Brett Nordquist (Customer Happiness Engineer)

Clarifying 'Made in the USA'

Written on December 13, 2011 by Brett Nordquist
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It is not uncommon for our sales staff to field requests from people searching for a computer that is made in the USA. We suspect this uptick in interest originates from those looking to support American workers, especially in times of economic uncertainty. We also believe that many American shoppers are demanding a higher level of after-the-sale support that an US based company is often better positioned to deliver.

At Puget Systems we’ve been assembling custom computers in the Seattle area for 12 years. Most parts we’ve selected to create a modern system are made overseas. The same goes for our competitors. For example, Intel is the largest semi-conductor company in the world with headquarters in Santa Clara, California. But Intel’s manufacturing plants are located almost entirely outside the US.

Given the nature of our supply chain, we do not refer to our custom systems as “Made In The USA”. Puget Systems assembles computers using imported parts. Puget Systems also sells, services and supports those systems with staff located in the Seattle area. On a larger scale, this is similar to how Boeing builds aircraft from an international pool of parts suppliers.

Many of our larger competitors utilize a US based team to sell you a new computer, but when you need to speak with technical support, you’re transferred overseas to a third party. Given the timezone and language differences, this can often result in a less than optimal user experience.

Could we increase our margins by outsourcing the assembly and support to a region of the world with lower labor costs? Probably, but our aim isn’t to squeeze every ounce of margin from our customers. That’s not what we are about. We want our customers to understand they are getting the highest quality computer components regardless of origin. We go to great lengths testing core components we put into our computers. In the rare instance something goes wrong, a technician based at the same plant where your computer is built is there to assist.

At Puget Systems, we’ve decided that no cost savings is worth outsourcing any segment of the sales, service or support experience. As a small systems builder, this is one of the benefits we know our customers appreciate.

For more information on the “Made in the USA” standard, please visit the Bureau of Consumer Protection.