Industry news — Where is it from? How is it made?

Where is it from? How is it made?

WHERE IT'S FROM ? | HOW IT'S MADE ?| WHAT'S MOST IMPORTANT

Our shelves are stocked with products from all over the world. Where they come from doesn’t really matter to us, at least not in isolation.

The slings might be from Australia and the harnesses from the UK. That box of shackles from Germany. And that batch of hooks from China. All have been sourced with the strictest selection criteria based on their intended use, and no equipment is disregarded based purely on its origin of manufacture.

It’s good practice—in life and beneath the hook—to assess things holistically. In the lifting industry it feels like we’re lagging way behind the times; we’re too insular. Some people look at imported goods, say, from China, and render them inferior. Show them an Australian-made product and they put it to work without even conducting an inspection. It’s naive.

The slings might be from Australia and the harnesses from the UK. That box of shackles from Germany. And that batch of hooks from China. All have been sourced with the strictest selection criteria based on their intended use, and no equipment is disregarded based purely on its origin of manufacture.

It’s good practice—in life and beneath the hook—to assess things holistically. In the lifting industry it feels like we’re lagging way behind the times; we’re too insular. Some people look at imported goods, say, from China, and render them inferior. Show them an Australian-made product and they put it to work without even conducting an inspection. It’s naive.

Some suppliers play on this mentality and claim to be providing the best products purely based on geography, without really backing up what they say with facts. Worse, they also suggest that other providers are inferior without supporting it with evidence. The end result for customers and users is that products are priced at 40% or 50% more for no good reason. In many cases the higher price is based on strength of brand and geography alone. Industry must learn to look beyond that.

What matters is the manufacturing process, the materials, testing, suitability, etc. Is every product from Asia as good as the products from Germany? Absolutely not. But we must look at each sling, shackle, hoist, crane, and spreader beam and judge it on its own merit.

Focussing on where a product is from and not how it’s made means we overlook what’s important, such as what is being asked of that product.

Is it an item, such as a chain hoist, that has been entirely manufactured overseas? Or is it an item that contains a component that has been made abroad, like a crane installed by an Australian crane builder but with overseas components? The fact is that many products ‘made here’ contain imported components. Does that make them good or bad? Actually, neither, based on geography alone.

I’ll be honest, we ask where products are from too, but it’s way down the (long) list of questions we put to existing and potential suppliers when we’re looking for stock or new products.

We don’t ask for a passport; we consider the longevity of a company’s presence in the marketplace. We look at whether they have a history of service delivery and what support is available. We talk to them about their manufacturing processes and we consider their ability to manufacturer to the highest standards. If they’re particularly cheap, we ask why. It might be that the cost of materials and labour and just comparatively low, not that corners are being cut for example.

We’ve been stakeholders in this marketplace for over 20 years and we study it daily; we travel the world, from places where manufacturing used to have a bad name, to the most industrial corners of Germany where it is world-renowned. What that experience tells us is that both domestic and imported product can be high quality, safe, and reliable. Equally, both can be substandard and inferior.

We’re big on service through knowledge and so if you want to know where a particular product was made just ask our team. They would be more than happy to chat to you about where our products come from and whether they’re the right choice for your application.

And if you still want to know more, give me a call.