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Following a visit to a factory in Shenzhen, Polar Thermal Managing Director Paul Harrison has committed to maintaining manufacturing and production in the UK. Paul said: “I was very curious when I was shown example costings but the reality was dreadful working conditions coupled with very poor and variable quality.”

Polar have been investing in new systems in their Warminster factory and taken on additional staff, but are more committed than ever to maintain and improve standards, rather than cut corners:

Office Manager Jemma Griffiths is responsible for maintaining the company’s ISO9001 Certification and is also handling the ISO14001 Environmental Registration – “operating in an ethical way has been core to how we do business and it has become even more relevant given the pandemic. Personally, I am really proud of the way we run our business, treat our staff, customers and suppliers.”

Commercial Manager Alex Porter commented: “We can’t compete on price with the sweatshops in the Far East – we have made a choice to maintain quality and improve service – we trust in our resellers and customers that this is enough – if we start compromising on this then we are just in a race to the bottom.

It is disappointing that some of our products are being copied and imported – we have had customers call us with issues only to discover that they have unknowingly bought cheap lookalikes. Given that we manufacture bags to keep vaccines and pharmaceuticals safe we would never look to outsource our manufacturing.”

Paul added: “it is always a difficult conversation when someone calls us and says they can ‘get it cheaper from China’ – they are correct – they can, and they can get it from the UK, Made in China, but if they are going to trust the lives of their end-customers to this then it is not going to end well.”

Polar has now committed to sourcing 90% of its materials in the UK, 95% within Europe and to maintain all manufacturing in the UK.

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