Fall. Dampness, dirt and road chemicals come into their own. The lack of sun increases the depressive mood in shoppers. And they come to swear at the shops. Most of the existing conflict situations in the store arise due to the quality (and most often, its lack) of shoes. At the same time, sellers are held hostage to the situation: when a buyer stands with a box of shoes at the cash register to return it, the seller can apologize, but he can in no way influence the selection of materials, the quality of tailoring or the details of accessories. By the way, return for the manufacturer is the simplest situation. Sometimes such disassembly affects not only a particular pair of shoes, but also a company's reputation. How are companies now looking to improve the quality of footwear? What do manufacturers understand by quality and what do buyers mean? Evgenia Bubnova was looking for answers to these questions.
Understand the terms
As the dictionary of terms says, “the quality of footwear is the properties of the footwear that satisfy the needs of the buyer. Quality of shoes determines its appearance, wearability, durability ”. That is, the price, even by definition, does not belong to the "factors of direct action." And practice shows that the lining in boots is painted for both 1000 rubles and 15 rubles, partly due to the fact that added value in luxury stores is not so much due to an increase in quality, but due to the name, design and service.
A more detailed quality of shoes is described by the interstate standard GOST 28371-89 “Shoes. Definition of grade ”, which applies to children's, men's and women's shoes, model and everyday. It also contains a list of critical defects that make it possible to recognize low-quality shoes:
- through damage;
- cracking, peeling, stickiness of the coating film of the shoe material;
- incorrectly located (connected) parts;
- non-smoothed seam, poor jointing;
- incorrectly placed heel;
- non-glued outsole;
- non-glued or torn lining;
- crevices between the details of the bottom of the shoe;
- Unfinished or poorly repaired damage;
- protruding mechanical fasteners;
- incorrect picking of pairs of shoes;
- instability of leather coating;
- other defects in the presence of which it is impossible to use the product for its intended purpose.
In the same GOST there is a table with indicators, the excess of which is unacceptable and indicates a defective product. For example, everyday or children's boots and half boots from the same pair can vary in height up to half a centimeter. Only a big difference will be considered a marriage. Particular attention should be paid to the rear seam, which should go exactly in the middle, the permissible displacement here is only 2-3 mm.
What are you complaining about?
We provide such detailed excerpts from official documents, because the view on the quality of shoes among consumers, sellers and manufacturers may be different. For example, sellers often do not consider the instability and soiling of the color of the top and lining for marriage, but this is unacceptable according to GOST. And the consumer has every right to take back “colorful” shoes. We have already written about possible options for sellers in such situations (see SR, #56).
Another question is how do manufacturers respond to complaints?
Do not think that they remain indifferent to the needs of those who enjoy the fruits of their labor. In addition to manufacturing laboratories, large enterprises by default have laboratories for testing finished samples and searching for new ways to improve product quality.
All manufacturers are interested in establishing direct feedback with customers. There are several such options. Traditional - communication with sellers, trips to regions, collection of statistics not only about sales, but also claims from small wholesalers. Some manufacturers are now coming out to direct communication with carriers. So, one of the major Russian manufacturers opened a hotline on quality issues, which you can call for free and share your pain. By the Quality Day, which is celebrated on November 13, the company has summarized some of the requests of this hotline. It turned out that the complaints boil down to the following: 24% say that the shoes are squeezing and rubbing. Approximately 18% of the total number of victims of quality encountered bursting seams, for 12% of those who are dissatisfied, the shoes get wet, and 3% are frozen.
That is, customers have an idea of quality coincides with the terminological. Another question is that the situation “presses and rubs” depends, among other things, on the incorrect selection of shoes (see news, SR, #70), and the legs may freeze due to poor blood circulation or due to thyroid disease. And the culture of wearing shoes is not always enough. According to Elena Vnukova, merchandiser Max Mara and Sportmax, “in Moscow, it’s a pity to wear not only designer shoes, but just ugg boots.” But they wear it. And then they bring it. Russian fashionistas turn model shoes, which are designed for rare exits, into everyday shoes.
In any case, if you want to keep the buyer, then with such moments you can work. It depends on how the seller understands the "product quality"? If this quality ends with a pair on the shelf, then he will reproach the manufacturer in everything. If he understands the “product quality” more broadly, then he will include the service when buying, that is, the question of how to correctly explain to the buyer that this shoe is not suitable for him, and how to talk about foot care.
Although now such stories are partly reminiscent of shamanistic manipulations. Otherwise, how could it turn out that the pair of ballet shoes from one well-known chain selling not the cheapest shoes that became completely unusable after 2 weeks of operation turned out to be "home slippers". Moreover, calling ballet shoes “slippers”, network representatives refused further communication.
According to an expert from the Consumer Rights Protection Society Nadezhda Prosenkova, if the packaging did not indicate that the shoes were not designed for street wear, then they should be equal in properties to ordinary shoes. And in this case, the arguments of the sellers are illegal.
In the same way as in any GOST the concept of “office shoes” is not spelled out. It is this term that has now appeared among some sellers who want to explain why the shoes get wet. Still, this is not a completely ethical business. And not beneficial for the owners: you will relieve a headache due to one pair, but throw a pebble into the loyalty garden. Circles can go far.
What determines the quality of shoes?
In my opinion, the production technology makes the weather, so technical control at the enterprise plays an important role in the issue of product quality.
In the company "Antelope" for ten years of existence have developed their own methods of product quality control.
