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What ‘Made in America’ means to one aggregate producer

By |  September 22, 2020
Photo: Jonathan Hart

Hart

The “Made in America” concept takes center stage in Pit & Quarry’s upcoming October 2020 edition, with a cover story exploring what this idea means to U.S. aggregate producers. Washington Rock Quarries’ Jonathan Hart, whose company is located just outside of Puyallup, Washington, weighs in on the topic and how it’s threaded throughout his everyday work life.

When it comes to aggregate processing equipment or rolling stock, what does the concept of ‘American-made’ mean to you?

‘American made’ means the final assembly is performed somewhere in the United States. Parts could be sourced from overseas [or] different countries.

Does ‘American-made’ factor into your equipment purchasing decisions in any way?

Yes. We generally see American-based manufacturing as high quality. I think this comes from the fact that a poor supplier won’t last long. Reputation travels fast in this industry. If one company has a bad experience, everyone else knows about it.

Support is one of the biggest factors for us at this time when considering purchasing equipment [and] parts. When purchasing a new piece of equipment, we need the reassurance that if we need parts quickly, the delivery time will be within days. If I know that I might not get an essential part for three days, I am less likely to buy that equipment. We scrutinize equipment much more closely if we know we have to buy parts from a foreign source.

Do you have any experience with equipment or parts originating from China? If yes, what has your experience been like?

We have purchased equipment and parts from China. Our experience depends on whether the items have the backing of a reputable company. Large companies such as Cat source parts from China, and our experience is usually positive. The parts are a good quality that we expect from Cat.

Our experience with independent parts suppliers based in China has been mixed. The feeling is that if there is no industry-wide experience with a manufacturer based in China, it is a gamble whether the parts are quality or not.

Wear parts seem to be a mixed bag.  Sometimes they are good quality, and sometimes they are definitely not.

What similarities and differences do you notice between equipment and parts made in the U.S. versus China or elsewhere overseas?

It seems that the biggest similarities are that, once a company establishes itself as a quality supplier of parts [and] equipment, it generally remains true over time.

The biggest difference is the perception of Chinese-based manufacturing. If it is cheap, it is not good quality. If you find a cheap supplier in the USA, the perception is that it is a good deal.

Kevin Yanik

About the Author:

Kevin Yanik is the editor-in-chief of Pit & Quarry magazine. Yanik can be reached at 216-706-3724 or kyanik@northcoastmedia.net.

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