Ten Wal-Mart Stores Inc. executives, as well as U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, touted American manufacturing at Wal-Mart's U.S. Manufacturing Summit July 8, the day after hundreds of suppliers pitched their products to buyers for the world's biggest retailer, in an open call.
Wal-Mart has enormous clout. The mass retailer launched its “Made in the USA” effort in 2013, pledging to spend an additional $250 billion on U.S.-made products over the next decade.
“This is not a PR stunt or effort. There are real people making or assembling products that we sell right here in America,” said Michelle Gloeckler, who heads the U.S. manufacturing initiative as she kicked off the U.S. Manufacturing Summit, held at Bentonville High School at Wal-Mart's Arkansas hometown.
Gloeckler is executive vice president of the consumables and health and wellness divisions.
Wal-Mart executives echoed the theme that manufacturing jobs help build strong communities.
But bringing manufacturing — at a competitive price and quality — also reduces the supply chain, allowing retailers to get new products on shelves faster. Reshoring also cuts the carbon footprint, reducing the number of ocean-going container boats, they said.
“The business case from moving manufacturing to the U.S. is very strong, and we expect that to continue in the future, said Doug McMillon, president and CEO of Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
Executives showed off examples of products Wal-Mart selected at the open call, which was held at company headquarters. Several were plastic:
The new K'nex line of K-Force Build and Blast toys, which lets kids build their own blaster that shoots foam darts, is coming soon to Wal-Mart's online site. K'nex toys are molded by its Hatfield, Pa.-based injection molder, Rodon Group LLC.
“We're fast-tracking that to be live in WalMart.com next week,” said Michael Bender, chief operating officer of global e-commerce.