Archive for the ‘Business Purchasing’ Category

My office manager recently ran across the ERA line of spray-on foundations and bronzers (made by Classified Cosmetics) as an addition to my medical spa’s products.  She forwarded me the information and we decided to carry it.  We already sell multiple skin care products but have so far shied away from selling cosmetics.  Their ubiquity was one obstacle to bringing them on.  What I like about ERA, which has gotten quite a lot of recent fame from use on Twilight sets, is that it goes on like air-brushed makeup, so you’re getting professional level cosmetics in a take-home bottle.

I also of course asked where it was made – right here in Southern California as a matter of fact.  There aren’t that many domestically made cosmetics, though I’ve read that Smashbox and Glo Minerals are both made here.  Whenever possible, I support domestically-produced products.

ERA by Classified Cosmetics

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As a cosmetic surgeon at Celebrity Laser Spa, I recently implemented dictation services at my clinic.  I had some recent experience with hospital dictation services and was more than once displeased to find that the service had been changed in favor of another service that was cheaper, offshore and of lower quality.  I found mistakes more frequently and customer service was non-existent.  I assumed that the price difference must be huge to justify such lower standards.
This assumption changed when I hired a dictation service myself.  I was informed by Datalyst Dictation that the difference was 9 cents per line for offshore transcription and 11 cents for domestic.  However, I did have to ask whether the initial rate of 9 cents reflected offshoring and was informed that if I wanted domestic transcription, it would be 11 cents.  It should be more up-front.  I have been pleased with the service so far and can tell by reading the transcripts that they are done by native English speakers. Is a 20% difference worth all the headaches of offshoring?  I wish that people cared more about quality and efficiency and less about the nominal price.  You end up paying for the savings in the end anyway.

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Liposonix was recently FDA-approved for non-invasive fat destruction.  This Washington-based company is the first to get FDA-approval for focused ultrasound-based fat destruction.  Liposonix works by focusing an ultrasonic beam below the surface of the skin, causing fat cells to be destroyed at a specific depth.  The fat is then removed gradually over approximately 2 months.  The procedure is ideal for someone who has an inch or two that they want to lose and who don’t want liposuction surgery.

Liposonix is manufactured in USA in Washington state.  They were acquired by Medicis who then sold them to Solta.  Solta is based in California and also manufactures Fraxel and Thermage domestically. At Celebrity Laser Spa, we already own a Fraxel unit (which has a huge Made in USA sticker on the back) and have now purchased a Liposonix unit as well.  For more info, check out the Liposonix page on the CLS website.

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I was all but despairing of finding American-made scrubs.  I wear scrubs when I do liposuction at Celebrity Laser Spa and when I work at the hospital.  I had recently received some free scrubs from my ER group, which were made in India.  Since I had to buy any additional scrubs myself, I figured I may as well look online myself.  I had previously checked out local medical uniform stores, such as Allheart, and found nothing made in USA.  So I did a web search and was hard-pressed to find scrubs made in USA.  However, I did finally stumble across Duckscrubs.com.

I ordered a pair of navy blue top and bottom scrubs.  They were 65-35 poly-cotton and quite durable.  Not too light, not too heavy.  The construction is durable and they’ve withstood a few washes already with no visible wear.  The price was very reasonable too.  It was about $22 for the whole set, not counting shipping.  So I think I will definitely get more scrubs from Duck Scrubs.  The quality is good, the price is great, and they’re made in USA!  What more do you need?  These people are doing the Lord’s work.  Stop buying (equally priced or higher) cheaply made Chinese scrubs.

Made in USA scrubs

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Madeinusablog was just contacted by a representative from Midwest Snips, a specialty maker of hand cutting tools, based in Michigan.  This is the first industry representative that has contacted this blog wishing to be listed as an all-American manufacturer.

I checked out their website and was very favorably impressed.  They were established 45 years ago and have gradually expanded their product line.  Their tools are used in aviation, construction, electrical work and more.   They have been private-label suppliers to such brands as Sears Craftsman but also sell under their own brand. Despite their success, they have resisted the cheap lure of outsourcing and have expanded to two manufacturing facilities, both in Michigan.  Their tools are high quality but not outrageously priced.

Midwest Snips deserves a hand for making a quality product and making it in the USA from top to bottom!

