The prospects for Russian footwear production were discussed at a round table in the press center of Rossiyskaya Gazeta on September 23, 2008. The relevance is clear: it is difficult to compete with legal imports, and an attempt to withstand the dumping onslaught of counterfeit products puts manufacturers on the brink of ruin. And what is typical, all the problems are still outside the zone of influence of shoe companies - customs regulation, the population's ability to pay, the lack of infrastructure for raw materials and components. Where is the exit?
Text: Galina Kuznetsova
According to Natalya Tsvetotskaya, General Director of the Main Step company, the development of the industry is restrained by the low solvency of Russians. High-quality products are not affordable, domestic children's shoes are no exception and also do not fall into the lowest price group.
Director of the Russian Agency for the Support of Small and Medium-Sized Businesses (SMEs) Viktor Ermakov believes that today's legislation in the field of small and medium-sized businesses enables shoemakers to produce competitive products. “A large enterprise can go for the downsizing and use all the preferences of small business. This gives the manufacturer the opportunity to ensure the release of a quality product. But all this will work subject to normal competition, ”he explained. Namely, it is not yet in Russia, since imports remain "gray." As a way to solve this problem, Viktor Ermakov proposed using a European approach to market regulation. However, this is not a panacea - because Europeans themselves do not have agreement on their regulators. The September discussion on anti-dumping is the best evidence of this (see the article. “Anti-dumping: to be continued” in this issue). As well as in the USA, for several years Congress discussed the establishment of an 30 percentage duty on Chinese goods, but abandoned this idea, carefully examining the potential effect.
It is clear that “gray” imports and counterfeiting will remain relevant topics for a long time to come. At least it’s nice that there was some shift in emphasis at the round table: instead of fighting counterfeit, they started talking about protection against poor-quality imports. Thus, the abstract process has a very specific goal, which will lead to concrete actions (in any case, I really want to hope for that).
Alexander Karpov, First Deputy Head of the Department for Support and Development of Small Business in Moscow, said that the sixth small business support program has been implemented in Moscow. Now the concept of the program is being developed on 2010 - 12. The current program provides for financial support for small enterprises in the acquisition of equipment and components, guarantees for loans from commercial banks and interest rate subsidies for loans. Property support is also being discussed: the allocation of land for the acquisition of real estate by small enterprises.
However, despite the numerous city programs for supporting small business and the shoe industry, for example, in Moscow, according to Karpov, it is difficult to develop. It is necessary to formulate production and sales management in a different way, to pay attention to research and development, the development of new products.
In addition, Karpov is sure that the issue of training and retraining of professional personnel is an acute issue for the industry. The failure in secondary vocational education, formed over the past 15 years, now makes itself felt. The official said that they were ready to go abroad for experience to use their educational technologies, and ideally send our entrepreneurs to study there. In addition, the Moscow government is now discussing compensation of 75% of the cost of training businessmen under the MBA program.
Aleksandr Karpov was hurt by one of the most painful places - for all good ideas to work, entrepreneurs should be a single business community, but for now, shoe makers live and work separately.
Ralf Ringer CEO Andrei Berezhnoy, speaking about the prospects for production in Moscow and the regions, said that regional specialists lacked energy and skills, while in Moscow people are ready to work quickly. At the same time, all that the business really needs, and what it cannot do on its own, is to ensure an economically balanced world. And the rest - to learn managers, solve certification issues - a business can do it itself.
Naturally, the participants compared the Russian shoe market with the foreign ones in order to understand how they are developing, what methods and tools work for them: “Why small manufacturers in Russia cannot compete, but in Italy they can. This is a question. What are we stupider than Italians? Can’t we make our work? ”
Aleksey Kistenev, President of the Non-Profit Partnership for Support of Retail Shoe Companies Krug, believes that small industries provide higher motivation for workers, and a large number of small enterprises create not only very fierce competition, but also give rise to fashion. Thanks to which Italy manages to stay afloat.
In fact, the Italian shoe business can be considered small quite conditionally. Indeed, most Italian factories are not much different from a residential building (by the way, sometimes the factory owner does live on the top floor). Factories are very compact, there are really few workers, a lot of manual labor, production volumes are not millions. But!
Marketing, public relations, government relations, advertising - everything exists at two much larger levels - regional and federal.
In each shoe province (Brenta, Marche, Vigevano) there is a consortium of shoe manufacturers that provides the beginning of foreign trade activities, resolves customs issues, lobbies the interests of shoe makers with regional authorities, works with regional chambers of commerce. Each shoe province has its own design school, which provides the company with personnel - both primary education and continuing education courses.
After each MICAM exhibition, regional consortia, together with ICE, organize buyer's trips to regions where entrepreneurs have the opportunity to get acquainted with the work of factories, make orders directly at factories or at presentations. Regional consortia are preparing companies to participate in foreign exhibitions, conducting their own promotional programs.
At the national level, there is an even larger structure - the Italian Shoe Manufacturers Association (ANCI), which similarly solves all issues related to the support of manufacturers and foreign economic activity, only at a different level - ministries and European legislative bodies. ANCI’s tasks include a transnational advertising campaign of not specific brands, but Italian shoes as a whole (the program is being developed for several years, now it is under the motto Golden Italy, before that - I love Italian shoes), and preparing companies for participation in exhibitions , and the organization of their own presentations abroad, and the conduct of global marketing research, and the search for certain development vectors.
At the same time, shoe companies are usually included in regional and national shoe unions.
That is, in fact, it turns out that at the national level, as exporters, Italian companies act at the level of reputable corporations and powerful sports giants, therefore it is incorrect to talk about small business as a development model, a large state machine is behind this small business.
What truly admires the Italian approach to the production and sale of shoes.
1. System. Italians initially expect that they will not have to exist on their own, but will have to be part of the shoe community.
2. A system in which elements exist at different levels of government.
3. A system in which elements existing at different levels of power are synchronized with each other.
4. A system in which elements existing at different levels of power, synchronized among themselves, are subject to a consistent policy (just look at their lobbying for anti-dumping duties).
What of this can or cannot we repeat? Externally - we have almost everything the same.
There are federal associations - the National Shoe Union, the Russian Union of Tanners and Shoemakers. There are government relations - we have a CCI, we have an OPORA of Russia, with which the NLB works closely. RSKO cooperates with the Roslegprom Association; there are opportunities to defend the interests of shoe companies in the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade and the Ministry of Industry and Energy. In each shoe center (Moscow, St. Petersburg, Rostov-on-Don, Novosibirsk) there are universities, there are schools (not touching on the issue of quality of education, now we are just talking about the structure).
There are no regional associations of shoe companies. There is no general marketing - neither in the regions, nor at the center level. There is no synergy.
Again, a small but characteristic difference in emphasis.
Italian manufacturers speak about good footwear simply by stating the fact: "We make excellent footwear." Our manufacturers say about good footwear: "Very good footwear, if you don't look at the label, no one even thinks what has been made in Russia, outwardly - pure Europe." It is clear that not everyone says so, but the majority speaks so, which determines the general direction of development. It is not competition that gives rise to Italian profits and the Italian status of trendsetters, not a large number of small businesses, but synergy - a real union of a really large number of very small companies and state support.
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