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by Paul Figie
Automation Engineer

I have heard some say people shop with their wallets before they shop with their patriotism. While there may be a half truth to that statement if one thinks a simple statement can justify that “Cheapness” is the driving factor to all purchases you have had the wool pulled over your eyes. People want the most Value for their money.

If the product they are buying is important to them, they will be looking for value. Although cost is a part of a good value, product features, reliability, easy implementation, and customer support are all part of the value equation.

People still believe that ‘Made in America’ is still associated with a higher level of quality in the market place. I believe supporting American-made products is the key to ‘make America great again.” We already see a rise to restore the USA Manufacturing base, bringing more jobs and building consumer confidence. So look out imports…hard working innovative Americans and American businesses are on the rise to take the land of the free back.

Looking back, I had the experience to work for a company that supplied components for the appliance industry. That company also started a sister plant to try to produce their product ‘cheaper’ in Mexico. Labor costs were much less and manual assembly could be done for slightly less than the USA plant that was implementing automation. Once shipping was added, the cost was equal. When quality issues arose, entire orders were sent up to the USA facility to be reworked for whatever corrective action was necessary.

As corporations believed the lie that going outside of the USA would give them the competitive advantage, it really makes what they have to offer nothing more than a commodity to be bought and sold.

I thought to myself, “Do you see the writing on the wall?” If we keep selling out to other countries, eventually there will be nothing left to sell.

Eventually, that division of the company was sold off to the highest bidder and within a few years the USA facility was closed. The once thriving company that gave life to the small town it resided in is gone. Now the building stands like a giant empty tomb. Across this land are many other monuments standing with similar stories. The shareholders were happy short term, but what about now?

A quick buck won’t win in the long haul. As a proverb states, “Wealth from get-rich-quick schemes quickly disappears; but wealth from hard work grows over time”.

What really happened?

As a USA company, we would meet with our other USA customers and have quality meetings, make improvements, respond to customer demands, and do it successfully! But a shift in thinking happened. So instead of quality and doing the best in our class products, “cheapness” thinking prevailed. Just think back of the old appliances that seemed to last forever. I remember an old General Motors refrigerator my parents had and then gave to me at 30 years old and it’s still working! Look at what we have now: quicker to market and short life cycles to make more landfill! What used to be reliable, rugged, robust products have been replaced with planed obsolescence, designed-to-die products that are destroying the planet and depleting resources.

So come on, Americans! Let’s not just talk about the good old days, let’s make the greatest days ahead. Get on your feet, stand for what is good, right, trust-worthy, and true. Buy USA products, use USA services, and start demanding the best of the best. Together we will make America great again and even better.

I will state that I am blessed to be working for EZ Automation division of AVG right here in the Bettendorf, Iowa Manufacturing facility. I am one of an army of USA workers that take pride in the work they do. Innovation, creative ingenuity, and hard workers are still here in the USA.