Where do all products we buy actually come from?
October 10, 2017
When buying our products, many of us think of the place where they come from. This criterion influences our decision-making in terms of purchase. We don’t have to forget that, all the products we buy can come from anywhere in the world.
We have our own habits when it comes to purchases. Some of us negotiate, others don't. But we all can understand the feeling of a buyer who returns or who throws away a product after using it for only a few days. When you ask him to know what happened, he gives you answers by using for examples, sentences like: "The product is not of good quality. Who has manufactures this product and where was it manufactured? ". If you have a little time for him, he can tell you a lot about it.
Sometimes, you don’t even need to hear everything he is going to tell you to understand what is happening. The expression of his face and gestures that accompany his language are enough to realize how unhappy he is. No one would like to be at his place and let that happen.
Why such situations occur more or less frequently?
It is undoubtedly related to the fact that Internet reduces considerably the distance which separates those who produce and sell consumer goods and those who buy them. And yet everyone wins something:
The consumer has access to products in various locations and can take advantage of the competition between sellers, to buy cheaper products or products of good quality. But sometimes, bad surprises happen.
The producer will be happy to know that these products will be sold regardless of the place where the buyer is living.
It is necessary to know that with the arrival of services like Print-on-demand, there is another way of making a product. For example, a person or a company can be in charge of making a design to put on a T-shirt and another one can focus on promotion and earn money through commissions after selling it. Then the T-shirt is manufactured according to the order while the manufacturing area will usually be closer to the buyer. That helps reduce taxes and logistics costs. It can also be manufactured where the workforce is less expensive.
So how to ensure that products we buy come from a specific place knowing that they can come from elsewhere or from the country we live in?
Products we buy come from another country
To continue talking about the product quoted above which is the T-shirt, raw materials (for example cotton ) that are needed to manufacture it, can come from a given country. Then, the manufacturing step is done in a factory located in another country. Finally, the T-shirt is sold everywhere in the world. Let’s add the fact that the design, as said, is made by a person or a company that can be anywhere in the world.
It is clear that this product we bought goes through several countries before it reaches us.
The concepts "Made in" and "designed by" followed by the name of a country, helps to have an idea of where products are from.
The products "Made in"
Those are products that are manufactured in the country whose name comes after this expression (for example: made in USA, made in France and so on). Everything that goes into the manufacturing process until the final product is done in this country. But it is also possible that one or many parts of manufacturing are done elsewhere and the final product is made in the country we are talking about.
The products "designed by"
Those are products that are designed in the country whose name follows this expression. In this country, any innovative company can be behind these products by heavily investing in research and development.
When the design is finished, comes the manufacturing that can take place anywhere in the world. The criteria of reducing costs are of course taken into account when it comes to choosing the country where the product will be made.
Products we buy come from our country
To buy local products, some consumers prefer to go and meet producers of their region. They can also make it through Internet. That happens in the food industry. Consumers will be able to not only ask questions concerning the products but also they will support producers by buying those products.
In that way, consumers are sure that the products they buy are of good quality since it is the know-how of the producers of their region.
In conclusion, the labels of each product allow us to have information about the origin of the products we buy. Some agences or specialized companies such as Cotecna are in charge of checking if the information concerning each product corresponds to the reality.
Thank you for this topic, Vincent. I have some experience with Chinese manufacturing, that is why I would like to explain my point of view.
-“information concerning each product corresponds to the reality”
And the reality is that no matter what you see on the label – it was Made in China. The international division of labor allowed the world to consume very cheap products, but it made its origin a Secret of Polichinelle.
No matter what product you take, China is involved, and the only secret is a percentage of its involvement. Sometimes even European design means – European supervision of outsourcing companies which are situated in China.
Thank you for your informative comment and for sharing your experience.
We are all in different places of the world but we seem to be closer and closer nowadays. Thanks to new technologies. That’s perhaps the mean reason that makes it possible for different people or companies to work on the same product that anyone can buy from anywhere.
I think it is just a matter of competitive advantage.
Thank you again, for your comment and have a nice day !