll consider buying some whenever the Milwaukee tool need replaced.

Maffel, some festool, some metabo, some bosch

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

14 hours ago, Jronman said:

Maffel, some festool, some metabo, some bosch

 

Maffel? As in, across the board? It’s not a surprise if a few tools from a few companies are (at least mostly) manufactured with zero contribution from China, but for the entire product line at every step is something special. Albeit less surprising for a premium company.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I’d say you’re probably hoping for too much. Pretty much everyone manufactures considerable amounts of their products in China because it’s flat-out the smartest way to go, and the tariffs aren’t at all likely to increase the production costs enough to change that equation.
I'd argue that point from working in tons of manufacturing plants and seeing the Asian experiment go really wrong. First off if it is labor intensive and "ships well" as in not too bulky or too dense, that's the ideal case. But modern tools aren't that way. If it's an automated assembly line, labor costs become secondary to raw materials. And maintenance costs dwarf production. Under that circumstance cheap labor doesn't matter anymore and the considerable cost of shipping becomes a major factor. Think about if you have an automated assembly line. Since that stuff is stocked or made in advanced countries like Germany or the US you can't even find it in China, often even if it's made there. And the expertise doesn't exist either. So almost anywhere in the US when a big assembly line breaks down costing thousands of dollars per hour they can get technical support there in hours even if it requires a plane flight. In China it's at least 24-36 hours. Once that guy gets there and identifies the problem, it's another plane flight and another 24-36 hours or more to get the part and get running. So days of production are lost compared to hours. Automated production has made labor costs basically a dead argument. By way of an example a very large portion of the outdoor power equipment sold in the US is made in a huge complex of plants in Norfolk. Stihl owns it but they contract manufacture for everybody, even European brands. Snapper is another.

Second issue is that in the US in particular we practice seller beware. Unscrupulous business practices run afoul of the courts and sometimes the police. China has virtually no protections on anything. Even if you are dealing with a reputable Chinese company and they tend off their nonreputable competitors you still have tons of quality control and translation issues. You have to pay people big bucks from the US to go overseas to live there or get screwed over and over. Case in point is US Pipe took the plunge on fire hydrants. They went cold turkey and shut down US production before the Chinese parts arrived. So by the time the first hydrants arrived they were out of US inventory and there was already 3 months of inventory on the ocean in shipment. They chose not to pay inspectors expatriate and trusted all would be well. Turns out it got lost in translation and none of the hydrants fit. So they had to scrap 3 months of production and wait another 3 months for the right parts to arrive with no inventory on hand.

Another case was Engelhard bought into an Asian manufacturer making a tin solution in 55 gallon drums. The company had a big warehouse full of the stuff and random samples all tested good. So they paid for the initial inventory and then paid ongoing to backfill the warehouse as they pulled from it. But it turns out all the new barrels were nothing but water so once they turned over all the inventory once their supplier skipped town with an entire warehouse of payments.

This doesn't even touch on outright intellectual property theft or documented cases of inserting military spy hardware onto computer motherboards. I'm just going to summarize by saying every single manufacturer I've ever worked for that did deals with Chinese companies got burned over and over again. Or found that their cheap costs were not so cheap.

Now looking at it from the Chinese perspective they have two fundamental problems themselves. The first one is that just like Japan before them as their economy grows so do wages and standard of living. China isn't so cheap anymore. Coastal regions are now subcontracting to inland areas or other Asian countries because they are now too expensive. Which again means moving production to China probably isn't a smart move long term. Japan was all the rage in the 80s. Now they're just as expensive as the US (more if you factor in shipping) and Japan has had a recession stretching back for decades with no end in sight.

The second is a consequence of command economies. So for instance district A gets a tubing plant and starts making lots of money making tubing for refrigerator coils and such. So now districts B through Z want in on the action. Pretty soon they build 10 times more capacity than the entire world demand and nobody makes money on tubing as they fight each other to the bottom. This actually happened with tubing and many similar products. So this is the "smart money" case but really everybody loses, particularly as wages inevitably rise.

