Bring back U.S. jobs

In 2013, Wal-Mart made a commitment to the revitalization of America’s manufacturing industry by promising that, over 10 years, it would invest $250 billion more in products that support American manufacturing.

This commitment has spurred conversation about how we invest in American jobs. We hope this renewed interest in driving economic growth in the U.S. will inspire others to think about what they can do to make things here again.

We certainly can’t do this alone. After all, Wal-Mart is not a manufacturer. What we can do is take a role in moving manufacturing back to the United States and in finding solutions to major barriers to on-shoring manufacturing.

We see opportunities across a number of categories that include patio furniture, bikes, furniture and televisions. We plan to accomplish this goal in three ways: growing business with suppliers we already deal with, attracting new suppliers and shifting existing items to U.S. production from overseas.

To help attract new suppliers, we are reaching out in new ways. One example: Our inaugural Open Call event on July 8 in Bentonville. We want suppliers who manufacture in the United States to bring their products. We will set up meetings with key buyers and executives while they are in Arkansas. It’s the first time we have opened our doors in this way, and we hope to find new products that will delight customers.

In addition, we are a sponsor and participant of the Georgia Manufacturing EXPO in a couple of weeks. We know Georgia is taking a leadership role in manufacturing and have seen several examples – in fact, we already have several examples, including Authentic Comfort and Elan-Polo.

Twenty percent of Wal-Mart’s memory foam mattress topper business is manufactured in the U.S., including a facility in Newnan. In March, Elan-Polo International, a footwear supplier, started production of injection-molded footwear at a factory in Hazlehurst as part of a venture with McPherson Manufacturing. At full capacity, this new facility will create 250 jobs and produce 20,000 pairs of shoes per day.

The time is right to bring back manufacturing - and the jobs that come with it - to the United States. Economics are changing. Making goods closer to the point of consumption makes sense for our customers and country. We’ll be able to respond more quickly to consumer trends and demand. Communities will have a sense of pride when they see local products on our shelves.

We hope many manufacturers, including those in Georgia, join us at our Open Call event as well as our second U.S. manufacturing summit in Denver this August. Together, we can help jump-start the manufacturing industry in this country and bring back jobs.

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