Exxel Outdoors Archives - Shopfloor

Exxel Outdoors: MTB Will Help Us Grow

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As the 112th Congress came to a close in early January they failed to pass a new miscellaneous tariff bill (MTB) package that would prevent taxes from increasing on manufacturers in the United States.  The MTB provides tariff relief to manufacturers on critical inputs that are not available in the United States, helping manufacturers better compete and create jobs.

Exxel sleeeping bag inspector examining a bag on the conveyor belt.

Exxel sleeeping bag inspector examining a bag on the conveyor belt.

Exxel Outdoors is a manufacturer that would benefit from a new MTB package. Exxel makes outdoor products such as sleeping bags, tents and hunting and fishing apparel. They are the only company that produces mass-market sleeping bags domestically, at their factory in Haleyville, Alabama. Exxel Alabama manufacturers over two million family-style sleeping bags annually.

Exxel’s sleeping bag production requires the use of materials and inputs that aren’t available domestically. The MTB would help Exxel lower costs, enabling the company to better compete against growing global competition.

“We depend on raw materials that just cannot be sourced here in the U.S. to manufacture our sleeping bags domestically,” said Harry Kazazian, founder and CEO of Exxel Outdoors. “We have approximately 100 employees at our Haleyville facility, and we have plans to expand our operations and add more jobs here.  Passage of the MTB would help us keep costs down, allowing us to be more competitive with other countries and to expand faster.”

Kazazian is hopeful that Congress will act as quickly as possible to pass the MTB to help manufacturers create jobs.  Exxel faces competition from all over the world, and is already 20 percent more expensive to manufacture in the United States compared to our largest trading partners. The MTB would help to bring those costs to manufacture in the U.S. down.

Kazazian stated, “We need Congress to act expeditiously to help create American manufacturing jobs at a critical time for our economy.”

Bringing Manufacturing Back to the United States

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How one U.S. manufacturing company is bringing jobs back to the United States, with Harry Kazazian, Exxel Outdoors CEO and CNBC’s Erin Burnett. Seems the Alabama manufacturing plant is more efficent than the Chinese ones.

Harry’s back on CNBC at about 2:20 p.m. Eastern to talk about the prepostorously named Employee Free Choice Act.

UPDATE (1:55 p.m.): The follow-up segment about manufacturing is also worth watching, although the speaker from the Center for American Progress filibusters until he can get in a plug for protectionism. But his point about taking the longer-term view is valid. The guest from Cato reminds us the American manufacturing succeeds through productivity.

UPDATE (Wednesday): The segment on labor did NOT include discussion of EFCA. Still valuable enough. And, hey, Tasini. Stop interrupting!

John Engler: Manufacturing and the Second American Century

By | Economy, Innovation | 2 Comments

At Forbes.com, a column by John Engler, president of the National Association of Manufacturers, “Forging A Second American Century“:

The 20th Century is often called the American Century, marking the U.S. rise to global pre-eminence. Manufacturing powered our ascendance, factories created our prosperity.

But the American Century is nearly a decade gone, manufacturing jobs are dwindling, and the future promises fierce competition from the new industrial giants of China and India (and the old giants of Europe). The recession drags painfully on, and dozens of other competitor countries target what they sense is a new U.S. vulnerability.

It is time to finally resign ourselves to becoming a second-rate manufacturing nation?

Not if manufacturers have anything to say about it. Manufacturers in the United States have adapted before to survive, and they will again.

The column cites some impressive examples of U.S.-based manufacturers reinventing themselves and prospering as a result.


When Oil Goes Above $100, the China Price Emerges — Again!

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The Washington Post is the latest media outlet to report on manufacturing capacity returning to the United States because high energy prices equal high shipping costs. From, “China’s Outsourcing Appeal Dimming — Fuel Prices Squeeze Profit Margins for U.S. Manufacturers”:

SHANGHAI — Harry Kazazian built his business on sleeping bags that are made in China and shipped across the ocean to the United States, but he realized recently that the math doesn’t work anymore.

With fuel prices at record highs, the cost of sending a standard 40-foot container of goods has gone from $3,000 in 2000 to about $8,000 today, squeezing profit.

So this summer Kazazian, chief executive of Exxel Outdoors, a Los Angeles-based maker of recreational equipment, did something radical: He moved the manufacturing back to Haleyville, Ala.

We had missed this Eureka (Calif.) Reporter editorial on the same topic, also citing Exxel, “Bringing manufacturing home.”

Incidently, Post reporter Ariana Eunjung Cha is based in China, and in doing background for the story called the NAM here in D.C. “Just like she was calling from next door,” comments our communications VP. Not so noticeable today, but 10, 15, 20 years ago?

Jet Propelled Back Home to the USA

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Today’s Washington Times features a front-page story, “‘Made in USA’ starts to make a return,” covering the return to the United States of manufacturing facilities driven by high transportation costs and exchange rates, including appreciation of the Chinese yuan:

“The days are over where you just think you can go over to China to get something cheap,” said Harry Kazazian, chief executive officer of Exxel Outdoors Inc., a Haleyville, Ala., producer of outdoor recreational gear.

Exxel has been doing just that since 2005, when executives detected the beginnings of a market shift favoring homemade wares.

“It’s kind of like the light bulb goes off in your head,” Mr. Kazazian said.

“We really need to come back,” he told Exxel President Armen Kouleyan while they toured their production plants in China.

Other companies cited as examples are Firestone and Artco-Bell Corp. of Temple, Texas. The NAM’s Hank Cox and David Huether are also quoted.

Good look at an issue that’s getting more attention lately.