It’s no longer surprising why many American clothing companies are taking their operations overseas. Cheaper labor costs still prove to be enticing for many businesses. According to a report from Huffington Post, a $15 an hour labor cost here would only cost $0.21 in Bangladesh. That’s more than $14 difference for every worker.
Waging War against Wages
Cheaper labor costs in other countries are also the main reason why imported apparel cost far less than the American-made ones. There really are no huge differences in terms of design and the kind and quality of fabrics used. The only difference lies on how much businesses pay the workers. Of course, minimum wage of workers from third-world or developing countries is much lower compared with what the Americans are paid. And business’s overhead costs always reflect on what they put on their products’ price tags. A typical shirt made here would cost $6 more than those made in a developing country.
With the huge difference in labor costs, you would think that gaining the investments back would seem grim. But believe it or not, there’s actually a glimmer of hope. No, scratch that. It’s not just a glimmer. It’s more of like a beacon. And patriotic businesses are boldly leading the way.
Marketing through Transparency
According Huffington Post’s Kim Bhasin, some American companies are implementing complete transparency to market their products and image better. Complete transparency is when companies voluntarily reveal or offer information regarding the labor involved in the production or manufacture of their products. Such kinds of information are names, photos, and contact information of the persons who had a hand in the creation of the products.
When these types of information are provided, customers are able to understand the reason for the price. They’d also get to know exactly how the products were created. It’s no secret that there really are some labor malpractices in overseas production houses. News of child labor and any other unfair labor practices are not really unheard of in poorer nations. And this is something that some American companies are trying to shed light on; that just because a shirt is cheaper doesn’t mean it was manufactured in the most ideal circumstances.
Solution through Technology
Technology replacing humans is not an entirely new concept. It’s been the case for years. VoIP service, for example, has removed the need for human receptionists. In the garment industry, however, you can’t deny that there are still a lot to improve on. Thankfully, technological advancements are somehow reshaping industries, making it more possible for some American manufacturers to do away with off-shoring. Since machines eliminate the need for cheap labor costs, the investments stay within the country.
The question now is: Is this really the only way to let the important investments stay within the US? Unemployment rate is still a huge issue in this country. And if before, Americans lose jobs to citizens of developing countries, now, they lose them to machines, which is the biggest irony of all. This is probably what it means when you say, “You win some, you lose some”.