MISCO Looks to Leverage its ‘Made in America’ Message
MISCO is a Minneapolis-based OEM manufacturer that has made its mark with high-quality, high-performance speaker products in the commercial aviation, medical equipment and casino gaming machine markets – as well as within the professional commercial audio sector.
Now, the company, which employs 65 and was founded in hi-fi’s heyday by General Manager Dan Digre’s father, Cliff, is looking to leverage its experience as a supplier that produces speakers in the U.S. to align with U.S. consumer electronics speaker brands as their supplier of choice.
Based on his own research, Jeff Kussard, president of J Kussard Consulting, has become an evangelist for the “Made in USA” movement in CE, and as such, is helping MISCO drive home the message to speaker companies that moving their sourcing back to America makes sense on several levels.
“It’s really a bigger conversation than just about ‘Made in America,’” Kussard says.
“We’re reaching a tipping point in manufacturing. There’s a convergence of factors – a perfect storm” of quality, economic and political issues. “There’s a financial argument to be made; Chinese labor costs are floating upward as worker standards are improving. There are rising duty and freight costs. There are internal productivity issues – things like the cost in sending employees overseas three or four times a year, the language, cultural and time-zone barriers, the extra effort involved in design and development, and the impact of all of that on employees’ morale.”
Then, there is the benefit to be realized of tapping into Americans’ desire to “buy stuff their neighbors make,” he says. “Consumers are placing value on ‘Made in America’ – including consumers outside the U.S.,” Kussard adds. He said MISCO is in discussions with several brands, will talk with some at CEDIA Expo, and by the close of 2014, expects to be engaged in several active partnerships.