One of the greatest cachets to the Arc’teryx process is having its own factory within the product development loop. Division Q visits the Vancouver facility regularly, conferring with Dave and Bill, talking to operators and putting together equations that make the most sense. For any product that requires custom tooling, those tools are made here and if required, someone from the team will travel to install and train operators elsewhere on how to use them. The right equipment and the right method are that important.
This is something Dave knows well. He arrives at the factory early each morning to enjoy a few moments of quiet. Dave likes to reflect on the many years he has been here, his goals for the day and how hard it is to greet his coworkers with a flawless ‘Josan,’ which is the Cantonese equivalent of ‘Good Morning’. “They always laugh at me,” he says with a grin. “But at least I try.”
There is nothing stereotypical about this place. The layout reflects the factory philosophy, which is one of efficiency and teamwork. Instead of individual tasks, the floor is organized in assembly stations, where a single operator completes several steps and at the end of the day there is a certain quota of finished products. It’s a holistic approach that is challenging and requires a high level of skill. But ultimately, it rewards the people involved with a true sense of accomplishment, contribution and participation on a team. White lines on the concrete indicate walkways and everywhere are banners and symbols of personalized work stations. It feels somewhat like home.
If there is one thing to take away from this experience, it is product excellence. Dave looks forward to the next wacky challenge coming his way and watching his team of operators learn and excel at making it happen. Being on the cutting edge of what Arc’teryx is doing and watching ideas come alive is really rewarding.
Chris locks up the shop. A red glow from the security camera lights up a sign on the door. No IKEA requests.