What “Buy Local” Means for American Tech

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In a global marketplace, the phrase “buy local” takes on a new, different meaning.  It doesn’t just mean “buy from the shop down the street.”  When there’s international competition, it means “buy from the shop in your own country.”

THE EVOLVING MEANING OF “BUY LOCAL”

We associate keeping it local with businesses owned by families who are our neighbors.  Furniture and hardware stores are iconic examples of the yesteryear of Main Street American entrepreneurship.

Now, as the economic culture according to the design of Walmart and Amazon have surged and peaked, Americans are seeing the underbelly of an economy that depends on cheap Asian manufacturing.  The snapback to American industrial independence has begun.

THE IMPACT OF TARRIFFS

The infamous tarriff situation, one of the signature campaigns of the current administration, has catalyzed this shift.  The appeal of offshoring every product imaginable fades as the price differential shrinks.

Who would have predicted twenty years ago that “every product imaginable” would include B2B electronics parts — even circuit boards?

And this shift is not just about price.

THE GREAT AMERICAN TAKE-BACK OF MANUFACTURING

To professionals in the tech sector, there’s a growing awareness that having no viable local (read: American) source for our own products puts us at a significant disadvantage.

I talk to U. S. executives in the tech, automotive, military, and industrial sectors every day; I have gleaned from these conversations a few salient points that illustrate the importance of partnering with American business partners and vendors:

  1. YOU CAN’T PUT A PRICE TAG ON A PHONE CALL.
    My customers can call me and work out questions, requests, and ideas.  I’m not 12 time zones away. Their own local and regional nuances are not lost on me; as their neighbor, I am part of the tapestry of their geopolitical lives, and I understand its challenges.
  2. INNOVATION COMES FROM MANUFACTURING.
    Aurora Circuits has had dozens of engagements where we found new and innovative ways of designing a system that was quicker, cheaper, lighter, and/or more efficient.  The engineers who depend on our PCBs for their products know that that level of innovation and creativity is harder to come by when parts like PCBs are fabricated overseas.
  3. QUALITY IS STILL KING.
    When manufacturers dip their proverbial toe into the local-sourced onshore pool of vendors, even for a small percentage of their PCBs, they find that American quality is still a thing.  I have no hesitation about having the performance of my boards compared to those made in Asia.
  4. RELYING ON FACTORIES HALFWAY AROUND THE GLOBE HAS UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES.
    The Coronavirus, an epidemic sending shock waves through China, is feared for its deadliness.  It’s already on American shores.  These health scares force unexpected concerns and choices for American companies.  For example, do you really want to send your engineers over to China to work with their manufacturers to make their parts?  Do you want your valued employees potentially exposed to such an insidious virus?
  5. A BUSINESS CULTURE THAT IS SELF-SUPPORTING GROWS THE ECONOMY.
    President Kennedy famously said about economic prosperity that a rising tide lifts all boats.  When both your business and mine benefit from our working together stateside, everyone in the nation enjoys an infinitesimal bump in the right direction.  Get enough American companies sourcing parts from American manufacturers, and the cumulative effect will be undeniable.  We can move the needle if we can change the business culture.

HOW AURORA BECAME HOME TO ONE OF THE MOST INNOVATIVE PCB SHOPS IN THE WORLD

My PCB shop, Aurora Circuits, is a family-owned business. The company was founded as a printing company by my father in 1938.  After many successful years, my father saw a burgeoning opportunity and took it into the printed circuit board arena, naming it Kalmus and Associates. A few years ago we moved to Aurora, Illinois and renamed the company Aurora Circuits, and our business continues to thrive under this name today. 

Aurora Circuits is seated in the heartland of America, proudly building American products for American companies. Over the last 80 years, we have contributed to many innovative American products and helped our customers succeed in their businesses, as well.

With this history and this family heritage, I am proud to offer our family owned business, Aurora Circuits, as a strong and capable domestic source for printed circuit boards.

IF YOU CAN IMAGINE IT, WE CAN DO IT

We want our manufacturing neighbors to know that we are right here in the center of America, and we offer a  number of innovative PCB solutions including:

  • Prototypes through production,
  • Quick turn-around (QTA) & new product introduction (NPI),
  • single- and double-sided PCBs,
  • Heavy copper to 16oz,
  • Polymer thick film (PTF),
  • Aluminum/metal-clad thermal management, and
  • high technology MLBs. 
A ONE-TWO PUNCH?

An interesting note about our company is that we still have an entire department of punch presses that we use every single day!  (And people think that the punch press technology has left us — nothing could be further from the truth.)  Talk about an onshoring opportunity for our good customers who need volume PCBs with sharp edges and sharper, truer corners.

So please, give us a call if you want to buy domestic, heck give us a call if you want to help preserve the PCB industry in the U.S.  You will be wowwed by what we can do.

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