I feel myself cringe when a client asks me where my shutters are made and I truthfully answer: “China” I’m not cringing because of the answer, but because of the expected client response.
For over 26 years I have proudly distributed window coverings that are made locally. I firmly believe in supporting Aussie products and workers. However, in the case of plantation shutters, I have spent quite some time researching the available suppliers and their product offering, before finally settling on my current choice: The Window Outfitters.
Now, before I continue, let me explain that there is certainly an Aussie shutter industry, and I’m not in any way casting aspersions on those businesses who do produce quality products. However, for my specific requirements, I was looking for price competitiveness, consistent quality, great representation, good lead times, online ordering and back up, plus an experience fitting team. I didn’t want to use suppliers who sold direct to the public either.
The window Outfitters is a combined USA/Aussie company with factories in Texas and China. Whilst their high end shutters are manufactured in Texas (by robots!!), my target market is a bit more price oriented, so the Chinese offering is appropriate.
There are a few things which set this particular Chinese operation apart from their Chinese counterparts:
- The factory workers are paid a Western wage, which is significantly higher than what their peers are receiving
- They are paid superannuation, holiday pay and sick leave: something still not common in China
- There are incentives in place to encourage workers to return after chines New Year (the tendency in the past was to disappear for a few months!)
- The factory itself uses state of the art engineering to maintain a high level of cleanliness and keep the factory dust free.
All these factors make for a happier and more productive team, and in turn the workers produce a better quality shutter: I love this!
One other thing to consider is that the factory is run by an Aussie born Chinaman, who uses Australian Standards in his quality control process. The end result is overall fewer mistakes, less damage and one of the highest quality shutters coming out of China… certainly comparable with some Aussie competitors.
So, when I say “Made in China”you can be certain that I have done the research to ensure that these products are just as good as what you expect to find in Australia.