More Than Warm and Fuzzy: Why American-made Material Is Critical to Your Project
A lot has been said recently in the marketplace and in the news about the need for products to be MADE IN THE USA. After all, 2012 is an election year, and American-made products are a hot button when people are out of work. Just look at all the websites and organizations promoting the need to “BUY AMERICA.” But again, to many people this is just a feel-good issue to feed on the “crisis of the moment.” The real issue is WHY?
The bottom line is that many project owners, contractors, inspectors and users simply WANT products that are made in America. Why? Because of QUALITY and RISK MANAGEMENT. You may try and argue that most homeowners or office tenants could care less – that they have too many other things to worry about, simply aren’t aware of country of origin issues, or are only concerned with price and appearance. I would argue otherwise.
I suspect that most people today will not accept Chinese drywall after all of the issues that have arisen with homes contaminated by the product. And what about those contractors or distributors who purchased Chinese EMT, only to have UL pull the UL listing when it was found that the product did not meet corrosion testing requirements? How were they going to be able to recover their costs once they realized they could no longer sell or install this material – much less address the concerns of those building owners or homeowners who had this material installed? This is a SAFETY issue as well as a COST issue.
The bottom line is this: Why take the risk of buying foreign products?
As a distributor, do you really know that the products on your shelf are not going to a state or federally funded project that requires only Made in the USA or Made in America products? As a contractor, do you want the risk of installing foreign products, only to find later that the products do not meet certain standards? It simply doesn’t make sense to take these kinds of risks.
For example, with steel conduit, you may be buying rigid or IMC conduit with very prominent markings that declare, very proudly, to be “MADE IN THE USA,” only to find the couplings are from France or Korea!
The best option for steel conduit is to ask, by name, for Wheatland Tube electrical conduit and fittings – WHEATLAND ELECTRICAL PRODUCTS ALWAYS MEET MADE IN THE USA REQUIREMENTS. But, at the very least, do not allow yourself to be misled – DEMAND “MADE IN THE USA” ON YOUR PURCHASE ORDER. Make sure your vendor/supplier pulls your order from the pile that meets this requirement. Do not accept a liability because your vendor/supplier wants to cut their costs, making them more money BUT transferring the risk to YOU.