Router bits are an attractive business proposition for several companies and Whiteside Machine Company is no exception. This is a segment which not only caters to the business side of things but also professionals, hobbyists and many more. Now, in this context, it should be mentioned that several businesses market themselves or make themselves more appealing to the eyes of consumers by claiming particular aspects in their commercials on television or radio segments or even their print advertisements, online banners and everywhere else.
Many companies talk about their quality and durability which is all the more important in a field such as this while some double down and talk about their experience, number of years in the industry, particular materials used and USPs as we have seen over the years. Some, on the other hand, seek to stoke a kind of regional or national sentiment amongst prospective buyers when it comes to their products. What happens is that the product sales become a by-product of sorts since people automatically end up endorsing the stance taken by the company and buy its products from a sense of national/regional pride. Imagine a local product that advertises its made-in-Wisconsin identity in Wisconsin. It would be flooded with orders as customers take pride in something being made at home.
Similarly, there are several companies which particularly advertise and highlight how they make their products solely in America. This is how they manage to get the trust and attention of a customer base and sales figures automatically go up since people think that buying these products means supporting the local manufacturing economy of the nation and the company also ends up getting more brownie points in the bargain. The same sentiment and national pride has been harnessed by Whiteside Machine Company to cut a long story short. The company has extensively advertised itself as a maker of products fully in America and this has over time helped it gain goodwill, customers and a wave of positive appreciation for all it is doing to support the local economy. Now imagine a situation where someone extensively advertises that his/her products are fully American and in fact more American than you can imagine and all of a sudden, it turns out that they’re not really that American with several parts coming from overseas territories? This is not uncommon in today’s competitive trade scenario. Several companies do import some of their components from specialized markets with specific cost benefits on the table.
What’s wrong and it is truly a wrongful stance taken by Whiteside Machine Company, is to advertise a fully American identity and production material tally for products when it is clearly not the case. This means you are misleading the consumer no matter how good your product may be. Your message is not honest and that, in my opinion, is really worrying since in today’s times, companies like these are anyway chucking business and moral ethics out of the window.
About the company
Whiteside Machine Company has a lot to say about itself on its official website. The Whiteside Machine Company was founded back in the year 1970 and started life as a general purpose machine outlet in a basement of the home of Bobbie and Bill Whiteside. The company was situated in Western North Carolina which was in close proximity to the famous furniture production town named Hickory. As a result, Whiteside Machine Company was frequently taking up several repairs or production of special furniture and woodworking components, serving both these industries with aplomb.
The company has itself talked about its huge commitment towards solving customer issues and its can-do attitude and emphasis on innovation along with a strong professional team who have helped the business grow into becoming a nationwide producer of tooling and woodworking equipment. The tooling business has grown through referrals and repeat orders majorly as the company claims online. Whiteside Machine Company now has a manufacturing facility covering 40,000 sq. ft. and produces a full lineup of carbide tipped router bits and solid carbide router bits.
The company prides itself on its own quality and customer centric philosophy along with its support for custom-tooling for meeting buyer needs to the hilt. The company retails its products through an extensive distribution network across the United States of America. They have a huge network of distributors as well. The company has also guaranteed officially that all its products are free from any workmanship linked defects or any material lapses. The products sold include spiral router bits, form router bits, straight router bits, sets, drilling and boring equipment and other accessories. It is situated at Shook Road in Claremont. President William Whiteside spearheads the operations at Whiteside Machine Company.
Why it may not be as American as it claims
TINA is an organization that conducted a thorough investigation on the Whiteside Machine Company, about which you will find more information here- https://www.truthinadvertising.org/whiteside-machine-company/-
Whiteside Machine Company had quite a few key statements put up on its official website as noted by the investigating team here. The statements are significant if you consider that the FTC just opened an inquiry into the quality of its products and claims about them fully manufactured in the United States of America. The first statement made by the company as a conclusive truth was- Router Bits made in the U.S.A. while the other statement was Top Quality, Industrial Grade Router Bits which came after the FTC’s investigation closed.
The FTC has reportedly stated in its closing letter to Whiteside Machine Company that although some production functions are taken care of by it in the United States of America, many products have imported components in a considerable percentage which needs to be addressed immediately. For any product that is being promoted as fully made in the United States of America, the FTC will naturally require 100% localization of production and components. It has to be the whole deal or nothing. Anything lower in terms of localized percentage and one is not allowed to use any such made in U.S.A. trademarks or make misleading claims to the public. Well, that is just what Whiteside Machine Company ended up doing.
