THE country’s largest shoe manufacturing company, Bata, is aiming at a 20% increase in production by year end despite a shortage of raw materials, a company executive has said.
REPORT BY MUSA DUBE
The shoe manufacturer is currently operating at above 60% capacity utilisation.
“We are turning around our company and expanding our operations.
Last year we grew by 15%, and this year we want to grow by about 10 to 20%,” said Bata managing director, Luis Pinto.
He said the company was on a recovery path, although the shortage of raw materials was a major stumbling block for the company to fully turn around.
“We are currently operating at around 60 or 70% capacity and the reason why we are at the level is because of the shortage of raw hides and we are not getting enough,” he told Standardbusiness.
Pinto, said the raw materials they were receiving, hardly met the daily demand.
“We need about 500 hides per day but because of shortage we are getting around 200 per day. I think there should be a ban on the export of rawhides because it’s negatively affecting us,” said Pinto.
He said due to the shortage of raw materials they were now concentrating on producing basic footwear.
“We are concentrating in producing basic footwear such as farmer shoes, safari shoes and school shoes,” he said.
Pinto said the company was trying to pay cash for the hides but still they were not getting them in the right quantity as most of the hides were being exported at the expense of the local industry.
Pinto said they were also importing about 20% of the shoes to augment local production.
“We are importing about 20%, while 80% is locally produced,” said Pinto.
He also said efforts to fully turn the company around were being hampered by cheap and substandard imports from China, although he was quick to point out they still had loyal customers who had faith in their quality products.
“Our products are of good quality and we guarantee our products, so we are not totally affected by the flea markets products,” said Pinto.
Bata currently employs about 1 400 workers, down from 1 700 in 2010.