TBS group inaugurates of TBS Sole Technology Centre

11:24 | 14/06/2018
On May 11, 2018, TBS group officially inaugurated the TBS Sole Technology Centre and the R&D Centre for Sole Manufacturing in Song Than 3 Industrial Park, Binh Duong, aiming to capitalise on the growth potential of the sole manufacturing market, which is largely held by FDI enterprises.
tbs group inaugurates of tbs sole technology centre
TBS group is working hard to catch up with global sole producers

These centres will focus on researching, developing, and supplying types of soles for TBS’s shoe manufacturing division, as well as researching and supplying compound materials for the sole manufacturing industry in general (from combining raw materials to manufacturing semi-finished products used for compressed soles or EVA phylon).

Answering the footwear industry’s problems of material localisation

Currently, although Vietnam is among the three biggest footwear manufacturers in the world and ranked second among footwear exporters, the added-value in Vietnamese footwear products is still modest because the localisation rate of raw and auxiliary materials for domestic production is not high.

tbs group inaugurates of tbs sole technology centre

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the localisation rate of the footwear industry has improved, but only reached 50 per cent and many materials require high-technology, including shoe soles, which is still a problem.

With determination and an attitude that says "If the world can do this, we can do this for sure," Nguyen Duc Thuan, chairman of TBS Group, has set the target of mastering the technology of the fashion industry. Thus, focusing on the development of shoe sole technology is a great strategy for TBS to fully master technology in the footwear industry, contributing to domestic enterprises' initiative in domestic raw materials.

According to statistics from Vietnam Leather, Footwear and Handbag Association, a pair of soles occupies 15-25 per cent of the value of sports shoes, depending on the type of technology. The ownership of shoe sole technology will help bring added value to the shoe industry.

With the sole factory built in 2002, TBS has mastered the technology of producing rubber soles, EVA phylon. With the expansion of TBS Sole Technology's existing two factories, TBS will focus on research, development, and supply of a new line of sports shoes with IP Technology (injection phylon—a technology injecting material directly into the mold) and new compound materials for soles to meet the needs of the world and catch up with the development trends of the domestic and foreign footwear industries, especially soles for sports shoes.

TBS Sole technology and challenges for technology development

With a total area of 113,890 square metres, as well as advanced equipment and technology, TBS Sole Technology Centre is capable of supplying 32 million pairs of finished products, including EVA phylon, liner, cup insole, IP products, and about 20 million products of other materials, including compound, which will contribute about 20 per cent of TBS group’s sales.

tbs group inaugurates of tbs sole technology centre

In order to do this, equipping advanced technology and equipment is not enough—TBS group has been building a team of technicians who are knowledgeable in soles production technology because such skilled personnel is currently too low to meet the demand of about 700 million pairs of sport shoes per year in Vietnam. This is a very specific industry where most FDI factories, including joint ventures, do not intend to transfer technology to local factories.

This team is developed from practical experience and is sent by TBS group to train and participate in many international programmes. From the establishment of the first TBS sole factory in 2002, 16 years of experience is still relatively short compared to that of large corporations who build on more than half a century of experience such as Pou Chen, Taekwang, and Hwasung, but the continuous efforts and especially the fast access to new technology are the most valuable sources of capital for investment in TBS Sole Technology Centre.

However, these are not one-sided advantages. There are many immediate and long-term challenges, especially the rapid change of technology that shortens product lifecycles; the rapid development of 4.0 technology which reduces production costs, the increasing demand from import markets, and especially environmental protection standards which easily knock down any factory with investment in technology without long-term vision.

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