So sorry but it is not at all obvious to me that it's the smartest way to go. On a case by case basis there are situations that work. Overall I think the biggest driver was when corporate taxes were the highest in the world. With that brought at least closer to parity the incentive just isn't there. SBD is already making moves back the other way.

Sent from my SM-T350 using Tapatalk

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

What we're likely going to see is more production moving to Mexico, it's actually a pretty good solution. Some companies have done it in other industries and it's soo much faster to get things done and shipped, access quality control...and best of all, things are rarely lost in translation. It's worked for Proto(now that plant is owned by Urrea).

 

They might even be able to get away with "Made in America" for several years. I've seen some Canadian companies use it, including a hockey glove company called MIA(Made In America) that is now owned by New Balance (under the Warrior name).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Paulengr I appreciate the thought-out post and numerous examples, but all these tool companies based in every corner of the world didn’t all arrive at the same solution in a vacuum. China isn’t automatically merely “cheap” anymore and hasn’t been for a very long time...they have made tremendous advancements in expanding their manufacturing quality and control and can do things at prices corporations marketing tools and everything else would be foolish to not utilize. Where else in the world can you reliably or even feasibly manufacture 4K TVs, cell phones, etc with such levels of accuracy, reliability, and quantity at prices remotely reasonable to bring to the market? The simultaneous existence of less-impressive business practices also found in China doesn’t negate all that any more than it does when we talk about shady used car salesmen in the US who happens to sell a few F150s.

 

Although I completely agree things will change just as you suggest as China becomes wealthier and their labor becomes more expensive. But that’s a separate issue from these tariffs. China outsourcing production elsewhere in Asia in recent years has everything to do with their increased domestic production costs and essentially nothing to do with any tariffs.

 

On that note, I do agree with BMack37’s take that increasing manufacturing in Mexico among other countries south of the US border could come around to making a lot of sense. I even think it would be smart politics but that would delve into...well...politics.

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...
On 10/9/2020 at 5:10 AM, James kelly said:

what is the best tools company inside USA?

 

Simple question, complicated answer...

 

If you're inquiring as to the best "Made in the USA" tool company, it defends on the qualifiers.  For power tools, I simply don't know what is made in the US with US-sourced materials.  DeWalt builds some of their tools here now, albeit with "global materials", and there seems to be a trend towards bringing that "Made in the USA" label back--like the tool section of Sears prominently featured twenty-plus years ago.

 

I know my answer for hand tools will be controversial, as despite being the originator of tongue-and-groove pliers they are not the absolute "best" when it comes to the modern definition (fit, finish, ease-of-use, etc.), but I'll go with Channellock.  They are made in Meadvile, PA, cost little more than imported off-brand pliers, and have a long history going back to the late-1800s.  I have at least two pairs each of their various pliers (based on my ingrained mechanic's principle of having two of each hand tool for the job) and even bought a few pairs of older Channellocks at flea markets, to compare them to their modern counterparts.  Technically, my first Channellock 440 is Blue Point (subsidiary of Snap-On), but it is the exact same as my blue-handled pair just with a red handle.

 

Another US-made product I prefer are hammers, though I can't decide between Estwing and Vaughan.  I have plenty of both brands, and love breaking out the right hammer for the job, whether it's an 8 oz ball peen for a 48 oz engineer's hammer.

 

To summarize, I'm sorry I can't help with identifying 100% USA power tools, but I definitely enjoy buying and using tools made in the US.  Even the gaudy "Made in the USA with Global Materials" label on some of my DeWalt tools makes me happy.  To think that our nation was at the forefront of manufacturing 100 years ago, and that even 50 years ago imported products were somewhat exotic is astonishing.  While we are very much a global economy now, 1970 saw the infancy of Japanese auto imports from a land where cheap tools were being produced and gaining a bad reputation (much like Hong Kong, China, and India tools would later on).  

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

I would say good luck on that one.  Pretty much all of them do a signigigant amount of production in China and youd be hard pressed to tell the difference if you didn't know which was which.

