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In at the deep end

Taking the plunge into the unknown is always a risk. When Bill Gates founded Microsoft or Steve Jobs co-founded Apple, it was a leap of faith and they believed that what they were doing would be successful. For them, it certainly turned out to be the right product at the right time.

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Location theory in the leather industry

If you want to understand why tanneries locate and relocate you have to read a book written in 1937. Hoover's "Location of the New England leather and footwear industry" is often mentioned as the seminal work that started off the management science of economic geography. Certainly it is an excellent piece of work. 

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The pain in Spain

As I head back from a mini holiday in Spain. Like so many people I’m drawn by the sun, sand, gastronomy and general quality of life many Spaniards still enjoy today despite the recent economic hardship.

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Old stock, dead machines and redundant chemicals

Back to work after the summer break (well in Europe anyway)? Maybe time, to take the time, to walk around the plant and take a fresh look at the site. There are always areas or items that are too hard to handle or just put off for another day?

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The speed of change – the PC 16

The December 5 2004 is a date that is ingrained in the minds of all those involved in global sourcing. It was the moment BusinessWeek published a momentous article entitled “The China Price” which made the point that companies like WalMart were demanding all their suppliers matched the prices then available from highly efficient Chinese manufacturers. 

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Its all in the name

The big news capturing headlines in the leather industry in the last week has been man made beef burgers. Pretty ugly things with added blood of unborn calves and all sorts of taste and colour modifiers. 

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Who needs another tannery?

The mobility of the tanning sector has never been greater. There are new tanneries appearing in different areas across Asia. Vietnam has seen several, so does Indonesia and now there are new plans for a green field site in Fujian province China. Many of these tanneries are built by the larger organisations in the global tanning sector and often appear in industrial zones that have been green field sites.

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Are we all to blame for the mess in Dhaka?

On April 24, 2013, an eight-story commercial building, Rana Plaza, collapsed in Savar, a sub-district in the Greater Dhaka Area, the capital of Bangladesh. The search for the dead ended on May 13 with the death toll of 1,129. Approximately 2,500 injured people were rescued from the building alive.

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What is honest science?

I remember a discussion at home when I was deciding to go to University. It was in the years after C P Snow had given his controversial Rede lecture "The Two Cultures". The worry was that literary and artistic people had become so divorced from any understanding of science that they could not understand the technical development going on around them. My father, who was then Managing Director of Andrew Muirhead's tannery in Scotland, argued that making leather involved both science and art and so neatly bridged the divide.

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Getting away from commodity thinking

Many articles are written about the leather Industry relating to the current state of the industry and the market conditions etc etc. I have spent the past 25 years in the tanning industry and have seen a lot and have managed too achieve quite a bit also. In my opinion, to be honest, the industry has not really changed that much. The disconnected relationship between sales demand for leather and supply is a fact: a fact that drives profit margins and the total business forward.

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