Should we shop for our leather more locally?

The Toggler
Published:  06 August, 2013

Summer holidays are with us in Europe, with some countries closed down for most of August. I was relaxing in the garden listening to the radio. The radio presenter has just come back from his holidays in France and was saying that there the high street was full of local shops. 

The local citizens (and tourists one assumes) make a point of supporting the local businesses contrasting with town centres being full of closed shops or losing business to the out of town shopping malls.

This got me thinking about the global situation in our sector – should we be thinking more locally, a little more closer to home (often where there is raw material), supporting our own local economy? Material is shipped around the world looking for the location with the cheapest labour and possibly the cheapest or most relaxed attitude to environment.

It may be time to re-consider this. There are many situations where tanneries are forced to move from one country to the next to meet their customer’s needs – is this truly necessary and is it truly cost effective? Sure it is good to have the supplier near the unit that will use the leather, sure it is good to have a low cost base etc, etc but when one considers the total cost of investing in the next “best country for production” it may be that moving the production or finishing plant is not the most effective (it may just be a cosmetic effect where the final user is better serviced but the whole supply chain is disadvantaged and operates less effectively).

So while you are away, sitting on the beach, up a mountain or wherever. Take a moment to consider how your business is operating in the global supply chain, are you operating in the most effective way to deliver the right product on time, in the right place and at the best price?

About The Toggler

The Toggler is International Leather Maker’s new regular columnist and blogger. If you have any comments about the subjects covered by The Toggler you can contact them at thetoggler@internationalleathermaker.com

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