Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) is looking to push ahead with its pledge to purchase $250 billion worth of goods manufactured in the United States. The global retail giant announced Tuesday it is partnering with ThomasNet, a manufacturer database operator, to assist its vendors to locate American suppliers to manufacture their products.
Wal-Mart Keeping True to Its Word
The company has been vehemently criticized over the past year because it has been unable to sell “Made in the USA” products. Wal-Mart is blaming this on the seriously eroded U.S. manufacturing infrastructure, which has been deteriorated over the last 20 years due to companies’ offshore production efforts.
As part of the partnership, ThomasNet has created a so-called corporate edition of its database of more than 500,000 suppliers exclusively for vendors located in the U.S. The company believes this will make it a lot easier for vendors to connect with suppliers.
According to the press release, the corporate edition will look like this:
- My Approved Suppliers
- Collaboration Tools
- RFI Follow Up
- Single-Send RFI
Moreover, ThomasNet has established a customer service team to contact suppliers when vendors launch bids for goods. This will give suppliers “immediate access to over half a million U.S. manufacturers of products, components and custom services.”
ThomasNet is helping Walmart give our vendors options to find the quality products and services they need to be competitive,” said Michelle Gloeckler, EVP Consumables & US Manufacturing Lead at Walmart, in a statement “This goes a long way in creating business opportunities in the U.S. that drive job growth within the manufacturing industry.”
Wal-Mart is encouraging all of its suppliers to register at the company’s Jump Portal in order to sign up for special onboarding programs. This will consist of webinars, suggestions and information related to the ThomasNet corporate edition.
It has been reported that reshoring manufacturing has been the trend in the last couple of years because of rising labor costs in places like China and cheaper domestic energy costs. It’s been argued that if Wal-Mart decides to embrace “Made in the USA” goods again then it may lead to other corporations following suit.
Harry Moser, the founder of the Reshoring Initiative, notes that 38 companies have reshored to help supply Wal-Mart.
Companies are asking themselves if they risk losing their position with Walmart if they don’t move back or at least produce some products in the U.S.” said Moser. “Walmart has made it clear that they risk losing their shelf space to U.S.-produced products. “
This comes as Wal-Mart has been accused of evading U.S. taxes by hoarding profits overseas in several tax haven countries. The company denies any wrongdoing, claiming it has cooperated with the Internal Revenue Service. It is estimated that Wal-Mart is hiding approximately $76 billion overseas.
Will critics of foreign-made goods then be 100 percent satisfied if Wal-Mart repatriated those dollars, too?