News & Media

27 Jun 2017

ISA TanTec Presents at The Global Footwear Production and Trade Summit

This year’s Global Footwear Production and Trade Summit took place at the Four Points Sheraton, Shenzhen, China last week. The Summit featured a diverse range of speakers from leading U.S. footwear executives, top factory executives, to footwear experts. Topics included interesting panel discussions on key business issues and footwear production.

Carl Flach, Senior Director Operational Strategies of ISA TanTec, participated in a panel discussion with Flavio Kunz, Vice President of Materials Dev. & Operation Fe. from Caleres and Andy Polk, Senior Vice President from FDRA, to address material innovation and challenges.

The keynote topic of how consumer changes impact the manufacturing process was addressed by Jose Kaminski, Director Product Development Merrell and Chaco.  Flach, from the viewpoint of a material supplier, responded on how to help brands react to consumer demands at rocket speed by using technologies and supply chain management.  “The first major thing we did to get closer to the market was to open our own facility in Vietnam in 2010 which allows the brands to source from Vietnam, China and USA. The individual orders are getting smaller and smaller, and the requested lead time is getting shorter and shorter, so we are investing in more small machines to accommodate the customers’ need for speed to market and flexibility.”  Flach highlighted this shorter and leaner supply chain in the discussion panel.

Flach also added “One of the biggest challenges in today’s market is the raw material quality. The hide quality has, over the last years, deteriorated and there is a surplus of lower grades available but a customer wish for better grades. The purchase price of an A grade is the same as the price of a C grade as we buy table run, but the customers expect lower price on the C grade.” Carl Flach explained that the tannery recently had to diversify offered materials and is now also offering metallic finishes and athletic leather. This decision was made due to more brands consolidating their supply base.  “If you want to be among the preferred suppliers, you need to offer a wide range of articles, flexibility and a high reliability.”


ISA TanTec was founded in 1995 and currently has 4-ultra modern tanneries located in the USA, Vietnam, China and Italy. In 2016, Navis Capital Partners co-invested with ISA as a strategic partner to support the further growth ambitions of ISA TanTec.
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