Lovemore Zigara Midlands Correspondent
THE country’s largest shoe manufacturer, Bata Shoe Company is on a massive upgrade of its Gweru factory plant aimed at improving the quality and diversity of products.
Bata produces about 3,5 million pairs of shoes a year and has a whole range of products such as Pata-Pata, Sandak, Canvas Shoes, Tomy and a range of school footwear. The company’s managing director, Mr Ehsan Zaman, said so far the company has made significant investments and major overhauls at its Gweru factory.
“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 had 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 shoes, which have been its niche.
“We have diversified our products 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 these, the replenishment is very long — as much as six months.”
The company is operating at around 90 percent capacity and employs more than 1 100 employees.