P is for Product

I remember overhearing this conversation about thirty years ago…my dad was talking to my grandpa about concerns for the future. Most-specifically, that economists were predicting that we (the people of the United States) were developing into a country of lower-pay service jobs. I’m not an economist, but I think we have become just that. What has happened to the products we used to manufacture?

We all know that many corporations moved their product manufacturing overseas because growing countries have workers who are willing to work for less pay than Americans have come to expect. Our domestic manufacturing jobs provided good incomes that allowed Americans to buy houses, furniture and cars. This in turn kept home builders, furniture makers and automobile plants in business. Those middle-class jobs also fuel taxes that support and run our government and provide services for the poor. When big  corporations chase the cheap labor, eventually the economic structure weakens and collectively we all suffer.

We’ve had clients who we’ve supported while growing into larger companies. Sometimes when that happens all the hard work that has been put into developing their packaging and material becomes a commodity. Something that was created with late nights, overtime and worry, has now been reduced to a price on a piece of paper. Locally we’re no better than the big corporations who chase the cheap. We do it everyday and we’ll come up with our excuses too…just like they do. They have investors to report to, and we? Well, we report to our own bottom lines, but it’s not that different. So, what am I saying here? I don’t know, today I feel like I have a lot to say, but I don’t want to ramble on and on. I believe my point is that I’m happy to have my job and I like manufacturing. It’s sad to see people who are not thankful for their jobs, or who might just be tired. I get tired too but I also know that it is the sale of a product that pays my bills and I’m still thankful I have a way to do that. It’s not very glamorous and it’s certainly work. Is that what this is really all about? Do we want the services without the work? If the basic structure begins to fail, we won’t have enough jobs then to support the services. Again, I’m not an economist, but we all are a part of the structure and we all need to do our part of making it strong again.

There, I said it….now I’ll get down from my soapbox and get back to work.

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One thought on “P is for Product

  1. I think what’s interesting is companies like Dell have recognized that outsourcing their tech-support actually cost them more than operating domestically because people were very annoyed to talk to someone in Bangalore. Companies like Toyota actually produce most of the cars they sell in America in America…so the trend may be reversing, which will bring some of those manufacturing jobs back to the US.

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