Buy American, By Americans
A Little Extra Insurance
Steven Meyer, MAS, vice president of sales for Molenaar LLC, Willmar, Minn., noted another consideration for going with American manufacturers. "Obviously testing and material content regulation has had a major impact on suppliers' costs, but more importantly on advertisers' thoughts. The glasses recalled last year in the McDonald's Shrek promotion were below any regulatory standards," he said.
If product safety wasn't a major concern for both suppliers and distributors in the industry 10 years ago, it is now. With the Customer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) regulations weighing heavily on the industry's mind, a safe product supply chain is of the utmost importance, especially when everyone in the supply chain is held responsible.
"When defective products are placed in the stream of commerce, liability can attach to everybody in the distribution chain, beginning with the product and component part manufacturers, to the wholesalers and ultimately down to the distributorss who pass on the products to the final consumers," explained Lisa Lori Esq., Klehr, Harrison, Harvey, Branzburg, LLP, based out of Philadelphia.
Ellis explained how strong the safety benefits are when sourcing from American factories, "American manufacturers, who source their materials domestically, benefit from a highly sophisticated regulatory system which has taken over 100 years to develop." What you may not know as a distributor is when you buy American, there are certain assurances that you can expect to be in place. "[American Manufacturers] can rely on written assurances from their supply sources that their materials comply with the various product safety regulations, that their products meet certain design specifications, that their quality levels are within tolerance, etc.," continued Ellis. But if these agreed-upon qualities are modified without informing the customer, then legal action against the vendor can be taken. "Such legal protection is simply not available to suppliers who import their product from developing countries, and as a result, they have only limited control over the quality of the product they bring in to re-sell," he explained.