Tracing the leather supply chain

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A safer supply chain with clear transparency and a reduced reputational risk is what more and more brands and retailers are looking for from their suppliers. We are offering an oft-the-shelf package to our customers so that they are able to ltu evaluate the materials they are buying”, Enrico Purgato. General Manager, The ID Factory, explained to ILM.

The ID Factoryis a small but highly specialised company located in the Italian tanning district of Arzignano, which aims to provide customers ofthe leather and non-leather supply chains with a simple and user-friendly electronic traceability system.

The company has developed two systems, one for tracing materials such polyurethanes, textile and synthetics which is due to be available this summer and the other for tracing leather known as ’Leather ID‘. The idea being that the end-product manufacturer, such as a footwear or leather goods brand can look along the supply chain at each component material in the product and be sure that each batch meets its specific requirements.

The user accesses The ID Factory website with a user name and password, and the tacking starts once the order numberis entered showing all the data. The QR code can be registered from a PC or via The ID Factory websiteand a report is produced. The customeris also able to see the shipping information, inspection report and any lab test reports.

Chemical tracing

With a particular focus on leather The ID Factory offer the possibility to be able to add a QR or bar code to each individual piece of finished leather prior to shipping. The final code is applied at the area-measuring step towards the end of the process. Information such as surface area and final grade are added to the data for each piece and saved on the system, which is accessed viathe code reader or smart device.

The code data, which can verified with a bar or QR code reader linked to a PC or to a smartphone/tablet device via an App, can then provide the history of the product via a web based platform storing all the information for each customer. The App is only available for android devices at the moment, but one for Apple devices is currently being developed.

Information stored on the code can include details of the hide and skin‘s origin, the chemicals used in the leather making process and what process steps were used. Ifa brand or retailer has a problem with a particular batch or it turns out to benon-compliant in terms of chemical testing then the source of the problem is more easily traced back using the code on the leatherin real-time.

“The Leather ID system is proving to be a useful tool. For example, any tanner that produces a chrome-free leather can use the codes to show the process steps to comply with a certification body showing the history of the leather”, says Enrico Purgato.

 

Greater transparency

For the tanner there is the possibility of a reduced number of complaints from customers when adopting a traceability systemas by its very nature there is greater process control. Also, if anyproblems do a rise, it should be faster to find the source.

“Tanners that are showing a greater level of openness and transparency in their processes are more likely to be able to satisfy the needs of their customers”, says Purgato. “Their customers are looking for confidence in their supply chains.”

 

Data security

“We have built a very secure system for handling our data and every three or four months we receive an lT update to the system. We actually get people to try and hack our systems to test for any weaknesses”, says Purgato.

“In the near future we will be in a position to offer shoes and leather goods manufacturers full traceability of all the materials used in each final product. To ensure that we have their business, our data security has to be robust”, he concluded.
Source: ILM