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TV’s Made in the USA

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Olevia opens U.S. LCD and LCos Assembly Plant at Digital Pipeline

I was reading an article in the NY Times today about a downturn in manufacturing orders. What shocked me was the photo that accompanied the article. The caption showed HDTV's being loaded into boxes at an Olevia factory in CALIFORNIA. I thought it must have been a typo. Nobody makes TV's in American anymore. It's all done in low-labor-cost countries, right? (Notice I don't call them “low cost countries” because the total cost might not necessarily be lower, only the labor rate).


Sure enough, the factory IS in California (the article I've link to above and here).

The factory includes a semi-automated production line and a Class 10,000 clean room for LCoS component assembly. It began operations with a pilot line in September and will begin volume production shortly, the company said. The facility currently employs 120 workers on one shift with plans to increase production and employment to two shifts by early 2007.

Olevia products made at the factory will carry the “Made in USA” label. Olevia LCD TVs will carry the “Designed and Assembled in USA” label.

That's awesome! The article doesn't say anything about their motivation for being here in the U.S. Maybe it's the appeal of a “Made in USA” label? Maybe it's for fast response to retailers and faster supply chain response?

I've always wondered why Dell Computer didn't extend their American fast-response manufacturing model to TV's and other expensive products. Sure, TV's aren't customized, but there are still responsiveness advantages from being in California, as opposed to being in Asia (where Dell TV's are built by contract manufacturers).

I'd consider buying an Olevia if I need a new TV, to support an American factory (and I'll go to the store in my American-made New Balance shoes). Those shoes might be one of the rare American made products I use!

Here's one of the Olevia TV's at amazon.com: Syntax Olevia LT37HVS 37″ HD-Ready Flat-Panel LCD TV

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Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. His most recent book is an anthology titled Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also the VP of Improvement & Innovation Services for the technology company KaiNexus. His next book, to be released in 2018, is Measures of Success.

10 Comments
  1. Anonymous says

    Doesn’t it say TVs designed and assembled in the USA – if the bulk of the parts are manufactured over seas and the result is assembled in the USA that is not quite the same as made in the USA is it? The part that says made in the USA refers to “products” but not what those products might be.

  2. Mark Graban says

    “Assembled in the USA” is better than nothing. Anyone can set up, tool, and staff an assembly line here. But, if you’re not making all of the internal components (which I doubt Olevia or any TV maker does), you’re stuck with buying from sources in Asia. I’m sure Olevia only has so much control over their supply chain locations.

  3. Anonymous says

    My TV died last night and a Google search for American made products brought me to your blog. I did a quick internet look into Olevia TVs.

    From their own company website at http://www.syntaxbrillian.com/company/overview.html
    “Syntax-Brillian has built an Asian supply chain coupled with an international manufacturing and distribution network to support worldwide retail sales channels and position the company as a market leader in high-quality, high-value consumer digital entertainment products. The company has established a significant retail presence and distribution channels throughout North America.”

    Due to our increasingly global economy, finding any product manufactured completely (from design and raw materials to final product) in the U.S.A. is difficult. But I agree with Mark that “Assembled in the USA” is better than nothing.

    I prefer to purchase American products, but on a day-to-day level I’m more concerned about customer support and product quality. I had a horrible experience will Dell last year and still haven’t been reimbursed for the cost of returning their broken computer. From the reviews I’ve read, Olevia seems to make a good TV, but comments on customer service are too reminiscent of my Dell nightmare. I wish I’d found more positive reviews.

  4. Matthew says

    Thanks for pointing this out. As far as I’ve been able to tell, very few electronics are Made In USA. The only other one I can think of is JBL speakers.

    I’ve compiled a list of Made In USA products at http://whybuymadeinusa.com/ – check it out if you are interested in directly supporting the American economy.

  5. […] article about the Olevia brand (featured here before), which builds HDTV’s in southern California: “Syntax has lined up three factories in […]

  6. […] reminded of an earlier post about Olevia building some TV’s in the US. I’m also reminded of a comment that Jim Womack made in a podcast of mine (I think it was […]

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