When I first started going to China about 12 years ago, scaffolding was made of bamboo and the construction workers were wearing sandals. Now, things have moved on and the scaffolding is typically made of steel and the workers are also now being supplied with safety shoes
Establishing a strong product foundation and tailoring it for local markets
“The basis of the product is always the same,” says Harm. “It is always made to our specifications, in our chosen factories and to the standards we expect. Beyond that, we modify our products for the local requirements.” Harm and his team gather information on the needs of workers in different industries, such as construction, automotive and agriculture, as well as within different markets. “For example, we know what it takes to be a construction worker. And even within construction, there are different jobs – you can be a welder, a mason, an electrician etc. We know exactly what kind of footwear they need in their particular work environment, wherever it is in the world.”
Ensuring the standard for the long-term
“We quality control all our suppliers,” continues Harm. “Consistency in everything they do is extremely important to us. And of course we audit the factories according to the Bata Supplier Code of Conduct. It’s also critical that the supplier’s values are aligned to Bata, particularly in terms of placing people first and maintaining integrity.”
A new level of safety for developing markets
In many of the markets Bata supplies safety shoes too, the product has changed business practices: “We’ve started doing Bata Industrials in countries such as Bangladesh and Pakistan. Here we are bringing a new way of working and a new level of security to workers. In these countries this kind of product has never existed before,” explain Harm.