Eight years ago, the way I shopped was forever altered by the birth of my son. Admittedly, I shopped out of necessity and want and had little idea of the impact I could have simply by shopping with a purpose. As I started researching essentials like car seats and strollers, I quickly realized that safety and quality were essential and I found that the best ratings came from American-made products.
Last week, I had the privilege of traveling to Arkansas to share with attendees of the 2015 U.S. Manufacturing Summit why it is important for our family to shop for products Made in the U.S.A. At present, the bulk of products I’m specifically looking for are those for my kids and our dog and can include everything from toys, art supplies, books and clothing to personal care items. As I mentioned above, my perception is that US-made products must adhere to stringent quality and safety standards which become important factors to consider when purchasing items like car seats. But another compelling reason to shop for products Made in the U.S.A. is to support our country’s economy.
Why is it Important to Invest in US-Made products?
- The creation of jobs is one of the major catalysts for bringing manufacturing back to the US. In addition to jobs in the fields of manufacturing, employment opportunities exist in fields like accounting, medical, retail, foodservice, and much more.
- Manufacturing products in the US decreases transportation time and ultimately cost.
What is the U.S. Manufacturing Summit?
Now in it’s third year, this two-day event offered brands the opportunity to present their products to buyers from Walmart and Sam’s Club for immediate purchase. Some of the products I’m particularly excited about include a pizza oven conversion kit by KettlePizza which can be used on charcoal grills, sunblock from Blamtastic, and sustainable seafood entrees from FishPeople. During the Open Call portion of the summit, Walmart buyers heard over 1,000 pitches for US-made products and I can’t wait to see this particular area grow, realized in my local store.
On the second day of the summit, attendees heard from a number of prominent speakers about trends and innovations impacting the American Jobs initiative. Additionally, representatives from 30 states were present to talk about how to bring manufacturing back to their communities, including state-specific incentives. It was during this time period that head of US Marketing Steven Quinn interviewed Jenn Fowler and I on-stage to share our perspective on purchasing US-made products.
Walmart’s 10-Year Commitment to US Manufacturing
In 2013, Walmart pledged to to purchase an additional $50 billion (total $250 billion) in US-made products over a ten-year time span in an effort to grow US manufacturing and create jobs. At present, items that are made, sourced, or grown in the US account for two-thirds of the products purchased to be sold at Walmart. However, Walmart realized that there is still room to do more. One of the goals of this year’s 2015 US Manufacturing Summit was to help increase the purchase of US manufactured goods, source “new to Walmart” US manufactured goods, and re-shore the manufacturing of goods currently bought by working with their suppliers. Walmart is not only purchasing US-made products for sale…they are working to help companies who already make products right here in the US to increase production and become suppliers.
What Can You Do?
At times, I feel like the world’s problems are out of my realm of capability. But not so when it comes to creating jobs and investing in our economy. By simply looking for that “Made in the USA” identifier, I can shop with a purpose, knowing that my purchases are making a difference. Products in-store should be labeled, calling out the fact that they were Made in the USA. If you prefer to shop online, you can visit Walmart’s dedicated Made in America site where you can easily shop for US-made products.