What are you doing for your community? That is the question a government official in Arkansas asked Keith Scheffler, President of Creative Things Inc. (Gentry, AR), during a meeting. "What are you doing for your fellow Arkansans? He challenged us at that time with those questions," Scheffler told PlasticsToday. "So I took it to heart and began exploring the reality of bringing our manufacturing to the United States, specifically to Arkansas."
That was the beginning of a five-year long process to move Creative Things' manufacturing from China to the United States. Scheffler, who has been in the retail business most of his life, divested a company he owned at the time and began planning this daunting project. It wasn't a completely altruistic move. There were a lot of sound business reasons to move manufacturing from China: Wal-Mart's commitment to buy American-made goods; delivery problems and freight costs; political instability; customs uncertainty; and the desire to implement lean manufacturing and just-in-time (JIT) processes.