The buyers who purchase the cheap tools because of cost usually are the same ones who let them sit on a shelf 360 days a year. When a tool is only used a few times a year its easy to give it a 3 year warranty.
People who make their living in the trades use their tools every day and use them very hard. They get used in wet locations, cold locations and hot and dirty locations. We do not want to spend time babysitting a tool to keep it from malfunctioning. Tools from China simply are not built as well as they are from here. Plus tools from China enrich a communist government that has openly admitted that they train their military to fight us.
Every power tool I own is made in the USA but one. It was made in Europe and I needed it on very short notice and could not be picky. My cordless tools are made mostly in the USA and the one that is not was part of a kit and it came from Europe.
If you put a gun to my head and told me to buy Chinese, you would need to be willing to pull the trigger.
I love this forum. It's about time we plumbers had our own place to voice our opinions. I did not come on this forum to down-grade Ridgid. I have been a fan of Ridgid since I started in plumbing. I have never owned anything but Ridgid pipe wrenches or tubing cutters ( with one exception, a Rothenberger tubing cutter I bought at a Los Angeles PHCC trade show; which turned out to be a mistake). I swear by Ridgid tools.
I got involved with this thread because I saw a good American company turning bad. Yea, I know they need to compete. But, there are many other companies that produce their products in the good old USA and still compete. What's wrong with Ridgid doing it.
I'd like to comment on a few of the posts:
1) Plumber Rick brings up the point (and quite correctly) that most plumbing products are foreign made. I have not used a pipe or fitting (with the exception of cast iron, which is still made in Tyler Texas by Tyler) in fifteen years. It disturbs my. In my end of the business (commercial new-construction) I have no say on the fixtures installed. They are specified by engineers. But I agree he is correct.
What I state is do we need to see another US company go this route. I and plumbers from New York to California believed in Ridgid. Now there is doubt.
2) ophiuchus 99 had a good point. I would take it even further. If Ridgid can market these Chinese tools as "Ridgid", it's only an amount. of time before your pipe wrench is made in China. Don't think so? Look at another American company: Winchester.
3) I would like to thank Ridgid for this forum. Being owned by them I assumed that my posts would be pulled.
4) Maybe the CEO of Ridgid needs to respond to these posts and explain to the plumbers/pipefitters, that have been the life-blood of the company, what the future intentions of Ridgid are.
HI, I think i get the general arguement on here, i am from the UK and have been servicing RIDGID threading equipment now for 22 years. We too are getting items with the RIDGID name on them but they are simply what we call buy-ins! They are another make, but painted in RIDGID colours and a ridgid logo stuck on them. The problem i have as an engineer, is that because the items are not made by Ridgid, the original manufacturer can change the design and thus parts and parts diagrams for the items are difficult to obtain.
If that makes sense
Yes that is part of the problem. If we go into a steakhouse to order a steak and they bring us out a piece of all beef balogna we are not going to be happy even if it is all beef.
Many, many plumbers have equated these lesser quality tools to Ridgid Tool Co.. They do have their name on them after all. This plumber nearly bought a lot of these cordless tools a few months ago simply on the strength of the name until I picked them up and saw where they were made. It has to be hurting their bread and butter business as many plumbers are now sporting imperial and reed tubing cutters and talking about how much Rigids quality has fallen off. They don't care that its different companies and manufacturers, they see the Ridgid brand on cheap crap and consider them all equally related.
If Ridgid wants to use it's name to market foreign tools, so be it. But don't expect plumbers to hold the Ridgid name in the same respect it once had.
I'm still waiting for a Ridgid executive to respond to why Ridgid marketed tools are be manufactured in China.
Funny how we can get arrested for buying a cigar from Cuba, but major corporations are free to do business with a country who freely and openly ran over their students with tanks for disagreeing with the government. Wal-Mart and Ridged walking hand in hand down the path of destruction of the American middle class.
This has certainly been a lively discussion with several heartfelt views presented and well articulated. This may be long, but please allow me the chance to share some 'facts' and statistics that are relevant to this topic.
The problem with a Made in USA debate is that there is no way to win it. Argue any side, and someone will have a logical counter to your point. In the end it resolves itself to be an emotional discussion, which in all fairness we have witnessed here on this forum boarrd.
