I know what you are thinking, you don’t think you need to use a UK based manufacturing solution because you can increase your margins by importing. But, picture this for a moment; you are in a toy shop and your child wants to buy something, but it is cheaper to buy another similar item. You get home and after 5 minutes it breaks. Not only is your child now devastated, but also you have to go and buy a new one that means you have paid more than if you just got the better quality one in the first place. The saying is true, buy cheap, buy twice.
Now let’s edit this scenario a little bit; the toy in question is now a mesh deck and your child is now your customer. You now have an unhappy customer and a cost that you might have to front yourself. Not only this but the customers products might have been damaged in the process. This seems like a lot of risk for very little reward, does it not?
QTS designs and manufactures its mesh products here in the UK in our factory in Pinxton, Nottinghamshire. This means we can offer a great quality product with a great lead time. Still not convinced? See below why importing your mesh could be a mistake…
The challenges of importing from the far-east
The cost of shipping from a remote city in China where now most factories are placed, versus the cost of road transport from somewhere in the UK, will be drastically different. The biggest cost is the import tax placed on goods shipped from China. This will be an area of uncertainty with the current Brexit negotiations in place. In addition, the distance from here to the far east will obviously increase your delivery prices.
There is then the factor of time. If you are looking for a quick lead time on a project, then the far-east import option is not for you. Not only is there the time it takes to actually transport the goods to the UK but there is also all the added time with customs checks and paperwork that is required before you will receive the items. Think about the sales that you are going to miss out on every time you don’t have the ability to meet those ‘last minute’ project time requirements.
Chinese Manufacturing is known to work with far lower profit margins than their western equivalents – just ask Apple why their iPhone is manufactured over there. China can mass produce the iPhone far cheaper than any American electronics manufacturer hands down. This means they can ship massive quantities across the globe in a cost-effective manner. For those of us that don’t run a corporation like Apple, what if your requirements are for smaller quantities or one-offs? The chances are they won’t be able to accommodate your orders or you will have to pay far higher rates than any local manufacturer to get them shipped over.
I think it’s fair to say ‘Made in China’ has some negative connotations and it’s for a good reason. A particular case of this in China was when they started adding the element boron to their steel mix. The boron was found to cause the welds to crack. This would be potentially catastrophic if the deck were holding any products or if any warehouse staff were nearby.
The biggest difference is in the steel. For example, we use a steel with a rating of S280 which means that the steel has a structural yield of 280 n/mm². In the Far East, the typical rating is only at S230 and our Director has even seen them as low as S195. Any material that we import, we make sure that we either test it ourselves or send off for testing. This has paid dividend when, back in February, we tested some steel from a new potential supplier, but it came back at a much lower grade than they were claiming.
All of the wire that creates our decks comes from approved sources in Europe that are tested regularly and have a tensile strength of 700MPa. The cheap wire from the far east only tested at 510MPa. It means that if we choose to use a material with softer properties such as a cheaper wire, we would get more elasticity from our product. If we combine this with a softer support bar material such as a S230 you would see a great level of deflection in the product under load.
If you would like to know more, get in contact with one of our team.