Toner Plastics was mentioned at Wal-Mart’s U.S. Manufacturing Summit by US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker on July 8, 2015.
Ten Wal-Mart Stores Inc. executives, as well as U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, touted American manufacturing at Wal-Mart’s U.S. Manufacturing Summit July 8, the day after hundreds of suppliers pitched their products to buyers for the world’s biggest retailer, in an open call.
Wal-Mart has enormous clout. The mass retailer launched its “Made in the USA” effort in 2013, pledging to spend an additional $250 billion on U.S.-made products over the next decade.
“This is not a PR stunt or effort. There are real people making or assembling products that we sell right here in America,” said Michelle Gloeckler, who heads the U.S. manufacturing initiative as she kicked off the U.S. Manufacturing Summit, held at Bentonville High School at Wal-Mart’s Arkansas hometown.
Gloeckler is executive vice president of the consumables and health and wellness divisions.
Wal-Mart executives echoed the theme that manufacturing jobs help build strong communities.
But bringing manufacturing — at a competitive price and quality — also reduces the supply chain, allowing retailers to get new products on shelves faster. Reshoring also cuts the carbon footprint, reducing the number of ocean-going container boats, they said.
“The business case from moving manufacturing to the U.S. is very strong, and we expect that to continue in the future, said Doug McMillon, president and CEO of Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
Executives showed off examples of products Wal-Mart selected at the open call, which was held at company headquarters. Several were plastic:
The new K’nex line of K-Force Build and Blast toys, which lets kids build their own blaster that shoots foam darts, is coming soon to Wal-Mart’s online site. K’nex toys are molded by its Hatfield, Pa.-based injection molder, Rodon Group LLC.
“We’re fast-tracking that to be live in WalMart.com next week,” said Michael Bender, chief operating officer of global e-commerce.
Bender said Wal-Mart’s website has a special section so users can view American-made products, by category. Wal-Mart is working to add videos that tell the stories of where the companies were made — which he said is especially effective with younger consumers.
Bender called e-commerce “the endless aisle.”
He showed one video of a Polish maker of tea-light candles that opened a factory in Virginia. A plant worker explains how they sent him for training to Poland.
Commerce Secretary Pritzker called out Toner Plastics Inc. of East Longmeadow, Mass., which makes the Wonder Loom craft kits to weave bracelets out of rubber bands. She said Toner worked with the Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership to scale up production to get the looms into Wal-Mart.
Rainbow Loom inventor Cheong Choon Ng, who lives in Novi, Mich., designed the Wonder Loom and licensed it to Toner for a made-in-the-USA version of his popular product, which is produced in China.
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson encouraged manufacturers at the summit to consider Wal-Mart’s home state. “We are working hard on bringing manufacturing back to this state,” he said.
Future Wal-Mart initiatives will be help bring back U.S. manufacturing of textiles, vacuum cleaners and other products that are almost totally imported today. Wal-Mart has launched a program to help low- and middle-income business owners get access to investment capital.
Executives who spoke also showed off bicycles, shoes, sunscreen, a pizza stone for a charcoal grill, and a pouch package of tuna steaks that are fished, and processed, in the United States.
Greg Foran, president and CEO of Wal-Mart U.S., showed a plastic container with a vacuum pump that can marinate meat in five minutes. He said it was made in Erie, Pa., but did not mention the manufacturer.
“Behind every single one of these items is a story. A story of lives changed, or jobs created, and customers delighted,” Foran said.