“We have a whole department of standardization, certification and product quality,” says Marina Ryzhenko, head of the group for quality control and product standardization. - The department employs several specialists. There is a certification specialist and several technologists who monitor the quality of shoes without leaving the conveyor. After the art council approves one or another model, it is technologists who start work, they make sure that the materials from which the products are made correspond to what is written in the certificates. In our work, the human factor plays an important role, and workers on the assembly line feel that they have a certain part of the responsibility, because we work with children's shoes and children's feet. ”
Technical control can be continuous and selective. With continuous control, all processed products are subjected to verification. Sampling involves partial batch verification. According to the methods, technical control can be divided into organoleptic, instrumental, analytical and automatic.
“In our company, the shoes undergo continuous organoleptic control,” says Marina Ryzhenko, “in addition, we use automatic control methods: from 1000 pairs we send pairs for examination to the 3-5 laboratory. This amount is due to the fact that at the examination in the laboratory the shoes undergo complete destruction: they are checked for flexibility and the sole is torn off. Marriage is not only industrial, but also technological and operational. After all, any shoes should be worn. But we all have different legs and different feet, so we try to produce the middle block so that it fits as many buyers as possible. In matters of marriage, we try to be objective and always admit our guilt to the buyer when dealing with production defects. After all, any customer offended by us will never come to our stores again. Therefore, we can take responsibility for not our marriage, although not always willingly. ”
At RALF RINGER, quality control is five-step. At the entrance, the materials are controlled for compliance with GOST and TU (the geography of procurement extends from Taiwan to Brazil and includes more than 60 manufacturers of leather, soles, accessories, threads). The second stage is the control of technological operations - interoperational control:
- control of the cut of leather details of the upper shoes;
- processing of parts;
- assembly of the workpiece.
Ready-made shoes are tested for the strength of thread seams, the strength of the sole, the permanent deformation of the toe and back.
The third stage is the quality control of manufactured shoes in accordance with the requirements of scientific and technical documentation and approved samples:
- continuous control of cut details;
- continuous control of the assembly of the workpiece;
- interoperational control;
- complete control of finished shoes.
This is followed by monitoring the correct labeling and packaging of shoes, as well as monitoring the status of instrumentation.
Such a multi-stage control system minimizes the percentage of low-quality shoes that fall into stores: in the 2006 year, the company recorded 409 customer complaints, in 2007 year - 329 claims, in 2008 year - 189 claims.
Who are the judges?
The societies for independent examination have the same methods. Any examination of the quality of shoes is carried out in accordance with GOST 9289 “Shoes. Acceptance rules ”, GOST 28371“ Shoes. Grade determination ”and GOST 7296“ Shoes. Packaging. Marking. Transportation and storage. ” The most frequent address for buyers who are preoccupied with marriage and pseudo-marriage issues is at the Center for Independent Consumer Expertise (CNEC). This is one of the first consumer organizations in Russia; over the past 13 years, it has been the leading expert organization of the Russian Consumers Union.
By the way, very soon there will be more addresses for complaints from customers. In any case, the Muscovites - the Moscow government is considering opening free reception centers for consumer protection in shopping centers in the capital, where lawyers and experts can be consulted for free. The first of them - still experimental - works in the Moscow office of the Consumer Protection Society. Most complaints are made specifically with shoes that are brought here daily by more than 100 people, and in 80% of cases, customer complaints are substantiated.
But far from always, even consumer protection societies work adequately. The good intentions of private examination unions sometimes damage the company's reputation. On January 26, the magazine Demand (No. 1-2, 2009) published in the article “Where are you, shoe makers?” Conducted by ANO “RIPI” (Autonomous Non-Profit Organization “Russian Institute for Consumer Tests”) research 8 articles of men's demi-season shoes. In fact, the tests were carried out at the Testing Center TsNIIKP (Federal State Unitary Enterprise “Central Research Institute of the Leather and Footwear Industry”). The magazine “Demand” interpreted the test results as follows: all shoes (except the Belarusian brand Belwest) received a rating of “poor”. Two test samples produced in Russia, Ralf Ringer and Paris Commune, showed a significant excess of formaldehyde content. According to RIPI (published in the magazine "Demand", the newspaper "Life" and the site spros.ru) "Such shoes should be urgently removed from sale."
Upon learning of the publication in the magazine Demand, RALF RINGER conducted an internal investigation (order No.21 of February 10 of February 2009 of the year) and recalled the shoes of the indicated article from sale until the results of the investigation were received. A study protocol for shoes was studied and sent for examination to the Federal State Healthcare Institution “Center for Hygiene and Epidemiology in Moscow”, a similar pair of shoes, article 53422Счмs1, requests were made to experts.
As a result, it was found that the tested sample meets hygiene standards. That ANO “RIPI” used GOST for the assessment of footwear regarding furs and fur products, which is unlawful to use when checking shoes. That the experts of TsNIIKP unequivocally stated that the results of their assessment concern only one individual boot taken, and not the entire article as a whole, as follows from the publication in "Demand". “The research results were very much distorted. The test for the RIPI was carried out on one half pair of shoes, when at least three are selected according to GOST, ”explains Sergey Studenikin, Director General of TsNIIKP,“ therefore, the test report below says “the test report applies only to samples that have passed tests”. That is, the test report applied only to the pair of shoes that we examined. It’s incorrect to disseminate these test results to all products, and even more so to say that the phrase “withdraw from production” was spoken from the lips of our employees. ”
Knowing the laws and their rights can protect the buyer from sellers of low-quality goods, and sellers and manufacturers from unreliable buyers. In Russia, there really are a lot of low-quality and not always safe shoes for health. And if buyers will not talk about it, then sellers and manufacturers will not be able to do their job better. But otherwise, consumer protection will be complemented by the prevention of marriage and improving the quality of both one pair and the entire production and service system for customers.
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