Michael McKeldon Woody has created a forum to teach small to mid-size American manufacturers how to more effectively compete with China.

PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND (July 23 2012) – A shift is happening. A shift in manufacturing. For the first time in more than 20 years, American manufacturers have a favorable environment in which to compete with China and bring manufacturing jobs that have been off-shored for decades back to the United States.

But in order to beat China, American manufacturers cannot conduct business as usual. To help these businesses navigate the changing tides, Michael McKeldon Woody, president of International Marketing Advantages, has created American Dragon, an online forum and forthcoming book to teach small to mid-size U.S. manufacturers how to better compete with China.

During his 31 years of leadership experience working at and with small to medium-sized manufacturing firms, Woody has learned much about competing with China. “Chinese manufacturers excel at long production runs of commodity products,” Woody explained. “However, they are not as proficient at shorter production runs, particularly of more customized products. They lack a solid understanding of U.S. product safety guidelines. Additionally, their distance from the States is a disadvantage, with the transport time added to their production lead times. And most important, they don’t understand our distribution networks and often inadvertently—or purposefully—sell around their U.S. customers to the ultimate buyer. These are all weaknesses in their business model that we can exploit to our advantage.”

To attack Chinese manufacturing at its weakest points, Woody has developed a three-pronged approach: FEWER, FASTER, FINER.

  1. Chinese manufacturers have a bias toward long production runs of commodity-type products. The concept of FEWER exploits this weakness by emphasizing lower minimum order sizes; the lower a minimum order size, the better. If a product can be customized, even better still. (Watch American Dragon – The FEWER Principle video here.)
  2. Goods shipped from China must travel thousands of miles to get to the U.S., which takes time—significant time. This weakness can be exploited by being FASTER. With the prevalence of tighter margins, most U.S. customers currently buying from China favor low inventory levels and just-in-time delivery. Given these conditions, short production lead times and physical proximity of supply chain partners becomes more critical. (Watch American Dragon – The FASTER Principle video here.)
  3. As can be seen regularly in the headlines, Chinese manufacturers lack a clear understanding of the U.S. rules and regulations surrounding product safety, which often results in costly product recalls. U.S. manufacturers can exploit this weakness with the concept of being FINER in both product safety and product quality. But the principle doesn’t stop there. To be truly successful, the overall organization needs to be FINER, which means creating a team of top-notch personnel with a strong sense of urgency who can develop strong relationships with customers. (Watch American Dragon – The FINER Principle video here.)

Once manufacturers have implemented the principles of FEWER, FASTER, FINER in their operations, it’s time to market those capabilities to U.S.-based customers and prospects to take back business from China. Many consumers and purchasing agents don’t relish buying overseas; they simply feel they have no other choice. Give them clear, measurable reasons to give that business to you instead. (Watch the video on Selling The Model here.)

Additionally, the website features profiles of companies successfully winning the battle against China to further demonstrate how effective the principles of FEWER, FASTER, FINER can be in practice. (Watch the first video in the series here.)

To learn more about the evolution of the economic forces that put small U.S. manufacturers in our currently precarious position, and how other forces—the strengthening of China currency, China labor shortages, increasing transportation costs due to rising oil prices, the compression of geographic supply chains, and new, more stringent Consumer Products Safety Commission guidelines—are now working in our favor, visit

About American Dragon:

American Dragon is an online forum where small to mid-size U.S. manufacturers can come to not only learn how to compete with China by implementing the principles of FEWER, FASTER, FINER but also share their stories of successfully winning business back from overseas. Founded by Michael McKeldon Woody, the site is a culmination of his 30+ years of experience working at and with U.S. manufacturers to help them succeed by exploiting weaknesses in the Chinese manufacturing business model. The book American Dragon is forthcoming.

Woody is president and founder of International Marketing Advantages, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in international business, strategic marketing, and mergers and acquisitions. A frequent speaker at industry conferences and tradeshows, Woody presented on the topic of how U.S. manufacturers can better compete with China at the 2011 Rhode Island Business Expo. In April 2000, he testified before a subcommittee of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the lessons of NAFTA for American businesses.

Share stories of how you’ve implemented the principles of FEWER, FASTER, FINER at
Subscribe to the American Dragon YouTube channel at
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For more information, visit


Media Contact:
Lisa Horn, CAS

Company Contact:
Michael McKeldon Woody