Monday, October 25, 2010

Competing with China

I do a little work with the Girl Scouts, and we give the girls event patches when they come to the University campus for activities.  There's a group coming in two weeks for a "CSI" activity, and I discovered last week that I'm low on CSI event patches.

We buy the patches from a company in Pennsylvania, but they're manufactured in China, presumably on a numerical-control cutting and embroidery machine.

Last Wednesday we gave the folks in Pennsylvania a credit card number for a reorder of 350 of our custom CSI patches.   The process seems to be that the programming is sent electronically to the factory in China, the patches are made, coated with heat-seal backing, and packaged.  Then they're air-freighted along with a bunch of other orders, from China to Pennsylvania, and finally shipped by UPS to me.

This noon I got email from UPS telling me my patches had been shipped from Pennsylvania.  That's two full working days, plus about two half-days from the time we placed the order.

I'll have my custom-embroidered patches less than a week after I ordered them, even though they were manufactured halfway around the world.  They'll be here faster and cost less than if they'd been made right here in Marietta, Georgia.

That's what we have to compete with if we are to compete against China for light manufacturing.

I'm glad I'll have the event patches so my Girl Sprouts won't be disappointed, but I am not a little worried.

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