In the age where information and service providers such as Google and Facebook hold so much dominance in the marketplace, and outsourcing of manufacturing jobs to countries overseas is just a part of our everyday reality, I often wonder what the future has in store for companies like ours that still make tangible products. I am optimistic however and think the future of American manufacturers still shines brightly.
Since the beginning of the current economic downturn, I have been hearing media reports that call for reviving our nation's manufacturing practices. In fact, a radio show recently reported Vice President Biden's attendance at the reopening of GM facility in Wilmington, Delaware. I welcome such news.
As my company remains based in the U.S. here is my humble two cents for fellow manufacturers and entrepreneurs, or rather, manufacturers with the entrepreneurial spirit.
Dream Big, Start Small
Despite all the doubts that have been cast on American prosperity, I am still a firm believer in the American dream. I am a first generation immigrant from Taiwan. Fifteen years ago, I started my company with just one machine. I went door-to-door selling my products. You have to start somewhere.
Be Brave, Be Patient, Stay Focused
Even as the information technology helps us get connected with our partners and customers faster than ever ( but that does not necessarily mean easier), overnight success stories only happen rarely. You have to be brave and patient. It will take time to build your business and you cannot afford to lose sight of your goal.
Do Your Homework
I cannot overemphasize the importance of research and development. Define the problem, study your market, and figure out the best way to deliver the solution. Sticking with your current success is important, but R&D must continue. I believe all manufactures should be entrepreneurs.
Be Good to Your Vendors, Be Even Better to Your Employees
Technological advanced can not be substituted for professional or interpersonal relationships. Relationships need to be built on a solid foundation which can then foster morale and improve productivity. I'm still learning to be a better boss. I make it a point to walk the company floor as much as possible. If I have two free minuets in my schedule, I will force myself off my seat and start walking. That has helped me interact and build relationships with our employees, vendors and customers.
The simple fact is that our company produces products. However, we must not forget to serve our customers -- not just with good products, but with the care and attention that every customer deserves. In this regard I believe all manufacturers, including our company, are ultimately no different than any other company. We are all service providers.
Keeping It In the U.S.
We could easily set up facilities in China or other parts of the world that have cheaper labor, but it wouldn't be best for our company. Manufacturing here not only provides jobs for our employees, it gives business to local packaging companies, transportation vendors and anyone who comes in contact with our product. Another advantage to manufacturing in the U.S. is that our products are newer, fresher and less "handled" by overseas shipping. Keeping our quality at a high standard by manufacturing in the U.S. makes our customers and end-users happy!
Eve Yen founded Diamond Wipes International Inc. which is a U.S.-based disposable towelette/wet wipe manufacturer and contract packaging specialist, offering both stock products (private labeling) and custom solutions (contract packaging) www.DiamondWipes.com
A Closer Look at the CEO
The company began its operation with one machine in a modest 1,700 square foot facility in El Monte, Calif., producing moist wipes for restaurants.
Today, Diamond Wipes owns and operates two facilities in Ontario, Calif. and Bucyrus, Ohio, totaling over 160,000 square feet.
The company now specializes in contract packaging and private labeling of wet towelettes to health & beauty, food service, janitorial, and health care industries.
In 2008, Diamond Wipes reached $15 million in sales. Despite the current economic downturn, Yen is committed to keeping the manufacturing jobs in the U.S.
Eve Yen holds a master's in management information systems from the New York Institute of Technology. Her business achievement has been widely recognized, including the 2006 Outstanding 50 Asian Americans in Business Award.