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Where the printed material we buy is manufactured is not something that I think most people concern themselves with. However, these days, if you look, you’ll find that many of the printed products that you buy are actually printed in China. Most of us take it for granted that printed material is made domestically, but that is not the case at all.

I’ve personally come across a worrying trend of increased printing in China of greeting cards and children’s books. As of 2004, annual US sales of greeting cards totaled $7.5 billion, with Hallmark and American Greetings taking the lion’s share of that figure, so we’re talking about some real money here. In my perusal of greeting cards over the last couple of years, I’ve noticed that a lot of them are being printed in China. It seems like roughly half. I don’t recall seeing that prior to 5-10 years ago. It seems that this is occurring particularly with greeting cards that are constructed of multiple parts. If you see a card covered in cellophane with little cutout paper flowers and metallic paper, for example, odds are that it is manufactured in China. Since I try to buy greeting cards made in USA, I always look on the back of the card to make sure. The good thing is that the country of origin is always stated on the back.

Children’s books, unfortunately is an area where American printers have capitulated to the Chinese. It’s really quite sad. When buying board books for my baby daughter, I could not find any printed here, and most were from China. There are still a few publishers printing other kinds of children’s books here. I happened to find Golden Books at the Toys R US near my house that were really cheap and printed in the USA! My wife and I recently went to a book sale at the Culver City public library. We loaded up on children’s books there for $1 a piece. Many of these older books were printed in the USA. So here is what I recommend:it is better to buy used books than to buy new imported books. If American publishers don’t want to print board books in the US, let them eat dirt! Boycott their books! You can buy excellent used board books so that these companies don’t make a dime off you. Reward publishers, such as Golden Books, that continue to print here by buying only their books.

A friend of mine owns a small printing and publishing business in Culver City, called Playa Digital. It’s a small business, not a major corporation. When we recently got together, I brought up the subject of the importation of printed material. She became so choked up with emotion over it! Her business lives or dies by the choices that average consumers like you and I make. If you decide to patronize the products of importers, you are driving your friends and neighbors who print in this country out of business. It’s time to draw a line in the sand and take a stand! Demand that any printed products you buy are Made in USA!

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Not all purchases we make come out of our personal pockets.  Some of the biggest purchases we have a deciding factor in are not ones we directly pay for.  The best example are purchasing decisions we make at work.  This ranges from deciding what post-it notes to buy at the office to choosing an engineering firm to build your next nuclear power plant.  Since the money doesn’t come out of our own pockets we often take a lackadaisical attitude about the country of origin of the product.  Yet these are precisely the times where it is critical to raise your voice and speak out on behalf of the American economy.

Typically, budget decisions in corporations and government are made in groups, often through multiple layers of management.  You may remember the recent controversy over the aerial refueling tanker contract that was awarded to Airbus.  Another example was a recent acquisition of an ultrasound machine by my hospital’s emergency department.  The ultrasound manufacturer that I had the most contact with and got the most recommendations for from others was Sonosite.  It also happened to be not only designed but also manufactured in USA (presumable of international components, but that’s about as good as it gets these days).  The competitors were Ultrasonix, a Canadian maker, and Aloka, which is either Korean or Japanese.  I had a strong bias in favor of the Sonosite, partly due to its being made in USA.  However, we also directly compared the machines to make sure our choice was the best in overall quality.  The Aloka did not stand up to the other two in image quality, so we nixed that one.  The Ultrasonix was very good and had some advantages and disadvantages compared to the Sonosite.  It was nearly a draw between the two.  For me, that made it an easy decision, since the tipping issue was the country of origin of the machine.

Likewise, at Tattoo MD Laser Clinic, the decision to buy lasers is not just based on cost and quality.  The country of origin is also important.  Therefore, when we bought our tattoo removal laser from Hoya ConBio, the fact that it is made in California was definitely a deciding factor, even though there were cheaper imported lasers available on the market.  However, its quality is definitely the highest among available tattoo removal lasers.

To sum up, you have more economic power than just individual consumer power.  You have capital purchasing decision-making power (that you may not even realize you have).  Maybe your boss makes all the purchasing decisions, but bosses listen to their employees’ opinions too.  So champion American products in every business purchasing decision!  We can reclaim our economy one purchasing at a time!

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