I feel like a fortune teller this week. Maybe I should pick up some lottery tickets.
Last week I wrote an editorial for Plastics News' Aug. 18 issue about Wal-Mart's reshoring efforts. I was pretty pro-Wal-Mart, and the headline was "Wal-Mart's 'Made in the USA' campaign is a great opportunity for reshoring effort." (Check the link to see a great cartoon by Rich Williams.)
Then, just two days later, I ran across the news that Enor Corp., a Northvale, N.J.-based plastics toy company, plans to open a 78,000-square-foot factory in Winnsboro, S.C.
The reason: to make toys for Wal-Mart.
And the business was being reshored from China. (For more about the project, check out Mike Lauzon's story, "Enor expanding in S.C., moving toy production to U.S. from China.")
Enor CEO Steven Udwin announced the news at a Wal-Mart summit in Denver.
Another big U.S. plastic toymaker was at the event, too. Michael Araten, president and CEO of K'nex Brands and its manufacturer, Hatfield, Pa.-based injection molder Rodon Group, was invited to speak to the about his experience making products in the United States and competing with toys — and other products — that are made in China.
Rodon, which was recently a finalist for the Plastics News Processor of the Year award, has won a lot of attention for its "Cheaper than China" pricing policy. Araten said: "Since 1992, our subsidiary the Rodon Group has helped K'nex Brands make this a reality, manufacturing more than 32 billion bricks, rods and connectors at our plastic injection molding facility in Hatfield, Pa. We sell many of these toys at Wal-Mart. So when the company announced its U.S. manufacturing commitment, we were thrilled — because we were aligned with a retailer that's acting on a cause we're passionate about.”
Is the U.S. manufacturing revolution going to start with inexpensive toys? Surely that's a market that no one expected to ever come back to the United States. But with Wal-Mart helping to drive the reshoring trend, we're sure to be surprised by some of the headlines in the next few years.