The fact is, you and I as consumers are in full control of where things are made each and every time that we open our wallets to make a purchase. Buying American is not as easy as it use to be. Even an automobile - there is actually more domestic content in a Honda built in Ohio today than a Ford pick-up truck. The real issue I think we are all concerned about is where the profits go. And where the jobs go. So think about this not from a product view point but rather from where you invest your savings and where you shop.
Large retailers and consolidating distributors in the wholesale channel are putting pressure on manufacturers. You can name them... Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Lowe's, Sears, K-Mart, Ferguson, W.W. Grainger, and the list rolls on. Their buying power and sourcing savvy place manufacturers at odds with their distribution channels. So the question becomes not where can you go to buy a RIDGID(r) pipe wrench, but does ______(Fill in the blank) have a price wrench for sale. Statistics prove this trend.
Contractor's Tools and Supply magazine in their January, 2005,edition presented an expansive survey of professional tool users and their tendancies towards buying hand tools. What did they find?
Hand Tool Purchasing Criteria - IN ORDER OF IMPORTANCE!
1) Tool Performance (40% more important than brand)
2) Price (15% more important than brand)
3) Availability (5% more important than brand)
What this survey is revealing - all things being equal - a contractor is more interested in the tool's performance, the price he will have to pay, and if it is available at the point of sale he / she is standing at. Then they consider brand. This may not be the case for all, but 4,000+ respondents to this survey presented these as their opinions on how they make their purchasing decsion. What is of note - its all about performance not origin. Yes, the question was asked in the survey itself.
The survey went on to ask about the importance of made in USA. This is on page 28 of the magazine and I am going to directly quote it so that it is not my opinion, but a 3rd parties report of direct feelings of contractors in the United States:
" There are few purists in the world of contractors when it comes to the "Made in USA" mantra. According to our survey, only five percent of respondents indicated they will not buy a tool if it's not made in the USA. Sixty nine percent at least consider it every time they buy a hand tool or say that it affects some of their purchase decisions. For 26% of the respondents,country of manufacture doesn't matter if the tool does the job."
[Reference] Contractor Tools and Supplies Magazine. January 2005. Pfingsten Publishing, L.L.C. Fort Atkins, WI. 2005.
We are all concerned on some level with China imports. 12% of China's GDP is counterfit goods. The real fact is that China does not have three things that incumber American and European Manufacturers.
1) Legacy costs -
2) Health care costs
3) Environmental constraints
Fortunately American companies for the most part have a level playing field with China and others when it comes to commodities, transportation costs, and other costs of production.
These burdensome costs American companies are facing will come with time just as they did in Japan. Today, we buy electronics from Japan and consider them to be top shelf. The learning curve of quality and durability in China is growing at a fast rate. I for one do not ever foresee them being equal, but they will be a force. It is also an issue when it is hard to find labor to take manufacturing jobs in the United States at competitive wages - Wall Street Journal and Business Week both site this trend repeatedly.
And then there is the fact that we want to shop at Wal-Mart. Not picking on Wal-Mart, very successful and well managed company. Their sales equal the fifth largest GPD in the world. Think of that stat for scale - three countries and the state of California have more output of money than Wal-Mart. Number one importer from Asia to the United States, year-after-year. When we shop there, we are fueling the engine of change and putting price before country of origin. What is Wal-Mart's promise? Always the low price. Always(tm)
So what is a tool manufacturer to do? Stand firm, stay traditional and be undercut by an import brand that is available where the contractor buys, offers a good 'value', and is a quality product? Or be comepetitive and seek to no matter what never compromise on the quality and performance of their products and uphold their promise of performance to their customers? In this day and age of a global economy it is hard to have both. And I am sorry to say this - most companies are not accurately marking their products Made In USA. The definition state 99%+ Domestic componets. Tublar steel, a chain, a forging that you then add value to still makes the product only capable of being "Assembled in USA." Is that good enough? How would one determine what is good enough?
Lastly, lets talk about our investments. I-R-A's, Stocks, 401-K's and pension plans. We expect these to grow, to be worth more than what we invested so that we can have a brighter future. Management at a publicly traded company's mission is to create value for their shareholders. How do you do that - you make a profit and return it to the investor as a dividend. If you own any of the investment types that are listed at the start of this paragraph your dollars are voicing to companies around the world that you want them to make money, not necessarily make their products in the United States. In a competitive world, in competitive markets, that means looking to foreign sources for componets and supplies. Taking a best cost position to still deliver a best in class tool. We cannot have our cake and eat it too.
