'Made on Earth'."Which is more American?" quizzed a headline that caught my eye in the March 22 edition of USA Today USA Today
National U.S. daily general-interest newspaper, the first of its kind. Launched in 1982 by Allen Neuharth, head of the Gannett newspaper chain, it reached a circulation of one million within a year and surpassed two million in the 1990s. .
What made this headline doubly intriguing was the graphic directly below it, showing a side-by-side comparison of a Chevy HHR HHR Heritage High Roof (vehicle style)
HHR Half Horizontal Resolution (digital television)
HHR Honda Humanoid Robot
HHR Hand-Held Radios
HHR Harry/Hermione Relationship and a Toyota Sienna Not to be confused with Toyota Sienta.
The Toyota Sienna is a minivan built in the United States for the North American market, and shares its platform and engine with the Toyota Camry. . The graphic observed that 41 percent of the HHR's content was "made in the USA or Canada" vs. 85 percent of the Sienna's content which was "made in the USA or Canada." It further noted that the HHR is assembled in Mexico, while the Sienna sienna: see ocher. is assembled in Indiana.
What would have seemed impossible 20 to 25 years ago and implausible 10 to 15 years ago, now merely seems ironic. At the same time that U.S. icon GM, the world's largest automaker, is sourcing more than half of its parts and production for the HHR outside of the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. , Japanese stalwart Toyota, the world's most profitable automaker, is employing the opposite strategy for its Sienna and creating more U.S. manufacturing jobs in the process.
The USA Today story illustrates the extent that globalization globalization
Process by which the experience of everyday life, marked by the diffusion of commodities and ideas, is becoming standardized around the world. Factors that have contributed to globalization include increasingly sophisticated communications and transportation has put a topsy-turvy spin on the U.S. auto industry. Toyota is but one of many foreign car manufacturers that have opened plants in the United States to get closer to its customers here. Like GM, Ford and Chrysler have looked beyond the U.S. border to source parts, production and assembly of its products to lower costs.
The Wood Products World
Over the past decade, globalization also has left an indelible mark on the U.S. wood products industry. China's emergence as a world furniture super power has come at the expense of U.S. residential furniture manufacturing. Many of the best known names--Broyhill, Pulaski and Hooker to name but a few--have completely shut down their domestic wood furniture manufacturing operations in favor of outsourcing full Lines of furniture from China and elsewhere.
There seems to be no end to the hemorrhaging of U.S. home furniture manufacturing output and jobs. Last month, Bassett Furniture announced it would close one of its three plants and step up its import program. In a twist to this recurring story line, Richardson Bros BROS Brothers
BROS Benefits and Retirement Operations Section (King County, Washington)
BROS Barnes and Richmond Operatic Society (London, UK) ., which manufactured solid wood furniture for 120 years before closing its Wisconsin factory in 2003, recently said it also would quit importing furniture and exit the furniture business altogether.
On the flip side Flip side
In the context of general equities, opposite side to a proposition or position (buy, if sell is the proposition and vice versa). , recent years have seen pockets of foreign investment in U.S. wood products manufacturing. Most notably, the popularity of laminate flooring has led to the development of U.S. plants by Pergo, Unilin and Kronotex. On the furniture front, Swedwood, the manufacturing division of international furniture retail giant Ikea, recently revealed plans to build an 810,000-square-foot factory in Danville, VA. In an unrelated announcement, Sauder Woodworking, the largest U.S. furniture manufacturer of ready-to-assemble furniture, has inked an agreement with Ikea to supply kitchen cabinet components.
The composite panel industry has witnessed buyouts of several particleboard par·ti·cle·board or particle board
A structural material made of wood fragments, such as chips or shavings, that are mechanically pressed into sheet form and bonded together with resin. and MDF (1) (Main Distribution Frame) A wiring rack that connects outside lines with internal lines. It is used to connect public or private lines coming into the building to internal networks. mills by Aconcagua Timber Corp., a Chilean concern, and Last year's blockbuster buyout of six Weyerhaeuser panel plants by Flakeboard of Canada, which has recently pledged to upgrade several of them with new melamine melamine (mĕl`əmēn'), common name for 2,4,6-triamino-1,3,5-triazine. Melamine is a trimer (see polymer) of cyanamide, H2NC≡N, and is synthesized from calcium carbide. production capability.
What's in a Label?
What does "Made in America" or made in anywhere, for that matter, mean today? Even a 10-man custom furniture shop in Wichita, KS, can attend the International Woodworking Fair in Atlanta or the AWFS AWFS Association of Woodworking & Furnishings Suppliers Fair in Las Vegas and develop a global supply chain that encompasses everything from machinery, tooling and software, through raw materials, components and hardware. That same shop might well have a multicultural workforce, too.
Several years ago, the American Furniture Manufacturers Assn. attempted to create a nationally recognized labeling program for American-made furniture that was based on a majority of components being manufactured domestically, plus assembled and finished here. That effort went by the wayside when the AFMA AFMA Australian Fisheries Management Authority
AFMA Australian Financial Markets Association
AFMA American Film Marketing Association (now known simply as AFMA)
AFMA American Furniture Manufacturers Association morphed into the American Home Furnishings Alliance in 2004, a move which eliminated the requirement of members to have a U.S. manufacturing facility.
Other than the hundreds of thousands of laid-off workers and affected industry suppliers, it's hard to find many Americans who seem to worry about the erosion of U.S. manufacturing. While investors put an emphasis on maximizing profits, consumers show they care more about how much they paid than where their products were made.
Given this seeming indifference to the country of origin and considering the melding of investment, equipment and supply sourcing at factories everywhere on the globe, perhaps someday soon' Labels such as "Made in the USA" or "Made in China" will give way to a more accurate bearing--"Made on Earth."