Our dedication to craftsmanship extends to our manufacturing processes. Quality and integrity can be achieved through responsible stewardship and diligent procedures regardless of location.
The global manufacturing landscape has changed dramatically and many overseas factories are state-of-the-art centres. Arc'teryx has invested in relationships that have taken years to build, foster and maintain, in the interest of retaining reliable quality, delivery and staff.
Arc'teryx products are very technical in their construction. Many of our manufacturing processes involve tools that we have developed ourselves and techniques that are not used by other brands. We require highly skilled personnel and factories that are willing to install and protect proprietary equipment. From the outset, the number of manufacturing facilities that we can consider is reduced to a select few, globally. Currently our products are made in 22 different facilities throughout the world.
Before entering into a contract with a factory, Arc'teryx, along with our parent company Amer Sports, conducts a comprehensive initial audit including social compliance, labor and workplace conditions, wages and safety.
The initial audit typically opens by meeting with factory management, followed by a factory tour, documentation review, private and confidential interviews with selected employees and finally, a closing meeting with factory management to discuss the preliminary audit findings. Critical issues must be resolved before any contract is proposed, along with a firm plan and timeline for correcting minor findings.
Once a facility has passed this first step, Arc'teryx staff visit to conduct a site tour and to verify that actual conditions meet the audit findings. We do not rely on third parties during the decision making process. A loyal workforce is valuable to us and their well-being is important to our success.
When we have established a working relationship, Arc'teryx personnel regularly visit each facility and remain in close contact with all operations. Quality control staff, production, design and engineering departments and our sourcing teams travel to verify procedures and solve problems as required. In some cases we employ permanent Arc'teryx staff to monitor daily operations.
Strong working relationships require investments from both sides. Our products demand skilled operators who are willing to be trained in new techniques, on unique machinery. We rely on facilities that are willing to incorporate new procedures and safeguard this knowledge. To maintain this workforce, employees are typically offered significantly higher wages because of their higher skill set and we engage established and globally recognized third party auditors (Bureau Veritas and Underwriter's Laboratory), to confirm the maintenance of ethical working conditions.
An Arc'teryx label guarantees our dedication to design, craftsmanship and performance at every one of the facilities where our products are made. We observe the actions of various compliance groups (Fair Wear and others) but at this time we have decided that there is no additional value to be gained in joining these efforts as our internal audit procedure is robust.
Our Vancouver Factory
A longstanding fixture in our design and production operations, our Vancouver factory currently employs 250 people. Having our own facility allows us to make smaller production runs and also to test and develop new construction techniques. Key product produced here include the iconic Alpha SV Jacket, all of our harnesses and any proprietary technologies that we wish to keep strictly in-house.
We are committed to investing in the core of our business with significant upgrades to our Vancouver Factory planned during the next three years to maintain its level as the most innovative apparel factory in the world.