“Buy American!” It’s a slogan that has been around since the beginning of imports to the US and will likely never go away. Buying American made goods in the plumbing, HVAC & hydronic industry, like anywhere else, supports local jobs and keeps revenue streams within our shores. But, at what cost do we as trade contractors have to pay to source our materials from within our country?
A common response I get as John and I travel to local and national tradeshows, tour manufacturing facilities or meet face to face with contractors in the field is that when asked if buying American is important is an overwhelming “Yes”! Sure you’ll hear responses such as “We try to buy American products as often as possible.” Or “Sometimes we are limited to what is stocked and supported through our local supply chain.” After all, isn’t that the reality? My response would echo all three of the above if asked the same question. Would you have a different answer if asked if buying American was important to you as a business owner?
What about employees? The ordering of materials at the “Will-Call” desk by field techs is a regular occurrence for many companies. More often than not the job materials needed are very specific to certain appliance models or applications and usually limited to only one or two alternatives of each. In past experience as an employee I can honestly say that the materials I would order for my jobs were spelled out and spec’ed by the project manager or company owner based on pricing and availability. Sure, buying American was always preferred in any situation but a conscious effort and business planning have to be in place to perpetuate that behavior. With or without such an effort our purchasing patterns most definitely dictate what is available on the shelf of our local suppliers.
Today and tomorrow I am a guest on a tour of the Watts Water Technologies Franklin Foundry ribbon cutting ceremony representing Mechanical-hub and I can say with enthusiasm that great efforts to gear up for the coming No-Lead legislation have been made in New Hampshire, with a huge emphasis in keeping jobs within our shores. The investment and innovation built in to Watts’ new foundry facility is rivaled by very few in our industry with forecasts placing a large share of the lead free purchasing now and in the future on buy American. Made in the USA isn’t just a marketing label or slogan for the good people working amongst some of the most technologically advanced foundry machinery and facilities found anywhere in the world, it’s an investment into our people.
The lead free legislation topic has created a lot of buzz as the implementation date nears. A lot of questions remain to be answered and a whole lot more are sure to be raised as we get even closer to the launch date. One thing is certain for me after witnessing such an amazing effort and investment into our country, buying American should definitely be at the top of the agenda for all of us that call this great nation our home.