Recovery straps - Country of Manufacture
Checking out the latest products from ARB is always an eye opener. There is always something that gets added to the list of wants.
Recently it had come time for me to renew some of my recovery gear, so I went to my local ARB store to check it out. The selection of straps was great and I was almost going to purchase some when I discovered where it was manufactured. I understand the product would be to a standard and do what it was designed to do but I was disappointed to see it was from overseas. With the proud Australian feeling I had, I put the straps down and went and sourced some that were made here at home.
I purchased some straps that were equal in load rating and had recommendations the same as ARB did in the 4WD Action magazine strap test. Pricing was a little cheaper and I felt I had helped in keeping manufacturing in Australia and hanging onto proud Australian jobs. With this, I appreciate the quality of ARB’s products and own quite a few, but I, and I hope many others, would like it if in the future we could stick together and produce as much as we can right here in Australia.
Thanks for listening,
Hello Matt, and many thanks for taking the trouble to write to us with your thoughts on the issue of country of origin. The decision to move our recovery strap manufacturing offshore was a long and difficult one, but I’ll try and summarise our reasons for doing so.
About five years ago, Australian 4WD Monthly magazine (now known as Australian
4WD Action), did a comprehensive review on all of the snatch straps on the market. I
still remember the headline splashed over the front cover, ‘the results will shock you’.
No one was more shocked than us, when our Australian made snatch straps failed to
meet their stated rating. Despite the fact we have always had our straps randomly checked, the ones the magazine tested failed. What was really puzzling though, was that there were other straps on the test sold by our competitors, which were from the same supplier, that passed with flying colours. On discussions with the magazine’s
editor at the time, Pat Callinan, it became apparent that 4WD Monthly had discovered huge inconsistencies in the supplier’s manufacturing process. We were understandably appalled, and started to look for a new supplier.
Switching to another Australian manufacturer was really not an option, as previous experience with other local suppliers had demonstrated that they were unable to satisfy our required volumes. It soon became apparent that if we wanted a great quality strap that we could successfully distribute around the world, we had no choice but to go outside Australia. In the end we spent about two years researching manufacturing techniques before settling on a webbing factory. The straps we are selling now are vastly superior to our old ones, with many additional features. Clearly we made the right decision, as the most recent Australian 4WD Action magazine test scored all three of our snatch strap sizes a perfect 10/10.
At this point, Matt, I want to emphasise that this example is really quite unusual. In fact,
I would formally like to invite you to ARB’s manufacturing plant at our head office in
Kilsyth where you will see that Australian manufacturing is alive and well. At Kilsyth
we manufacture products including bull bars, rear bars, side rails, Air Lockers, air
compressors and dual battery trays. We actually had to expand operations quite recently,
and opened another Melbourne based factory to build our range of canopies. Whilst
there are isolated cases such as the strap situation, conversely there are many examples of ARB products which were previously imported, and are now made in-house.
So in summary, as a visit to our head office will demonstrate, the bulk of our core product lines are made right here in Australia. Ultimately, though, we have a responsibility to our customers to deliver the very best products for the best value for money, and if that means we have to go offshore, then so be it.
Finally, with a distribution network that exceeds 100 countries worldwide, in dollar terms, ARB exports more than it imports, so we’re definitely doing our bit to keep the balance of payments healthy.
I hope you get plenty of use out of the Aussie made ARB air compressor you’ve just won.