Even in the case of DeWalt and Craftsman, its still only made in the US with globally sourced parts.

I support Milwaukee and am perfectly OK with the stuff being made in China, as long as their headquarters is still in Wisconsin and the tools are still designed here.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 10 months later...

1) China's population is 1/5 of world population so I am JUST happy to see 1/5 of my tools or accessories made in China.

 

2) Most of the brands make their multi tools and grinders in China (probably in the same manufacturing plant!) which does not allow us to compare a German made grinder with a Chinese made grinder, so at least some brands should make these tools in US or Germany (I am not talking about Fein and Festool here as they are premium brands).

 

3) If a manufacturing plant is suffering and wasting a lot of time and money just because of the time they need to get the replacing part I would say it is because of stupidity of the management and the related team, If a plant has been run for 5 or 10 years you should have a record of all repairs and you would have a conclusion about the approximate date for each part for replacing and you would have the part in advance with you. I know there are some issues that some brands do not wish to do it that way! 

 

4) Japan almost has not produced cheap products like China, this also does not mean everything China makes is rubbish!

 

5) Germany has proved that China's cheap labor is not an issue for them if you want to produce quality tools, US could do the same! It is not about tools only, Germany is the leader of technology in production right now, Japan and US or other European countries are far behind. They don't make cheap things and they produce a lot and they are successful in marketing also, why?! This is the question we should ask from ourselves and think about it.

 

I am happy to discuss this further with anyone here if there is an interest, there are a lot to say but I don't want to make it long.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

China.

 

If you want to minimize China then go Festool and (some) Makita but then who makes motherboards and components? Is every resistor and capacitor in the tool not Chinese? Nope. Today it’s physically and logistically impossible to avoid China.

 

China isn’t only as big as they are because they cost less to make, but nobody has grown faster in the “electronics” sector which is in a lot of our tools. Heck, look at a power tool battery. If there’s a motherboard then we’re likely talking China.

 

I am in the southern area of Silicon Valley and so much has gone to China. IPhone production, guess where? When I looked into grad school, the University of California router research section via Cisco was largely Chinese students here in Northern California. I am pretty strong in math but these kids kicked my ass.

 

In other areas of interest, for me synthesizers, many criticize the fast growing Behringer company who is based in Germany with a Swiss founder with English engineers but still made in a giant facility in China. Behringer makes excellent gear but is criticized by the big four (Yamaha, Casio, Korg, and Roland) users. But the majority of their synths are made in China. 
 

Even the old school Moog and ARP have Chinese made gear.

 

Tools, with equally heavy electronics behind the casing are likewise made with Chinese electronic parts.

 

Near me, we had an electronics startup company that didn’t want to outsource like the major companies only based here and it failed. Unless you abolish the minimum wage and basic environmental and safety requirements, you’re not going to be stamping out motherboards and daughterboards and thus potentially making 100% percent non-Chinese power tools.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 11/15/2021 at 8:12 AM, Eric - TIA said:

Your right, It's so hard to find anything not made in China.  It's a shame.  We have differently priorities than other countries when it comes to self reliance and what is important.

I just talked to an entrepreneur who not only wants “USA”, but environmentally friendly and Kosher and they raise beef.


It’s way more quality locally and humane.

 

That being said I was the county’s sole after hours sports store and I sold a lot to ranchers. It’s not like you simply raise cattle and humanely. What nobody tells you is how many predators are gunned down. I supplied the ammo and though I was a law student then who supported the law and constitution, I couldn’t stomach it anymore. 
 

What predators haven’t got run over get shot. Google Griffith Park for an infuriating read. A very rare unseen wolf variety (once plentiful) was shot dead near a ranch. It had a collar on and was being tracked and was the literal lone wolf of its type in my state.

 

So if you want “USA” with modern USA standards that respects workers and the environment, it just won’t happen at a reasonable price.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Member Statistics

    16,384
    Total Members
    6,555
    Most Online
    rednik80
    Newest Member
    rednik80
    Joined
×
×
  • Create New...