Ecco Thailand opens advanced warehouse

Ecco Shoes on Wednesday 9 April 2003 inaugurated a distribution warehouse and an expansion of its production line. The opening was performed by Minister for Industry and Karl Tuysby, founder of Ecco Shoes together with Ecco (Thailand)’s Managing Director Kitti Chaiwattanatorn, Danish Ambassador Ulrik Helweg-Larsen and the Minister of Industry, Mr. Somsak Thepsutin.
     The warehouse is probably the most advanced distribution center in Thailand and the first to receive investment privileges from the Board of Investment. The entire facility is computer controlled by a system which is connected to the customers, allowing them to access the information and placing orders online any time of the day. The shoes are then picked form the shelves, packed and labeled according to their destination world wide.
     It has cost Ecco Shoes 97 mill. Baht to construct it and install the distribution system which controls it, but according to Kitti Chaiwattanatorn Ecco will earn 21 mill. baht from services of the distribution center already this year, rising to 25 mill. baht in 2004 and 26 mill. baht in 2005.
     The expansion of the production line will accommodate the growing demand expected at 3,6 mill. pairs this year.A new robot for injecting the rubber in a mould for the soles of the shoes is a new advanced machinery not seen before in Thailand. The latest expansion of the production facilities of Ecco is the fourth during the past nine years and has been assisted by additional BOI investment incentives. The increased capacity will boost weekly production from 65,000 pairs to 85,000 pairs.
     “In 2002, Ecco sold 3,2 mill. pairs of shoes of which 57,000 pairs were sold domestically,” Kitti Chaiwattanatorn says. By the end of the year, the two Ecco shops opened last year will be followed by another four to a total of six Ecco shops and the total number of outlets will almost double from 29 locations to 53 locations.
     The opening also marked the start of a new cooperation between Ecco and Thailand’s largest shoe exporter Pan Group to promote the shoe industry and produce a more competent workforce for the industry. According to Kitti Chaiwattanatorn, the first step would be to persuade Ecco and Pan Group to relocate all their production bases to Thailand to make this country the most important global hub for the shoe-making industry world wide. In South East Asia, Ecco’s first production facility was established in Indonesia. This factory has likewise been expanding steadily over the years and currently, Ecco plans to continue this expansion by install the same robot machinery at its plant there which is now installed at the plant in Thailand.
     The second project is a planned establishment of a special shoe industry college under the Department of Vocational Education to be built in Ayutthaya province where both Ecco and Pan have their factories. Ecco and Pan Group will provide some of the financial support an necessary equipment for the training as well as other support like teachers and facilitators to ensure effective training which will begin already this year.
     “Most of the students will have jobs waiting for them when they have completed the training, said Kitti Chaiwattanatorn.
     Celebrating the opening, Ecco Shoes had lined up all its thousands of employees outside the warehouse, wearing same t-shirts to commemorate the 40 year anniversary of the founding of Ecco, but all wearing different shoes – although some were indeed Ecco shoes. Especially Karl Tuysby’s speech in Danish was very long and as it was translated paragraph by paragraph into Thai the sun was baking down by the time all the speeches were finally over and they could go back to work.
     The invited guests were then shown around the new facility and the factory.

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