A letter from SATRA’s chief executive
by John Hooker
Welcome to another year of SATRA membership.
In my first year as chief executive, I am delighted to welcome you to your next year of SATRA membership and thank you for your support in 2019.
The knowledge and expertise that resides within SATRA is truly outstanding, and my mission is to make sure that we remain your leading technology partner and that you benefit as much as possible from this through the range of services and products that we offer. In the current ever-changing economic and political climate, we will do this through continued engagement with our membership and thoughtful investment.
2019 was SATRA’s centenary, and we have been busier than ever. Our innovation and development team had a record year helping members to solve a wide variety of problems and assisting with the development of new and improved products. We have invested further in our commercial and research laboratories, enhancing our physical and chemical analytical testing capabilities. I encourage you to contact our technologists, whether you have a challenging issue to resolve or are simply looking for some routine testing.
As new materials and footwear constructions are used, there have been further developments with SATRA’s highly-valued footwear guidelines and test methods. For instance, SATRA test method TM83 – ‘Measurement of the area shape retention and collapsing load of formed box toe (toe puff) and counter (stiffener) materials’ was updated to accommodate new modern material types.
SATRA’s training events and seminars are continuing to grow. The recent Sustainable Footwear Forum in Kettering had a record number of delegates. Our regular member seminar programmes in China have also been very well attended. During 2019, we successfully delivered training via webinars. We welcome opportunities to organise company training, tailored to your requirements, around the world through this media.
Comfort and fit of footwear are now more important than ever. The rapid rise in online retail comes with the problem of increased returns, many of which will be due to sizing, comfort and fit issues. SATRA’s foot dimensions database continues to grow, and we are helping many members to reduce returns and increase sales by modifying footwear designs to comfortably fit a larger percentage of the target population. One of the tools we use is our new rapid and accurate Digital Last Assessment service to analyse last CAD files. We will also be launching some innovative fitting aids to our members in 2020.
SATRA continues to work with members throughout the footwear supply chain and we have improved our consultancy services, helping manufacturers reduce waste and improve productivity. Our VisionStitch package that supports sewing productivity and quality improvements has been upgraded with more functionality and a better user interface. 2020 will see major updates to our SATRASumm package for costing and optimising leather cutting. The trusted SATRA Laboratory Accreditation programme continues to increase in popularity, helping laboratories to improve and demonstrate their quality commitment to brands and sourcing companies.
2019 saw SATRA’s test equipment business move into new premises close to our head office, and I would like to remind you that all members qualify for discounted test equipment prices.
We are very proud that our facility in Dongguan, China continues to grow and we will shortly be investing to further increase both our general and safety footwear testing scope. We now have a team in Dongguan that fully manages testing and CE certification of safety footwear and gloves for sale into the EU.
A number of our members are involved in the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as safety footwear, and work with SATRA to certify their products for sale in the EU. SATRA has Notified Bodies in both the UK and Ireland. We now issue all type-approval certificates from our Notified Body in Ireland, so that their validity will not be affected by ‘Brexit’. We are maintaining our UK Notified Body, as we will then be able to issue UK Conformity Assessed (UKCA) certificates to companies selling PPE into the UK should this become a requirement.
SATRA is well prepared to serve all your technical needs in 2020, and SATRA staff will continue to provide world-class knowledge and expertise based on a century of supporting the global footwear industry.
I very much look forward to working with you in the year ahead.
This article was originally published on page 2 of the January 2020 issue of SATRA Bulletin.