How Does Made-in-USA Help Suppliers?
Hugh: The best story I would have is this past year we were able to add the Double Dipper to our Walmart business. The Double Dipper is a bowl my wife came up with. So our mod fill was on the first of March. We had 90,000 Double Dippers that were about to ship in less than 10 days and I’m in the movies on a Saturday afternoon with my wife and my in-laws.
The manufacturing plant which is in Prairie Grove about 15 miles away calls me at 3 on a Saturday. If that call comes in at 3 on Saturday I know something’s wrong. So I answer the phone. They said hey, we got a big-time problem. All the labels are falling off the bowls. We have 90,000 bowls to fill in less than 10 days. So I call an Uber. I Uber home so that my, my wife and in-laws have a vehicle. Get in my truck and drive out to Prairie Grove.
This is in February so it’s cold outside. All the labels are falling off. We have no idea what’s going on. So we get a bunch of samples. We put labels. I leave ‘em in the cold to see if the cold’s makin’ ‘em fall of. We, we run ‘em in the microwave to see if the heat’s makin’ ‘em fall off. We’re trying to figure out, you know, all Saturday afternoon what’s going on. Finally, I call my label people. The label people say, start asking me questions and we start to hone in on the temperature of the bowls when we apply the labels. So Sunday I’m back out to Polytech in Prairie Grove. And I have one of those little laser temperature guns. So I’m measuring’ the temperature of the bowls as they fall off the mold. We figure out they’re too hot. So the bowls come out. We let ‘em sit for a few minutes. Apply the label. No problem. So by Sunday afternoon, we’re pretty sure we had the issue addressed.
So, you know, basically what was getting’ ready to happen is Monday morning I’m calling my buyer and saying hey, we have a big-time problem. Our mod fill might not go as set. That’s a phone call you don’t want to make. So because I have, you know, a great manufacturer and I was able to get there, you know, they’re 15 miles away from me. We were able to figure out the label situation and avoid making a call to the buyer. And that’s not possible if you’re dealing with somebody overseas or really too far away in the United States. So that’s an invaluable part of doing business with not only local people but people here in the U.S.
What are the Other Benefits of Domestic Sourcing?
Hugh: Without the supplier being here and really working with us we wouldn’t be in operation. But we have been able to pick up business not only from Walmart but from Academy Sports. When we are filling orders weekly we are not only cutting out a ton of logistics issues for our customers, we’re cutting out warehousing issues for our customers, forecasting issues for our customers. And we’re able to provide a product on a weekly replenishment basis that really reduces the headache for the customer. And if you can figure out the price and you can get to the right price being able to eliminate problems for your customer is, is invaluable.