Photographs courtesy of Scottish Leather Group

The method by which we make leather is critical to the quality, consistency and performance of the finished article. Mistakes and errors are always possible because leather manufacture is a complex blend of disciplines and technology. Even the process laid-down can be subject to interpretation between one person and another. This often gives subtle differences in the actual application of the process and can lead to inconsistencies.

Auditing of a client's process against the principles of "best practice" for the operation can provide guidance about how differences occur and provide the knowledge to make small adjustments that pay-back in quality and consistency.
Structured examination of the process, from raw to tanned, tanned to crust or crust to finished can be arranged. Each section breaks down the process, looks at the areas of critical control, how the controls are administered and whether the parameters are reasonable with respect to the product being made. A full confidential report is written for the company to use as a tool for improvement.

Why should you have an outsider audit your process?

Improvement is the aim, whether it is in the area of better-faster-cheaper, or whether it is more related to the understanding of the people involved that need to be more diligent in process application.

Control will improve as a result of a company identifying the causes of inconsistencies and standardising the systems used, identify and close down invisible costs that make a drain on profitability even before the product reaches the customer. Cost of poor quality, reworks and excess work-in-progress stocks prove unnecessary diverts for cash flow and resources. These elements provide extra weight for the organisation to carry and make it less flexible and harder to manage.

Product Consistency at times, the most elusive of the tanner's problems. At the fundamental level, the product is variable. It should not be, but how many production and technical managers are so close to the problem that they can't see the wood for the trees? This is the field of the tannery consultant, unraveling the complexity and exposing the critical elements that will bring about greater success.

How green is your tannery?

Regardless of how "environmentally responsible" the products we make are with respect to the claims we make, we are all aware of the extent that tannery effluent makes for bad press and poor relationships with the neighbours and authorities, Use this audit method as a confidential and economical environmental assurance and insurance route, putting your company in a position where you can be more assured of a positive reception by export customers.

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