American Manufacturing Gets a Boost from Walmart

Walmart announced their latest Made in the USA initiative last year, and they’ve made good use of their purchasing power to increase manufacturing in the states ever since. Walmart is in a position to assure manufacturers that their investment in American factories will pay off, and their logistics and supply chain expertise allows them to provide technical support for companies that are willing to transition from offshoring to U.S. factories. With this combination of push and pull, they’ve been working with manufacturers to increase American-made products in their stores.

Now they’ve issued an open call for American-made goods. On July 8th, 2014, Walmart corporate will open its offices and meeting rooms to new suppliers with U.S.-made goods, and to current suppliers who have American-made products not currently carried in Walmart stores.

All the manufacturers have to do is to fill out an application for the event. Would-be suppliers can always fill out an application at the Walmart corporate website, but insiders say it is very hard to get an appointment with a buyer under normal circumstances; many manufacturers hire outside consultants and brokers to help them get that meeting.

For U.S. manufacturers, the open call is an unusual fast track to space on the shelves of the world’s largest retailer.  If it turns out well for Walmart, it could be repeated. Companies that are still offshoring may feel moved to make a change in anticipation of future open calls.

Manufacturing in the U.S. has been making a comeback in recent years in any case, as offshore workers begin to demand higher wages and costs of offshoring rise. The latest move by Walmart may inspire more U.S. companies to move their production home.

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