Tariffs, China — How They Work

Everybody I know keeps telling me that tariffs won’t work, while I continue to stumble on instance after instance in which they work just fine.

Let me define what “work” means.

In my definition, the USA imposes a tariff on goods made in China, thereby making US-made products more attractive, and the company who makes the Chinese manufactured goods takes some action that somehow improves the US economy. That sound fair?

In this instance, we have the Stanley Black & Decker tool manufacturing company that bought the Craftsman brand from the failing Sears company moving production back to the United States.

Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

“When we purchased Craftsman in 2017 we were determined to revitalize this iconic U.S. brand and bring back its American manufacturing heritage,” Stanley Black & Decker President and CEO Jim Loree said in a statement. “From the launch of Craftsman’s refreshed brand identity last year to our announcement of the first new manufacturing facility in many years, we’re demonstrating our continued commitment to grow the brand and bring even more production of these great products back to the United States.”

When Jim Loree says he wants to refresh the brand identity, he is also planning on a $1B impact on sales by 2021.

Craftsman is, of course, an iconic brand that has a lifetime guarantee on its products. I once had a Craftsman hammer that broke a claw. I took the de-clawed hammer to the local Sears store and they gave me a better one because mine was an Old School clawed hammer. I was completely satisfied and still have that hammer.

That hammer is more than 40 years old and it still works exactly as it once did. This is the lady who waited on me.

As Sears struggled with its business, they moved production of some of their tools to China — got rid of American workers, moved to China, hired Chinese workers. Outsourced the production. We, the USA did this to ourselves and thought we were being smart. We did this to ourselves.

Now, Stanley Black & Decker — which bought Craftsman from Sears in 2017 — is moving that Chinese factory back to the United States.

They will build a $90MM factory in Fort Worth, Texas. It will have 425,000 SF and employ 500 workers. 

The plant will use cutting edge technology including: automation, robotic manufacturing, artificial intelligence, 3D printing, virtual rality, and pre-flattening steel technology. All of these things taken together will yield a 25% material yield improvement and do great things for the environment and water usage.

This is modern manufacturing fleeing China, coming back to the United States, using better tech, and employing 500 Texans in Fort Worth By God Texas.

That, dear reader, is what a win in the tariff wars looks like.

BTW, Stanley Black & Decker is a huge tool manufacturer with the following brands: Stanley, DeWalt, Black & Decker, Craftsman, Irwin, Porter Cable, Fcom, Lenox, Lista, Mac Tools, Stanley Engineered Fastening Systems, Stanley Security, Vidmar, Bostitch, Sonitrol, Stanley Access Technologies, and Stanley Healthcare.

Stanley Black & Decker is a $13B gross revenue, $20B market cap company with 58,000 employees in 60 countries and the world’s largest manufacturer of tools.

Stanley Black & Decker has partnered with Techstars Accelerator to create a business support group to focus on  3D printing, rapid prototyping, generative design, tooling, direct digital manufacturing, layered manufacturing, additive fabrication, sustainable materials and improved consumer packaging solutions.So, dear reader, there you have it. This tariff business is complicated, but we are winning. Stay the course.

But, hey, what the Hell do I really know anyway? I’m just a Big Red Car. Tariffs. China. Winning.