Frisbee Manufacturing Returns

By Lloyd Graff

Thanks to reader Roger Meyers for sending me an informative article from Forward ONLINE about manufacturing coming back to the United States.

One of the companies prominently mentioned in the piece is Wham-O Corporation, maker of Frisbees and Hula Hoops. Wham-O’s products are not exotic, but they take up a lot of container space per dollar value. With container costs from China up to $4500 from as low as $3000 at the bottom of the recession, Wham-O has rejected offshoring. Their products are not labor-intensive to produce, primarily using injection molding presses. They are cheap, light and bulky. A container of Frisbees may hold only $5000 worth of product, so a 50 percent increase in container costs is a substantial piece of the overall cost, according to Kyle Aguilar, President of Wham-O.

We heard a similar story from Mitch Liss of Edsal Manufacturing of Chicago, a prominent maker of metal shelving for Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Grainger. Shelving is bulky and awkward with low labor costs versus material and freight. Liss says his cost for products sold to the big box retailers is significantly lower in America than importing them from his Chinese plant.

When you figure the cost of inventory on the boat, corruption, intellectual property theft, bad carbon footprint publicity, quality glitches and port headaches, you can see why manufacturing products in North America is beginning to come back like a Frisbee in the wind.

Question: If the Chinese can’t be competitive on Frisbees have they peaked as an exporter?

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8 thoughts on “Frisbee Manufacturing Returns

  1. AvatarLynn G. Schneider

    Has offshoring peaked? Well that is hardly the question when currencies and whole economies are like ours run through the trash compactor then bailed (or is that bailed out) for recycling in this insane game of globalization. I think the last word on this is what we are willing to accept as a republic and nation. I mean in the end will the corporations really own everything they can carry away to the offshore banks and bankers? Comment on that!

  2. AvatarAndrew Brown

    Wham-O has made junk sport discs for years!!!!! Support an American made product, buy a Discraft made disc. Better made in the USA. And the ONLY disc for Ultimate frisbee.

  3. AvatarNoah Graff


    I’m a big Discraft man myself. I’ve got this awesome glow in the dark one I had for 14 years. It’s a little thinner than the Wham-O, which I also have sitting on my desk right now. What’s the knock on the Wham-O though? It’s not bad. Mine is 175 gram regulation. You think it doesn’t fly like the Discraft?

  4. AvatarJim Goerges

    Awesome! If you (Wham-O) or other manufacturing companies need help with producing parts in the USA, we would be willing to help! I am a small manufacturing business owner that has unattended manufacturing time available! We have great quality, and awesome manufacturing capability’s!

  5. AvatarDan Vespa

    You said stuff that is relatively inexpensive to make and bulky to import is coming back. What about the high precision components that are made by highly skilled Americans, you know, the stuff that built the country in the last generation…..when is that coming back???

  6. AvatarHarry Moser

    Good Frisbee article. An Aug 6, 2010 USATODAY article ( ) reviewed in detail the progress of and reasons for re-shoring: bringing manufacturing back to the U.S. The article quotes me about the group I lead to motivate and enable re-shoring: the Re-Shoring Initiative. We provide a free software to help OEMs make better sourcing decisions, Purchasing Fairs to help them find competitive U.S. sources and publicity to drive the re-shoring trend. The three associations mentioned are the NTMA (National Tooling and Machining Association), PMA (Precision Metalforming Association) and AMT (Association for Manufacturing Technology). We just held a re-shoring Purchasing Fair in Irvine, CA. The next Fair will be in Mashantucket, CT on Oct 29. See . Large companies bring out work that is now off-shored. Hundreds of attending U.S. shops then bid on the work. Sixty four percent of the large companies at the Irvine Fair brought work that was currently offshored. AME, SME and other organizations have also provided valuable support.
    A major reason for offshoring is faulty accounting of the comparative costs. Companies have offshored more than is even in their own short term interest. To help the companies make better sourcing decisions we provide a free TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) Estimator that helps the large companies perform the complex calculation of the real impact of offshoring on their P&L. Just email me.
    If your company now off-shores machining or tooling production, suggest to your Supply Chain Manager or Purchasing Dept. that they attend the Fair and request the TCO Estimator.
    You can reach me at
    Harry Moser, Chairman Emeritus, Agie Charmilles LLC

  7. AvatarBruce Renwick

    It’s always great news to hear that corporations are looking to keep the products here in the USA. It’s still hard to believe the Chinese have “peaked” as an exporter. As had been talked about before on this forum, many corporations will automatically believe they get “cheaper” products from China without considering all the consequences, this would suggest that the Chinese are winning the propaganda war on this issue. Also, in the Chinese system if they want to keep exports growing they can do many things including, but not limited to, manipulating the value of there currency and lowering wages for the manufacturing workers, not to mention all the perks and rewards that they can offer the American purchasers. We all know the deal. How can any civilized country compete with what can only be considered slave labor and a rigged system?
    I tip my hat to the Re-Shoring Initiative and thank you. We need all the help we can get to save and grow our manufacturing base in this country. I believe we Americans will win.

  8. AvatarFuad Abbasi

    I wholehartedly agree with the idea of manufacturing frisbees in America. We are the patent holders and owners of the “Flying Mushroom”……the disc you throw like a frisbee but catch like a top in the palm of your hand……….while it spins itself out.

    We have several negotiated leases being entertained as we prepare to manufacture. Plastic Injection Molders….Step Forward. Save your business by helping ours get off the ground.

    We would like to talk to US based manufacturers who can help us achieve our ‘Made in USA” mission statement for all toys. We could easily make it cheaper in China but would rather keep manufacturing local to achieve consistent high quality output. Any manufacturers who are interested please call. 561-929-9502.


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