So, let me tell you about our process. We, like most, did not want to compete with other manufacturers, nor did we want to sink capital into carrying inventory and overhead, so we looked for a manufacturer that would provide us the best product we could find for a fair price. As we evaluated the market, we found that slight variations in quality could be measured by the number of call-back service orders we had. So, we evaluated several vendors based on our market's price point, value and low service order need. We found a company that is currently doing a great job to fill that business model.
Here is what they have done to make this happen:
- The shutters are made in China, but they have set-up 12ea major distribution centers in the United States.
- They are a multibillion dollar company with about 100 million in the US shutter market alone and a larger share of the European market.
- They are certified as an ISO 9000, 9001 and 9002 manufacturer.
- They are a publicly traded company on the Taiwan Stock Exchange.
- They are the only vertically integrated shutter company that I know of - this means that they own the forests, the lumber mill, the kiln drying systems, the molders, the extrusion machines and some proprietary technology, and the automated cutting facility. Everybody else has to worry about one of their suppliers cutting corners, but with our vendor they control the whole process and as such the quality.
- They are currently pricing themselves at extremely low margins, with high quality, because they are trying to take a big bite out of the competition.
- They hold 1/16" tolerance in manufacturing which translates to 1/8" tolerances in assembly. And, believe me, any seasoned window covering professional knows that these tolerances are better than most of the other companies on the market.
- They use basswood which is superior to poplar because poplar can not get dry enough.
- They are Greengard Certified - this is a very hard designation to get and I think only a couple shutter companies in the world have bothered to get it. This is another reason they work for us, I can bid this product on commercial jobs, because the have Greengard Certification and a Flame Retardant Certification on their Poly Shutter.
So, thanks to globalization and the United States Navy keeping shipping lanes free from piracy, my little business can offer a great product at a great price. Keep in mind, just taking a low priced import would not accomplish what we needed. Take note of the business model and the due diligence in choosing a vendor. In my opinion this is the prudent and wise way to make product choices.
We would love to help you make your next plantation shutter choice. Also, please check out our online shutter cost calculator for a rough idea of what your project might cost.