As a 3rd generation die maker from Michigan, I have certainly been raised in and around factories my entire life. Having supplied, worked with and consulted other manufacturers around the world, I appreciate the daily grind we as people endure in every factory on the planet. I love a factory whether in Shenzhen, China; Queretaro, Mexico or Besencon, France. The smell and sounds of industry never get old, nor do my memories of the many faces behind the machines who like me, dedicate their life to the most misunderstood greatest job creator in the world.
We’re a global economy now and for me at 47, it’s been that way my entire career–we’ve just been taught to believe otherwise. There are as many reasons for this as there are excuses. Greed, politics, practicality, skill and cost are easily both the reasons and the excuses. When I was a kid, Made in China meant cheap labor subbed out to uneducated countries who merely assembled products made from superior US engineered and built tools. Of course, every Matchbox car I ever owned was made in Hong Kong, Japan or China. These days, those countries possess skills and training programs that continue to grow their infrastructure that creates more jobs than any government program could ever conceive.
And if they choose to, those countries can now produce those Matchbox cars at costs we cannot conceive because they’ve created, implemented and excelled at manufacturing excellence and efficiency for generations now while in USA, manufacturing continues to get beaten down for polluting and taking advantage of those poor factory workers who have no other job choice because of racial and financial inequality caused by the evil bosses at the top of every US company who sold out by exporting jobs to make a profit for the share holders. All the while, our US manufacturing base continues to decline. Working in a factory is a demeaning job. Go to college, get a degree and work in an office. Office of what? How’s your Political Science or Spanish degree working out for you now, Mr. Office guy?
A factory creates the need for an office. The typical factory will at some time employ with good reason all of the following: Attorney, accountant, book keeper, advertising agency, engineer, salesman, manager, trainee, unskilled labor, skilled tradesman. Sub groups of these include retirees, veterans, abled and disabled, functional and dysfunctional, brilliant and brainless, literate and illiterate, socially awkward and sociopaths to name a few. Some of my most noted mechanical genius teachers were dyslexic or virtually illiterate but taught me how to braze carbide, machine, grind and troubleshoot and run machines most people have never heard of. My teachers often spoke no English but manufacturing is language barrier free. And let us not forget, most consumer goods we all own have never been made in America, nor have most of us had the mere opportunity to bid on making a part for any of them because the infrastructure is efficiently grouped outside of our borders. Why make a heavy electric motor here when the rest of the washing machine is being made 7,000 miles away? Save on shipping and make it next door. Just ask Dyson, Emerson Electric and General Electric while thanking Whirlpool for not following suit.
In bashing foreign competition and US manufacturing in the same rant, the US Office elite forgot about why most of us do what we do for a living; Why we return to the often dirty, noisy, stressful factory to work harder and earn less. Simple answer, and this is worldwide–it is because as real manufacturers, it’s in our blood. Like generations of soldier families who follow in their parents’ and grandparents’ footsteps, farmers, masons, ferriers and all skilled laborers fulfill our days using and sharing the knowledge and skills learned to better our futures with a keen eye on our past. We remember where we came from and we strive to add value to our lives and to the lives around us. We’re generous with our knowledge, hungry to share and to learn. Commando Lock proudly manufactures what we do best. We purchase components from other manufacturers who are the best what they make, whether they be in St. Charles, Michigan or yes, a hardworking factory on the East coast of Mainland China. Collectively, we create value and by doing so, we create jobs that support countless families who in this manufacturer’s mind, are the most important people we all know. After all, who needs another lock manufacturer anyway?
Thank you to the kind people at HBS Dealer magazine for recognizing Commando Lock in your Made in USA issue. We’re one in the same. Your insightful publication both in print and digital format, create employment and opportunity for countless families who like me, truly appreciate your efforts and make our efforts that much more meaningful.
Commando Lock is a US manufacturer of padlocks based in Michigan. Our products are proudly made in USA with US and global components.