If you follow the Cerasis blog, you know that we are a logistics service provider, commonly known as a third party logistics company, who provides technology as a process improvement enabler for shippers to better manage their Less than truckload, truckload, and small package freight moves. We also provide managed transportation services for our shippers. Through our company, our mission is to help manufacturers and distributors streamline their business process, specifically as it relates to freight, transportation, and logistics, so that those manufacturers can focus on their core business, remain profitable, sustain that profitability, grow, and in turn impact the economy.
That is why when I came across Economic Impact Rating on Twitter a few weeks ago, I knew at that moment I wanted to talk to whomever started the company.
I immediately saw not only their great interaction on Twitter with a lot of the manufacturing companies we also engage with on the social media platform, but based on the tweets, you could see the passion of the company. I then went to their website, where I saw this short snippet:
Build Consumer Trust and Brand Equity
These days, the number one concern for Americans is jobs. We hear about it every day on the news, across the web and survey after survey confirms that. If you create jobs, why not stand out for what matters most to your customers? With the Economic Impact Rating displayed on your product, website and marketing material, you can do just that.
How does the rating work?
Our certified analysts use EIR’s patented accounting method to measure the economic impact of purchasing your product in relation to job creation, tax contributions, charitable donations and inputs such as overhead and logistics.
I instantly saw that this was more than just a label certification, but MUCH deeper. It really showed the economic impact of a company on it’s local economy. THAT to me is a beautiful thing. If you know your impact, then you can make a bigger impact.
So, as you do in social media, I sent them a tweet and asked if I could speak to them and conduct an interview. They agreed, and I was able to speak to the company’s founder, Anthony Comito. That interview is below.
Economic Impact Rating Interview
(Adam Robinson): What and who is Economic Impact Rating?
(Anthony Comito): EIR is a independent certification program and a certification mark that tells the real impact of a product or service to a given geographic area; sort of like an organic certified, or some other certification but for the Economic Impact your company has on your local economy, such as where the money goes or how many jobs you create. We even go fairly deep understanding how public company stock holders receive dividends.
(AR): Why did you start EIR?
(AC): There were three big reasons we started Economic Impact Rating:
- At the time the economy was going through the Recession, and even still today, we are not seeing a wildly growing economy.
- While doing some research on trade and reading some trade papers a few years ago, and there were a lot of papers coming out on this thing called value added accounting, it was the idea that Supply Chains and products are getting really complex. The label “Made In” (such as Made In USA) is not a particularly good metric for where your money is going, where the income is behind a product or service is, where the jobs are, etc. There were really not any great metrics to show the impact of the product or company on the local, regional, or national economy.
- For example, a lot of the papers were looking at the iPhone, iPad, iPod, such as from Berkley and the WTO, and what they found by tearing the iPhone apart and understanding each part, of that $600 that Verizon paid Apple, only $5 to $10 is going into China; a lot of the parts are going into Japan and America; design and engineering are done in America, but for some reason we are looking at a product that says “Made in China” and in reality there is LOW impact in China, but LARGE impact in America. That is the kind of data we glean when we engage with a company to understand their economic impact rating.
- Also, at this time, we start seeing an increase from consumers and buyers looking for “Made In America” or for “Locally made”; searches were up 5000% in Google searches for “Made in America” and local products; However, there was a huge disconnect between people looking for these products and really understanding the information of the impact of these labelled products. With searches such as this going on, the next step was to naturally inform consumers beyond just a label, and that is one of our goals.
- Finally, and this is a fourth reason, we also wanted to aid in increasing sales for those companies and products that are certified and have an impact on their local economy.
(AR): What are you trying to accomplish with EIR?
(AC): The major thing we are looking to accomplish at Economic Impact Rating is to make healthier regional, local, and national economies everywhere. Our certification and rating allows consumers, businesses, and governments better recognize these products which truly make that economic impact.
(AR): How will you accomplish that?
(AC): We want an ultimate goal of a great number of people purchasing those products that are EIR certified . We will accomplish this by educating people on how a company or product makes this economic impact, to look further than the “Made in” label, and why it is important to purchase these rated products or do business with rated companies.
We have established relationships and are in talks in a few areas with Chambers of Commerce, government institutions, so that we may possible establish a tax break for companies who have this certification. That would definitely give all a win-win scenario.
(AR): How does the certification program work in general?
(AC): EIR works really hard to make the process as pain free for businesses, while at the same time upholding the integrity of the certification program. A company can contact EIR through a number of channels (phone, email, social media, etc). We then conduct an initial questionnaire, giving an idea if the business or company is a good candidate. We also ask to better understand their finances and accounting.
If qualified, we then do an assessment giving a cost of certification, depending upon complexity of the business and product. Based on the information in the questionnaire, EIR then goes about the process of working with client’s vendors, verifying information, and other data gathering. We finally then do the analysis and report in 2 to 3 weeks back to the company. We encourage you to visit our website to request a ranking to start the process.
The process, enrollment, findings, and the report are all confidential. If the company wants to license the certification mark, the company can go public with that information.
EIR also offers consulting services. For example, EIR worked with a local manufacturer in New England and unfortunately, they did not get a good rating. With consulting, EIR was able to help reshape the company’s supply chain and was able to find more cost effective Suppliers and Vendors. This raised the Economic Impact Rating to make the company more marketable and also shifted $30,000 that was going outside the local economy back INTO the local economy.
If several small and large companies truly makes an impact on the economy it helps consumers, businesses, government not only identify the products and companies that make an impact, but also allows companies to increase the impact by the data measuring the impact. See how you can get involved and see other case studies.
(AR): Given your engagement with many manufacturers in America, what should US manufacturers be thinking about right now in order to grow?
(AC): The first and foremost thing I would point to is the pursuit of continuous improvement. Most manufacturers I speak to are focused on it, but they need to continue to focus on it. A focus on process improvement to innovate and in order to stay strategic.
On a wider view, the government needs to incentivize, in one way shape or form, the growing of an “Industrial commons”, the idea that there is a “hub” of manufacturing companies in one local area. For instance, in China, they have these manufacturing hubs (i.e. close manufacturing facilities), which makes it cheaper to do business with shared resources and infrastructure. Since China has done this, even with labor & transportation costs aside, the cost effectiveness is much more competitive.
To expand on this “closeness” is to say that the closeness breeds collaboration and creating a culture of innovation, and lends towards sustainability and collaboration.
Finally, I would say also that as we begin to have a much more global economy, American Manufacturers need to start thinking about where they fit in the Global Value Chain.
(AR): Any last words?
(AC): What EIR is doing is important and we have a passion behind what we are doing to impact the world. EIR is a good way to differentiate your product or service and get your message across quickly at the point of purchase quickly vs. having to guess what that impact is for the consumer.
If you are interested in exploring an Economic Impact Rating certification, I highly encourage you to visit their website and submit a request.