Buck Knives Shifts Production from Asia to Post Falls
Post Falls, ID: Buck Knives is making an American commitment.
The company is now making some of its products at its Post Falls facility that were previously outsourced to Asia.
"We have fielded many complaints about our decision to import products, even though we were clearly focused on offering the same high quality expected of a Buck knife and backed all imported product with the same lifetime warranty," said president C.J. Buck. "It has become apparent that Buck Knives is held to a different standard. The Buck brand stands for American-made knives."
Part of the transition strategy of moving from San Diego to Post Falls was to outsource many new products to Asia as the engineering staff would be busy training new employees, Buck said. The relocation was a massive undertaking that utilized the majority of its internal resources for nearly two years.
Outsourcing was also an opportunity to hit lower price point products in the marketplace.
However, even though the majority of the company's knife sales continued to be domestic product, imports didn't sit well with the family tradition and especially the expectations of longtime customers, Buck said.
Production efficiencies through the company's "Lean Manufacturing" process in a smaller facility than San Diego have allowed the company to shift some knives to Post Falls.
"The answer to fulfilling our commitment to U.S.-manufactured product is lean," said Phil Duckett, the company's chief operating officer.
Lean Manufacturing is a philosophy focused on eliminating waste that will reduce costs, as well as enabling faster and more flexible responses to customers' needs.
Examples of knives that were previously outsourced but are now manufactured in Post Falls include: the 679BK BuckLite Max, a new fixed-blade hunting knife; the 346BK Vantage, part of a new series of one-hand opening lockblades; and the 303GY Cadet, part of the 300 series that is among the first Buck pocket knives ever made.
"Later they had a (300) series made in China and now this new series of four are all made in Post Falls," said Tom Ables, company spokesman.
Duckett said 95 percent of Buck's new products for 2009 and 2010 will be manufactured in Post Falls and all hunting products are being made domestically.
The Buck catalog offers 180 knives and tools -- 125 (70 percent) are made here and 55 (30 percent) are imported.
Duckett said Buck expects to make 20 percent more products this year than last year.
At this year's SHOT Show, the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show in Orlando, Buck introduced new knives made in America that are price competitive with offshore imports.
"In 2007, we took our next step through an extensive branding study," Buck said. "It supported what we were hearing from our customers and my father's intuition, along with our desire to continue to be an American manufacturer. Clearly, the Buck brand had higher expectations in the marketplace."
Chuck Buck, chairman of the board, said for many loyal Buck customers, the Made in the U.S.A. stamp on the blades is just as important as the Buck logo beside it.
"As a fourth generation American company, we understand that," Chuck said. "And because both of these symbols of pride mean as much to us as they do to the people who use our knives, Buck has always maintained the goal of providing superior products at fair value, trying to keep products in the USA."