15017 Mon, 08/11/2008 - 11:55am
Greetings From Corning, N.Y.
Corelle dinnerware, with the exception of its mugs and cups, has always been manufactured in Corning, N.Y. The new Corningware Simply Lite bakeware line, which is made from the same laminated glass, is made in the same factory. Sister company Pyrex manufactures in Charleroi, Pa.
Corelle is the number-one dinnerware brand in America, according to HFN brand studies, and a perennial best seller, but it is unclear whether its American-made status has contributed to its popularity. Parent company World Kitchen has learned through research that consumers prefer products that are made in the U.S.A. and appreciate when that fact is called out (such as with a Made in the USA flag on the packaging). But it also found that identifying country of origin is not a key differentiator in product purchases.
Corelle and Pyrex have enjoyed the media limelight for their American lineage. Pyrex was featured in a Travel Channel show called “John Ratzenberger’s Made in America,” which traced the production of Pyrex from beginning to end. Pyrex and Corelle have been featured on segments of Food Network’s “Unwrapped” program. Corelle was highlighted on “How It’s Made,” a Canadian program that features factories in North America and beyond. — Allison Zisko
Bringing It Back Home
Hollander Home Fashions attempted to move some of its production abroad, but then returned to domestic production.
Currently, Hollander sources shells for pillows, comforters and mattress pads, and the fill for these products, from overseas sources. It then finishes the production on those items at its U.S. facilities. Several years back, the company tried sourcing finished basic bedding from abroad, primarily from China, but then abandoned the idea.
“We found quality issues with finished products from abroad,” said Jeff Hollander, the company’s chief executive officer. “We also had cost issues because you pay a ton on freight for finished products, especially comforters, which are bulky to ship.”
Hollander also compared his cost ratio per selling price of sourcing finished products versus sourcing the materials and doing the finishing in this country.
“My direct-labor cost is 6 percent of our selling price from making the products here,” he said. “If I did it abroad, the direct-labor cost would be 2 percent to 4 percent of my selling price, but we’d give all of that back in freight costs.” Also, because the company’s retail customers have such short ordering cycles, it pays for it to have the finished goods ready to go in its warehouses.
The company continues to source fabrics it can’t get in this country from abroad as well. “The U.S. State Department recognized that it was good policy to encourage resident industries such as sewing in certain countries,” Hollander said. “We have found that we get good quality on some of those fabrics.” — David Gill
Sphinx Makes U.S.
Selling Point for Line
The carpet industry remains one of the few that always maintained a strong showing in U.S.-based manufacturing, with much of that business happening in Georgia. Joining the fray in the broadloom business is Sphinx by Oriental Weavers with a new line of carpet made in the unofficial carpet capital of Dalton, Ga.
“For the new broadloom aspect of the business, one of our selling points is we’re making it in the U.S.,” said Kim Reynolds, vice president of marketing for Sphinx. “We’re weaving it here in Dalton and we’re right here as well.”
Reynolds said the stateside manufacturing situation has met with approval from their retail customers who appreciate the fact the product is so readily available and will often simply just need to be cut in order to reach them.
Reynolds said the location of the product translates to convenience for all parties with the added bonus of expertise from the company’s existing staff.
“We have the design staff here and the looms are right here as well,” she said, noting the naturally increased communication resulting from all interested parties being in such close proximity to one another adds to the effectiveness of both the product itself and its delivery. “For the serviceability of the broadloom market, the local production was necessary.” — Jennifer Quail
Cast Iron and Cornbread
In the town of South Pittsburg, Tenn.—population 3,300—Lodge Manufacturing has made cast iron products for most of the 112 years the company has been in existence. And it’s going to stay that way, as the board of directors has decreed that “our core brand will always be made in the U.S.,” said Mark Kelly, marketing communications manager.
Employing 200 people, Lodge’s factory can crank out 1,600 pieces an hour, depending on the item, Kelly said. “It’s a legacy product,” he added. “If you treat it right it will be here long after we’re gone—you don’t see that in a lot of products nowadays.” Only two lines of the company’s enamel cookware and some accessories are produced in China, he said.
While other companies chased lower prices abroad, Lodge always wanted to focus on quality, Kelly added, as well as support the local community. And in this town, that includes the National Cornbread Festival, the other thing for which South Pittsburg is known. Held on the last weekend of April, the festival sees between 45,000 to 60,000 people, and Lodge is a major sponsor. — Andrea Lillo