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Four simple defence mechanisms for local blindmakers

It’s an astonishing claim for a number of reasons, not the least as it seems to insinuate that this individual is going to take great pleasure in killing off local manufacturing and jobs, but mainly for being completely fallible. Having a background in other manufacturing industries I have seen firsthand how imports can destroy local manufacturing. However compared to industries such as clothing, technology and sporting goods, the local window furnishings market has four simple defence mechanisms up its sleeve.

1. The most obvious is the custom made nature of the product. With no two windows alike, off the shelf products have their limitations. And even for custom made imports, the wide nature of many windows in Australia and the freighting in of wide width products becomes incredibly troublesome.

2. Quality is also another defence. For example, I have been staggered in my short time in the industry by the move away from some types of imported blind fabrics. The local coating industry has had some fantastic success in bringing back production of blockout blind fabrics after overseas experiments in both finished fabric and base cloth went awry.

3. Innovation: For those in the industry who intend to continue manufacturing locally, innovation is key. Whether it is investing in new product ranges, new fabrics, or new systems, moving early and fast is a great defence to any sort of import.

4. Automation: Labour costs, OH&S and industrial relations are clearly the biggest cost imposts on local manufacturers, but with the advent of automation in the manufacturing process, the labour cost per unit can be reduced with savvy investment.

This is an edited version of the editorial which appered in the September 2012 edition of Window Furnishings Australia magazine. To subscribe go to

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