Lovemore Zigara, Midlands Correspondent
THE country’s largest shoe manufacturer Bata Shoe Company has embarked on a massive upgrade of its Gweru plant, which is aimed at improving the quality of its products and diversifying production.
Bata manufactures a range of footwear among them Pata-Pata, Sandak, canvas shoes like Tommy and leather men’s and school wear. The firm produces about 3.5 million pairs a year.
Managing director, Mr Ehsan Zaman, said so far the company has made significant investments and major overhauls on its manufacturing facility in Gweru.
“Tannery is something, which requires a lot of machinery and these are normally expensive. So, we are upgrading and replacing some of the key machines to improve our quality. For example, we have already upgraded all our soaking, tanning and re-tanning drums,” he said.
“We are now in the process of replacing our plating machine, which is a key machine in the tannery. These investments will ensure overall quality of our leather and we will be able to produce better leather shoes.” Mr Zaman said the company has also invested in the leather factory by replacing key machines in assembly lines and bringing in new sole moulds, which have resulted in Bata diversifying its footwear lines from the traditional school shoe, which has been its niche market.
“We have diversified our products where we are now manufacturing different articles for men and ladies, which in the past we were importing. To produce these articles, we have also invested in our leather factory and this has helped us replenish our stocks faster,” he said.
“This has also helped the customer to get better products and as per their size requirements because if we import the replenishment [takes] very long — as much as six months,” he said.