For the past six months I've been trying to start a business. It's a silly little thing, coupon booklets, printed material and such, but it's potentially very profitable if you consider that it's a one time cost expense that can be reproduced for pennies and sold for dollars. Anyway, I used to have a real hard-on about these greedy jokers that like to send our jobs to China and India ( me and Lou Dobbs!) just to inflate their already fat bottom lines and I was very hard lined about sourcing suppliers locally.. That is, until I experienced first hand, the sheer greed and opportunism that exploits 'need' by charging outrageous prices leaving me no choice but to go to China to be even a little bit profitable. Let’s take for example, something like a simple 8.5 x11 color flyer printed on slandered white paper. How much do you figure a piece of printed paper should cost? 5 cents? 20 cents? 50 cents? At the 'Quickie' mart it costs 50 cents and I'm good with that. But now I need 20 thousand flyers and the Quickie mart doesn't give bulk discounts. Any good business person would expect a discount when ordering in bulk and since I can't expect that from my local Quickie mart, I have to go to a commercial printer. Guess what, the lowest quote I got was 1.20 per flyer. I guess they roll their bulk discounts in from the top down! Are you f'n kidding me? Well no wonder everyone's going to China! I go to China and get quoted 4 cents! Don't have to be a genius to figure out the math on that one. Now, I'm supposed to feel guilty, like I'm the one being greedy and unpatriotic? So, Mr. Supplier, and Mr. Quickie Mart, if it weren't for your greed in the first place, I wouldn't have had to go to China! If the Quickie Mart had the brains to start issuing bulk discounts and the Local supplier didn’t exploit the market, no one would outsource. So the way I figure it, the problem starts with you! Don't get me wrong, I would have gladly paid a modest premium to source locally, I would have paid up to 75 cents or even a buck. But you make it virtually impossible for me, and then fault me for my choice to go to China. What a hypocracy!
I realize there are several reasons why the pricing disparity is so huge. Cost of labor, sweatshops, unsafe working environments. But even providing for that, by working with ISO certified vendors, you're still looking at less than 10 cents a flyer. So this just tells me that sometimes cheap is cheap simply because it's cheep, not because it's unethical. Our local guys are charging upwards of 500 percent mark ups.. So why not just 50%, this way everyone can make a buck!? So long as we have a 'meet it or beat it' annual profit guidance, this will never happen. 'Some' profit is never enough.. always has to be 'more' profit. Same profit as last year is never good enough, always has to be more than last year.. at what point to you cap out? reach the max limit? So the way I see it, we're all guilty of perpetuating this outsourcing problem. The consumer wants it cheap, cheaper and cheapest, so the retailer wants it wholesale, and the wholesaler wants it for next to free. Wholesaler has to go to China. Everyone's gotta get greased, to keep this big wheel moving.. Capitalism at it's finest folks!.. and I have no solutions, just observations.