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Why Buy American Made Hardware?

Posted by Premier Hardware Designs, David Willison on

If you are my age, you probably remember Lee Iacocca coming on your TV constantly in the 1980s begging us to "Buy American". Lee would go on to explain to us just how much better Chrysler products were compared to Japanese imports because of American ingenuity and skill. Well as a person who drove one of Lee's K cars, I can tell you that they fell just a little short of their promises. Really ugly, boxy designs combined with bad engines do not make a memorable car experience.

So what does this have to do with cabinet hardware buying in 2014? Well, we could be heading into a transition back to more American made products. China has been losing some of its luster as a supplier due to many different factors. First of which is their increasing labor costs. China has become such an economic powerhouse because it was always able to tap into their huge population to keep their labor costs lower than everyone else. Due to such fast economic growth, this pool of cheap labor has been dried up. Factories are now no longer able to get enough educated workers to run the more complex machinery that factories have had to buy in order to provide the higher quality cabinet hardware that the American market demands. This has led to higher costs and lower quality hardware than I saw coming from China a decade ago. Talking with other importers and large kitchen manufacturers that deal with multiple vendors who all import from China, everyone has commented on both the rising prices and the lower quality coming from overseas.

The newest thing we have seen are the number of the large cabinet hardware factories moving out of China and into neighboring countries like Vietnam so they can tap into their low labor costs. Unfortunately, this simply restarts the cycle of increasing wages and then looking for the next country to provide lower wages. With every move, you can never really know what kind of quality you will receive from shipment to shipment.

As much as we at Premier Hardware Designs would love to just offer our American made pewter hardware, we deal with a number of large kitchen manufacturers that we have to compete on price against much larger companies. Dealing with China is something we will continue to have to do but we would love to concentrate more and more on our pewter hardware. Our current casting company continues to do a great job and has been wonderful to work with. Just let this little blog post be a bit of a cautionary tale to cabinet hardware consumers out there.If you are my age, you probably remember Lee Iacocca coming on your TV constantly in the 1980s begging us to "Buy American". Lee would go on to explain to us just how much better Chrysler products were compared to Japanese imports because of American ingenuity and skill. Well as a person who drove one of Lee's K cars, I can tell you that they fell just a little short of their promises. Really ugly, boxy designs combined with bad engines do not make a memorable car experience.

So what does this have to do with cabinet hardware buying in 2014? Well, we could be heading into a transition back to more American made products. China has been losing some of its luster as a supplier due to many different factors. First of which is their increasing labor costs. China has become such an economic powerhouse because it was always able to tap into their huge population to keep their labor costs lower than everyone else. Due to such fast economic growth, this pool of cheap labor has been dried up. Factories are now no longer able to get enough educated workers to run the more complex machinery that factories have had to buy in order to provide the higher quality cabinet hardware that the American market demands. This has led to higher costs and lower quality hardware than I saw coming from China a decade ago. Talking with other importers and large kitchen manufacturers that deal with multiple vendors who all import from China, everyone has commented on both the rising prices and the lower quality coming from overseas.

The newest thing we have seen are the number of the large cabinet hardware factories moving out of China and into neighboring countries like Vietnam so they can tap into their low labor costs. Unfortunately, this simply restarts the cycle of increasing wages and then looking for the next country to provide lower wages. With every move, you can never really know what kind of quality you will receive from shipment to shipment.

As much as we at Premier Hardware Designs would love to just offer our American made pewter hardware, we deal with a number of large kitchen manufacturers that we have to compete on price against much larger companies. Dealing with China is something we will continue to have to do but we would love to concentrate more and more on our pewter hardware. Our current casting company continues to do a great job and has been wonderful to work with. Just let this little blog post be a bit of a cautionary tale to cabinet hardware consumers out there.