As manufacturers, both foreign and domestic, continue to consider the benefits of “Reshoring” back to the United States, innovative companies like EP American Footware have always known the value of “Made in USA” and in particular, “Made in Hazlehurst, GA.”  Wal-Mart has committed to buying products produced in the U.S. and EP American Footwear is one of the manufacturers for their U.S. produced products.  Walmart’s commitment to “buy American” was just what the company needed to jump start their U.S. operations.

A perfect partnership and a perfect place…

EP American Footwear, LLC, is a partnership between Elan Polo, a leading global provider of nonbranded footwear, and McPherson Manufacturing, who is a provider of contract assembly and manufacturing services.  The partnership found the ideal location in Hazlehurst, Georgia; largely because of the readily available skilled workforce that had prior experience in advanced manufacturing operations.  The concentration of large manufacturing operations as well as EPAF’s utilization of Georgia’s Quick Start program to train their new employees has created a large pool of available and skilled workers.

“We are excited to bring manufacturing back to the USA and specifically Hazlehurst. EPAF will be the largest molded footwear facility in the nation and this will be the first large-volume footwear manufacturer to produce shoes in the U.S. in quite a few years. We chose Hazlehurst as our location primarily due to the local workforce who lost their jobs during the exodus of employers from years past. Joe Russell, Co-CEO of EPAF 2013

Manufacturing is “Reshoring” back to the U.S.A.!

Over the past 30+ years the manufacturing sector has been rapidly shrinking in the United States.  The single biggest cause is cheap labor and followed in a close second by technological advances in transportation that made “Offshoring” feasible.  Although small, there is a trend for manufacturers to “Reshore” their operations back to the United States; here’s why..

Skilled Workforce – Technology is advancing.  Manufacturing is becoming vastly more automated than in the past which means companies can produce their goods cost effectively without using legions of low skilled workers in foreign countries.  A job in a modern manufacturing will likely not require the employees to touch products at all but rather adjust the machines that produces the products.  However, the need for human labor is not gone – there are still plenty of opportunities for good paying, quality jobs in manufacturing.

Logistics – Shipping from China takes about two months from the time a company first places an order.  That’s a lot of money to have tied up in inventory and a LOT can change in two months.  Consumers are becoming more demanding and expect to be able to place an order and have the item on their doorstep with 48 hours.  Manufacturers are simply having to change to meet their customers needs.  Jeff Davis County, GA has three ports, two of which are major container ports, within two hours via rail (Norfolk Southern) or highways.  That coupled with multiple interstates in the region, manufacturers can get their goods to 80% of the nation’s population within two driving days.  That’s a big deal for companies looking to reshore or start their operations in the U.S.

Energy Cost – The United States has the benefit of having some of the lowest (if not THE lowest) energy cost in the entire world.  This is partly due to the abundant natural gas reserves, but largely from constantly investing in power transmission infrastructure.

Consumer Expectations – In addition to getting products quickly, consumers also want higher quality goods.  The internet has given the consumer essentially unlimited options in purchasing a product so more and more, consumers aren’t enticed by low prices alone.  Consumers want EXACTLY what they want and are willing to pay more for what they want – and many of them want goods that are “MADE IN THE USA.”

Consumers in foreign countries are also changing their expectations.  No longer are they satisfied with wages that are just enough to survive, they want jobs that pay enough for them to get an iPhone and other high dollar goods.  Simply put, wages are rising in places where they used to be extremely low.

Just as always, Manufacturing is right at home in Jeff Davis County, Georgia

The existing industries in Jeff Davis County are an integral part of the community and are engaged in the community’s success which has resulted in an all around great business climate.  Advanced Manufacturing is literally ‘at home’ in Jeff Davis County, Georgia.


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