So back to the issue on this board. RIDGID tools. RIDGID tools are manufacutred in plants around the world. Main facilities are in Ohio and Virginia. RIDGID products are also made in plants in Switzerland, Germany, and Shanghai China. As one faithful Ridge Tool employee noted in this chain - the tools in the China plant are for the Asian market and select componets for other items. We are a global company servicing a global market.
The power tools, and there are press releases on this web site to support this, are manufactured under license by TTi (ttndy.pk on the Hong Kong exchange). In all fairness, RIDGID plumbing tools should not be blasted because of the fact that RIDGID power tools are made in China. Most power tools today are - or in other developing nations. When is the last time that any of us willing paid a 25%(+) for an 18volt battery powered drill? According the department of commerce, that would be about the premium we would pay.
This is a discussion that will not end, and should not end. We as Americans have this as a birhtright. I am a proud American, and I am so very greatful to live in this country and work here. As a manager at Ridge Tool Company (owner of the RIDGID brand) I am part of a global company that seeks to do right by its valued customers in all that it does. Products, Service, and Support. At the end of the day - we must follow the trends that are laid before us by the markets we support. As the customer migrates away from a solid stance on MADE IN USA, we have to be considerate of this attitude.
With all due respect.
Its really simple. Buy from China and you support a communist country that trains its military to wage war with us. (They ran us out of N. Korea with 50 year old rifles and simply over ran our superior forces with overwhelimng numbers.) We lost a lot of good men. They are still communists.
My GMC has a North American content sticker that shows 86% North American parts and Labor. My last Ford had 94% North American parts and labor. Yes some have less, none of those will ever grace my driveway. I will write you a check for 500 dollars if you show me a Honda with more North American content than my truck. I'll even hand deliver it along with a case of American beer and 50 lbs of American brautwurst.
Perhaps you are too young to remember the cold war, perhaps its just too far in the past for you to care. No one in the U.S.A would have ever considered buying anything from the Soviet Union regardless of quality or cost. They were our enemy. Perhaps you do not remember Chinese tanks running over and murdering young adults in Bejing just because they wanted to be free. Perhaps you do not remember the Chinese general who laughed after they knocked our plane out of the sky and held its crew captive, He openly bragged how they train to fight us. Did you see where they are launching nuclear submarines? Have you seen our trade deficit? Do you even care?
The equipment available for us to use from China is junk. RIGID calls a wobbly chuck normal. Sorry but a wobbly chuck is just a bad tool.
There are names for the contractors who do not care about where their tools are from but they should not be printed here. I gladly pay whatever the costs are to have made in USA in my home, in my shop and on my truck. The job I save might well be my own. The country I support is the one I live and breath free in.
Ridge Tool Co. makes the best pipe threading equipment and pipe tools in the world. They are built right here in the U.S.A. The crap that has their name on it coming in from China is sold far below the cost of the other three leading brands. There are reasons for that, slave labor and wobbly chucks and spotty build quality.
I do not intend to insult or be rude. I do hope that you realize that we could have used numbers to justify buying things from Nazi germany because they were so cheap to make with all of that concentration camp and other forced labor. heck, it would have really improved our profit margins. But it would have been as wrong as supporting communist China now.
To reply to a few points:
Surveys have nothing to do with morals. Your argument seems to consist of a the same school-boy logic that every mother has dealt with: well, "other companies are doing it".
You don't seem to deal with Beuford's argument that we can't deal with Cuba, but you are marketing products from a country that approves of running college students over with tanks.
I still haven't heard a reasonable explanation of why there are a number of US based companies that manufacture products with US workers who thrive. Snap-on, Marlin, Remington,Tyler, etc. seem to survive. Maybe Ridgid is taking the easy profit method. Maybe they should hire better management.
Any idiot can figure out that labor costs can be saved by maufacturing in a country that pays poverty wages to it's employees. But again, I have to ask, who is going to by your tools if jobs keep leaving the country. The Chinese? With what, the wage they are paid?
Here's a legitimate question: How much are these workers being paid? How about Ridgid releases that information.