An article in last Thursday's New York Times titled "Love It? Check the Label" discusses an evolving trend whereby increasing numbers of U.S. consumers actively search for products "Made in the U.S.A.". The article points out how Made in the U.S.A. used to be a label flaunted primarily by consumers in the Rust Belt, hardcore conservative and protectionists, but is becoming increasingly important to consumers across all socio-economic and political persuasions.
Some of the obvious reasons experts cite for this 'Buy American" movement include:
Another not so obvious reason that was cited is quality. According to the NYT article:
- Environmental: The belief that buying “locally made” products reduces carbon emissions from transporting them;
- Economical: A concern that the rising tide of imports will damage the economy and hurt everybody;
- Safety: The fear that products made abroad (mainly, in the third world) may be unsafe.
"With so many mass-market goods made off-shore, American-made products, which are often more expensive, have come to connote luxury. New Balance produces less expensive running shoes abroad, but it still makes the top-of-the-line 992 model — which the company says requires 80 manufacturing steps and costs $135 — in Maine." And as a result of all this, many brands are beginning to exploit the cachet of “Made in the U.S.A.” in their marketing.
And it's paying off.
So this got me thinking - as companies like AT&T, Dell and many airlines have experienced customer backlash over the poor quality of customer service for calls outsourced to other parts of the world, will we begin to see companies start touting their customer service calls are "Serviced in the U.S.A."? And what if a growing number of procurement departments, as a part of the RFP process, start asking software vendors questions like what percentage of their products were coded by non U.S. developers oversees? Will we start to see "Coded in the U.S.A."?
Given the globalization of the world economy, it is unlikely to happen but it is interesting to see this trend evolve.
Posted by Mark Willaman