More about the FTC investigation
https://www.ftc.gov/system/files/documents/closing_letters/nid/whiteside_closing_letter_2-5-19.pdf- this is where you will find the entire text of the letter submitted by the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) regarding authenticity of production parts at Whiteside Machine Company. The letter was drafted on the 5th of February, 2019 as you will find in the link. The letter talks about the responses garnered from Whiteside Machine Company courtesy Richard B. Newman, Esq. Hinch Newman LLP, 40 Wall Street, 35th Floor, New York, NY-10005 which seems to be the legal counsel for Whiteside Machine Company. The Federal Trade Commission of the United States of America has clearly stated its anxieties relating to the fact that several products manufactured by Whiteside Machine Company which includes router bits are not fully manufactured in the United States of America. In fact, although a few manufacturing operations are located here, most of its products have imported content in significant percentages. Customers are thus being misled by claims like manufactured or built or made in the United States of America which falsely indicate that products advertised by the company are fully produced in the country and are 100% authentic as a result.
Other factors that the Federal Trade Commission has touched on include the overall manufacturing costs of the parts which can be attributed to the United States of America, how far removed are the finished products from foreign content and the key need of the foreign components or any such processing to the overall product functionality and operation. The Commission has already warned Whiteside Machine Company about this severe anomaly and its attempt at deception of customers by making such 100% U.S.A. manufactured claims. All company disclosures ought to be fully transparent and clear.
The Commission has also stated that it may be suitable for Whiteside Machine Company to promote the fact that it is under American ownership, has a large proportion of employees in America and also undertakes multiple production procedures in the country. However, the marketing campaigns and documents should not be overstating or falsifying anything about the products being fully made in the United States since this will only deceive customers and is a major offence by all means. FTC staff members will be monitoring Whiteside Machine Company closely and will be available for guidance in order to help it come up with production/marketing advertisements or claims which are ethical, true and suitably qualified in a bid to highlight the company’s work that has been carried out in the U.S.A.
In fact, one customer has already complained about quality. He was taken in by the company’s claims of manufacturing all components in America and thought of superior quality tinged with national pride when he ordered Whiteside 1540 bits. However, the quality really disappointed him and he was irate since it was not a one-off thing. His complaint was that after paying such a high price, he had to deal with bits that were really poor and had coarser grinds and burn marks from poorly trying to grind edges. They were not as sharp as he expected and he also suspected that factory production quality is as poor as this at times. He also lashed out against the distributor for unprofessionalism and talked of how his request for a refund was not properly entertained. In fact, he may still be waiting to get this refund for the horrible products that he had to put up with.
There are several such instances where people have simply fallen for all that talk of American production, 100% American components and impeccable production quality here and lived to regret it later. See, even if say a handsome percentage of products were good quality that does not change the fact that the company has lied to people about its basic production processes and philosophy. When Whiteside Machine Company can tell a major marketing fib about its core philosophy and how it sources components, then anything is possible. One cannot simply claim national pride and sentiment to get people to buy more products. Many companies have learnt this the hard way before and with the FTC getting involved, one hopes that Whiteside Machine Company will at least be subject to some basic screening and evaluation before it is allowed to market and sell products.
This is because the FTC or other regulatory bodies need to monitor the marketing materials being released by the company and what exactly they contain. This should be done consistently in order to weed out any such marketing messages released by the company stating that they manufacture all components in the United States of America. Based on the FTC letter, what they can actually do is release advertisements about how the company is owned by an American and how its headquarters is and always will be the United States of America. This narrative is a genuine one unlike what the company has been doing all the while till now. It can also talk about its American employees without overstating or buffing up things for a sentimental audience that it is trying to create.
Also, a better focus on quality would also be great since complaints have reportedly been pouring in about quality levels going down drastically at the production facility. This may be due to the company’s lack of focus on product quality and they are instead trying to conceal as many negative reviews as possible by spending extra money on the same. However, negative reviews will keep popping up if things don’t change. In fact, many people will not buy products from them once they learn of the fact that these guys are not fully American in their production and materials. Nobody likes a company that makes false claims no matter how small or trivial the bigwigs might think it.