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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