Apple is famous for the clean, minimalist designs of its products and has invested carefully in cultivating a premium brand image, selling at high margin and with low operating costs.
It leaves manufacture to big sub-contractors like Foxconn, which means it doesn’t have to spend what would run to billions of pounds on internal production, plant and logistics.
Dealing with thousands of staff in factories is another headache Apple avoids by using a third party manufacturer, so apart from the staff who operate its retail outlets, they have no requirement to hire and manage hourly staff.
In brief, Apple sticks to its strengths – effective brand building and exemplary customer service without the investment needed to bring manufacturing engineers in-house.
Apple sells millions of products each year without making a single device.
So, what of our own industry?
Unlike the tech industry, outsourcing (although it exists) is far less prevalent in the Extrusion sector, with systems companies sceptical about embracing outsourcing models despite the potential to cut operating costs.
However, as Chris Byers, Managing Director of Euroseal explains, the changing face of the sector means that businesses are becoming increasingly open to the idea of outsourcing.
“While the margins have always existed, there is now a greater call for systems houses to look at alternative or hybrid systems of manufacture, because those margins have been eroded by increased material and energy costs.
“This is something not helped by continuing uncertainty around Brexit and more difficult trading conditions – let’s not forget that most polymer used in the UK window system production is imported from the EU.
“There’s also a pressure to invest. Window system extrusion has moved forward and that requires investment in lines and capacity. That means significant capital spend at a time when continuing market uncertainty makes investment in big ticket items far less appealing.”
Innovation, improvement, trust
Economic uncertainty drives companies like Apple to have third parties deliver production of their devices and manage manufacturing investment for them, so they can focus on marketing and sales.
The cost of controlling inventory, transportation costs, capital tie-up and salary overheads are all effectively side-stepped, allowing companies to centre attention on innovation and improving their products.
These arrangements truly flourish when trust is established with the manufacturer, something which Apple has cultivated in its relationship with a high-quality turnkey provider like Foxconn.
Why outsource extrusion to Euroseal?
Euroseal offers a complete extrusion service, from initial concept to delivery.
This includes, design and CAD creation and manufacture of tooling, to extrusion, quality control, personalisation and packaging – plus shipment either for your own distribution or direct to customers. It also offers financial support to its customers to invest in tooling on larger volume runs.
With nine extrusion lines including five high capacity twin screw machines and four single screw machines, including co-extrusion, it also operates one of the UK’s most technically advanced extrusion facilities.
This gives it the capacity to extrude profiles from 40g to 6kg per metre and 0.7mm to 10mm thick, to exacting tolerances, with twin screws running to more than 200kg per hour and manufacturing a diverse range of thermoplastic extrusions, including rigid profile and co-extrusions in PVC, wood composite, HDPE, Polystyrene, Polypropylene and ABS.
Investment and commitment to quality
Because of the investment Euroseal has made in its own process controls and system, we are one of the few specialist extruders to have partnered with window systems companies in the UK.
We work to BSi Kitemark standards, providing a complete audit trail for every profile we extrude. This includes printing bar length every 0.5m with the date, time and machine it was extruded on and by which operative – so everything is auditable and transparent.
This gives our customers full visibility of everything that we do, so much so, that we supply daily and weekly production data using the customer’s own documentation.