It’s a safe bet you haven’t seen a “Made in the USA” label on many products ranging from electronics to your clothes in quite some time.
However, a growing trend is bringing this phrase back in a big way: new-shoring. While reshoring has already been underway to return jobs to the U.S., new-shoring creates new positions altogether.
So where can business owners turn to harness the benefits of protecting IP and producing quality products domestically? And devise a new-shoring strategy that delivers the results they need? Here are eight resources, from suppliers to manufacturing vendors, to help you navigate and get your product made in the USA.
1. ThomasNet.com. Certainly the price is right for this supplier resource. This free online platform allows you to search for manufacturing vendors in your local region, which can help you overcome one of the largest business challenges you may face: supply-chain issues. Not only can entrepreneurs search for suppliers from among 700,000 industrial and commercial entities, but manufacturers are also able to seek out buyers, which ultimately helps businesses get off the ground. Users can source materials for their products and generate custom quotes, all through a single interface.
2. National Institute of Standards and Technology. This organization is actually an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) and a champion of the “Make it in America” campaign developed by the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP). Although the website maintains a mission focused on helping small and midsize U.S. manufacturers, it also provides a tool that allows entrepreneurs to find a local MEP in their state. Using this resource, you can find manufacturing organizations that help connect designers and builders to suppliers, potentially reducing business costs.
3. Manta. Similar to ThomasNet.com but on a smaller scale, Manta keeps a sharp eye on the small-business community. The sites gives you access to information about manufacturers and suppliers from virtually every industry. For instance, if you search for U.S. manufacturing companies, the site provides roughly 50,000 names that you can view in depth. From fabricators to tool supply firms, Manta lets you explore while providing recommendations and verifying all businesses that show up on the results page. Meanwhile, the site allows you to create an online profile that connects you with customers once your product has taken shape.
4. SourceSync. Moving away from a database approach of finding manufacturers, this consulting firm takes on more of the legwork. Based out of Chicago, SourceSync Consulting focuses primarily on the high-end needs of business owners who have developed a working idea or model that may appear to work on paper, but hasn’t been tangibly realized. As a consulting firm, the company takes on a personalized approach, helping entrepreneurs with engineering, 3D modeling, and sourcing. The price tag will likely be higher than working with online tools, but the company boasts partnerships with manufacturers throughout the U.S., which puts less pressure to find the perfect supplier.
5. American Small Manufacturers Coalition. This online resource enables entrepreneurs to develop partnerships with small manufacturers in the U.S., similar to the services offered by NIST (No. 2 above). This association of manufacturing extension agents encourages business owners to develop their products with strategic resources that will help them become integrated into the global marketplace. For instance, if you’re a startup owner in Illinois, you’re led to the Illinois Manufacturing Extension Center, which displays partnership opportunities and lets you to submit requests online to find a local supplier.
6. Manufacturing.net. Sometimes forgotten during the rush and confusion to find a supplier to collaborate with are trade publications. Take, for example, Manufacturing.net, an online news source that’s filled to the gills with information. The resources section is a gold mine. In alphabetical order, the site generates a beefy list of manufacturers, including their location so that you can easily find the supplier closest to your business. Once you click on the manufacturer, all contact information is displayed, as well as any articles that the news source may have published about the company.
7. Manufacturer.com. Like its distant cousin ThomasNet.com, this dot-com is an online platform that connects suppliers and buyers from around the world. However, because this list is about bolstering the new-shoring approach to manufacturing, the website also allows entrepreneurs to single out American suppliers. Using the drop-down function in the search menu, you can choose the correct category from the list and find a manufacturer to help you find “Solar Lamps,” for instance. From here you can find a manufacturer, wholesaler, or reseller for your particular needs.
8. ENF Ltd. While many of the previous resources listed here will lead a business owner to a varied list of suppliers, this particular site is an excellent source for individuals looking for solar-panel suppliers. Seventy crystalline solar-panel manufacturers are on the list, and ENF even includes the power range of the equipment the companies provide. If you hope to create a more environmentally friendly product but don’t know where to turn for clean energy solutions, this site might be able to lead you in the right direction.