In 1971 a Ford executive my father knew questioned why I purchased a European made car. My reply was “Why does Ford buy French steel for Woodlawn with a steel mill right next door? To this he had no answer but we all know what it is. In ‘71 a car that got 22 miles per gallon was key to a college student like me. It saved more money for beer on the weekends with my $10 a week college allowance!
This outsourcing trend started and accelerated in the coming decades leading to a massive decline in the manufacture of critical goods “Made in the USA.” The trend was enhanced by many administrations both Republican and Democratic since then. The declaration by Obama that “these jobs aren’t coming back” was yet another admission of defeat. When you outsource critical manufacturing, you are vulnerable to the whims and politics of the manufacturing country. We do not make 90% of our antibiotics and the majority of all active pharmaceutical intermediates (API’s) in this country. We do not make critical explosives for our military. The list goes on and on.
The majority of my chemical career in procurement was spent having critical items custom made here in the United States to assure supply security. I had a busy career correcting short-sighted strategies of management who did not learn from history and discounted the advice of seasoned people who knew the consequences.
The current administration and private industry in this case are to be commended. Every procurement department in every company in the United States should make security of supply a top priority. Price isn’t everything. What good is cheap when you can’t get it. Lives may depend upon it.
William Knab, RN, CPM