The Importance of U.S. Manufacturing

On Thursday, November 19th, NK's CEO Alix James participated in a panel discussion on U.S. Manufacturing at the Keystone Conference on Business and Policy at the University of Pennsylvania. There, she discussed the benefits of making products on American soil, and she explained why U.S. manufacturing is such a critical part of NK’s business success.

Historically, U.S. manufacturing has deep roots in Pennsylvania, where companies have relied on domestic labor and warehouses to build and distribute products since the 1700s. In our increasingly interconnected world, many organizations have moved their manufacturing bases overseas. They cite lower labor costs, reduced taxes and cheaper parts as motivating factors. However, as Bloomberg Business points out, there are so many public and private benefits of producing products domestically, including:

  • Family-sustaining employment
  • Skilled workforce access, and development
  • Higher quality products
  • Lower environmental impact due to transportation
  • Improved customer service

U.S. manufacturing is a great economic stimulus, and it puts many community members to work. NK, for example, employs over 85 individuals in the greater Philadelphia area. “We are proud to put hands-on manufacturers, design and mechanical engineers, research and development gurus, technicians, customer service reps, sales and marketing staff, controllers and other talented individuals to work every day” says Alix. Because manufacturing pulls in supplies and services from many other industries, manufacturing activity also has a strong multiplier effect on the economy. Data from the US Bureau of Economic Analysis shows that every dollar of manufacturing output produces another $1.33 in support from other sectors, the largest multiplier effect of any industry.

Quality is another benefit of American manufacturing. We don't mass-produce our products at NK, which means that we pay attention to quality. “Our products are backed by a 5-year warranty, which is very rare in consumer electronics,” Alix points out, noting that NK's devices generally have a long lifespan. NK customers know they are making a one-time investment in quality instead of purchasing multiple disposable devices.

NK is also a completely integrated team. If you call us, you'll talk to someone who is intimately familiar with the product and eager to help you out, and who is also sitting right next to the engineers that designed the product, and steps away from the people who built and tested it. Because NK is a lean manufacturer, most of the orders we ship each day were built just a few days prior – no old, shelf-worn inventory here!