Custom Fixtures, Made in America and Shipped to China

One Brooklyn company has flipped the manufacturing model on its head. Whereas most goods are made in China and shipped to the U.S., Watermark Design is making plumbing parts here and shipping them to China. Jack Abel, the engineer who built the factory, has figured out how to make high-end custom-made fixtures at low cost, and has sold thousands of them to luxury hotels and condominiums in Asia, the New York Times reports.

One Brooklyn company has flipped the manufacturing model on its head. Whereas most goods are made in China and shipped to the U.S., Watermark Design is making plumbing parts here and shipping them to China. Jack Abel, the engineer who built the factory, has figured out how to make high-end custom-made fixtures at low cost, and has sold thousands of them to luxury hotels and condominiums in Asia, the New York Times reports. At Watermark and other U.S. factories, exports have helped make up for the economic downturn. But as manufacturing processes and technologies change, American companies continue to have a hard time finding qualified workers, despite high unemployment. “I can get the best equipment,” Abel told the New York Times. “I can’t get someone to operate it—machinists, machine programmers, people with knowledge how to operate sophisticated equipment, they’re not there.”

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