How Global Sourcing Affects FR Clothing
As we touched on in an earlier blog post in July, companies across the country are realizing that it makes financial sense to manufacture domestically. The same is true in textiles and FR clothing where increasing labor costs abroad and technological advances in the U.S. are fueling demand for American-made goods.
Many employees might find themselves asking, “Where can I get cheap FRC clothing?” What they really want to consider is where their clothing is sourced from, how it’s made and how the entire process can affect the performance and characteristics of flame resistant garments.
Foreign Manufacturing of FR Clothing
The textile industry has a long history of innovation through seeking low labor costs internationally. The implementation of NAFTA sent the vast majority of U.S. textile manufacturing to locations in Mexico, Central America and Bangladesh.
The protective apparel industry has historically lagged in the transition towards foreign manufacturing due to publicized safety failures and varying culture with respect to the value of life in developing cultures.
Asian chemical companies have introduced “generic Nomex” and other FR fibers to compete with domestic sources. Domestic manufacturing of FR fabrics, shirts and pants enjoy limited tariff support against Asian manufacturers. Coveralls are not protected by tariffs, so increasing coverall production is occurring in Asia. The NFPA 2112 requirement for UL Certification has involved an international watchdog to oversee quality practices globally.
The importance of Made in USA products was emphasized earlier this year after the Bangladeshi garment factory collapse that killed over 1,100 workers. Most consumers prefer garments that are Made in USA because they help keep jobs in America. While this is certainly a factor in our dedication to 100% of Tyndale-made items being made in the USA, there is an underlying value:
- Smaller USA factories pay special attention to fabric variations, reducing waste and increasing fabric yield – the #1 driver of garment cost.
- Closer factories reduce shipping costs and transit times, allowing Tyndale to restock faster.
- Careful quality control guarantees that FR garments are made within ASTM specifications.
However, Made in USA can hold different meanings to different people. Companies and consumers need to educate themselves before shopping for American-made products. The Federal Trade Commission recognizes the Made in USA claim when:
- Significant parts and processing that go into the product are of U.S. origin
- Zero or negligible parts are sourced from other countries
- Final assembly and processing of such products take place in the U.S. (1)
In wearing Tyndale’s American-made products, you ensure your own protection, plus that of the workers making your FR clothing or protective apparel. By keeping jobs in the U.S., we certify that our clothing is manufactured and distributed safely under U.S. industry standards and regulations. Just look for the American flag on our website, and on our products, showing our pride in supporting jobs domestically.
For more information on American-made products, read our earlier blog post, Made in USA: Safety Solutions that Protect Workers.
References for this post were accessed in December 2013: