Guest comment from Richard Smith of APLF, based in Venzuela. I was with Richard at the Rio Sumit on the 9th November and travelled with him to JBS
JBS – Setting New Standards
RICHARD SMITH – Richard is an independent commentator on the textile, leather and footwear industries.
The day after the World Leather Congress on November 10th a group of 35 industry experts were invited to a tour of the JBS tannery at Itumbiara in Goias state, some 1100 km north west of Rio de Janeiro.
After a journey by air and coach starting at 5am the group arrived at this impressive facility around 11:10am. After an introductory talk and video presented by JBS Marketing Manager Fernando Bellese, the group was taken on a tour of the plant.
The Itumbiara facility is geared up for retanning and finishing starting from wet blue which comes from another JBS plant some 30km away. Installed capacity can handle 10,000 crust and 6,000 finished hides per day and at present is expanding production to reach that level after the recent installation of the latest Italian and Swiss equipment valued at some US$30 million.
Production of finished leather is aimed 90% for upholstery and 10% for footwear. 13% of leather production is for the internal market and 87% is exported, mainly to China and Italy. The facility has its own water recycling plant and does not dump waste of any kind into the nearby Paraná River.
What is most impressive about the Itumbiara facility is its cleanliness, organization, modern equipment for maximum automation and productivity but, above all, the positive spirit of the 1400 workers, all uniformed, which was palpable to the whole group.
Many of the visitors had been in tanneries all over the world but the general consensus was that this JBS plant was by far the most advanced seen so far. Setting New Standards is the only phrase which does justice to this facility.