The Wonsan Leather Shoes Factory has a high profile across the country.
Its Maebongsan-brand leather shoes won many gold medals, top prizes and diplomas at national footwear shows and consumer goods exhibitions every year.
Recently, its men’s and women’s leather shoes for winter received the December 15 Medal of Quality as they are attractive, light and durable.
The factory has an unusual “feedback book”.
According to its technical staffer Paek Myong Song, the book helps them keep abreast of customer reaction to their products and improve their quality constantly.
Therefore, the secret of success of Maebongsan shoes that increase in variety and enjoy steady demand might be found in the book which has been kept since the factory underwent a modernization project:
Opinion: I bought bootees only two months ago, but the outsole has come off already.
Measure: Make exact demands and heighten a sense of responsibility in the process of inspecting glued parts.
Opinion: Children’s shoes are really durable, but the gem decorations on the ribbon easily falls off.
Measure: Develop a stronger adhesive and fix the ribbon in the uppers workshop.
Opinion: There are many winter boots for children in stock, but not all sizes. I could not find an appropriate pair for my child. I hope the factory would produce all sizes of children’s shoes.
Measure: Produce shoes of size 25 and larger.
Much effort in design
Design is an important process in developing new products.
The factory is creating a wide range of designs of shoes for all ages, varieties and seasons, said Paek Myong Song.
The design division is made up of young designers in their twenties and thirties.
They readily adopt the popular fashions of the day and scout shops in Pyongyang and Kangwon Province for public demand to decide the colours and materials for their products.
“It is important to make the colour and decorative patterns attractive at first glance,” technician Choe Il Sim said. “Even the shoes of the same shape looks very different if they have different decorations and colours.”
Relying on local materials
“One of the reasons why Maebongsan leather shoes are much sought after by the people is that they are made with locally-available materials and locally-made equipment,” said Manager Jang Sung Ho.
The factory automated the shoe production processes in an all-round way by introducing advanced facilities including automatic gumming and sewing machines and laser cutter through a mass technical innovation movement.
These machines are the outcome of the painstaking efforts of its technical staff.
Such main materials as synthetic leather, polyvinyl chloride and polyurethane adhesive are all from local factories.
Now the factory has set a new business strategy in line with the developing global trend.
“At present, health-promoting shoe liners are developed and produced in the country. Our factory can also make functional shoes by adding anti-bacterial nanomaterial to the outer rim and sole,” said the manager.