For 90 years, the United States had the largest manufacturing sector in the world, but that ended last year. That's because companies are moving their facilities elsewhere. In fact, 56,000 facilities were lost since 2001.
For Digitrax, there's nothing like overseeing the day to day operations of their company.
The Consolidated Model Railroaders Club recently upgraded to the latest Digitrax system, which allows them to run multiple trains at different speeds. "Instead of just running trains in a circle at the same speed, we can now operate the railroad like a railroad." Buddy Black says.
Digitrax, the industry's leader for model train controls, recently moved to the Panhandle to expand their business. Anthony and his wife Zena Ireland, the conductors of this journey pursued a common interest. "Trains are fun; trains are something I grew up with." Ireland says.
More than 120 different items are cranked out of their facility in Springfield and are sent all over the world. With 24 employees on hand, they do it all. "Here we do everything from the designing, all the way through actually manufacturing and then selling to our customers."
Ireland says she works side by side with her employees to ensure accuracy is achieved. Each of them are trained to assemble and test the highly technical products, a task Digitrax couldn't accomplish if their operation were over seas.
"The Chinese and Indonesians are very good at making micro chips and the other small components that go on the board. What they're not good at is doing the high level assembly and testing."
What separates this panhandle manufacturer from the rest is the fact that there's more quality control. Their engineers evaluate the products to make sure that they're correct so that it goes out right to the consumer. "We have looked at out sourcing, but in our particular industry, it doesn't make a lot of sense because of the tight control that we want to have over the quality of our product." Ireland says.
That philosophy is on track with the support they provide their customers. "If we don't service our product, in America, in English, our customers will be very unhappy."---and happy customers, means more business and more money kept in the Panhandle.
Buying American made products is important to them. Digitrax tries to find US sources that make the necessary components before looking else where.