Tannery of the Year : Asia 2011
Tannery of the Year:
BUDI MAKMUR TANNERY, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
Founded in the city of Yogyakarta in 1966,Budi Makmur is devoted to tanning small skins (goat and sheep) for gloving and shoe upper leather. The company’s remoteness from the bulk of the global leather industry has made it especially creative and resourceful in the way it runs its tanning operation.
The residents of Yogyakarta are proud of the attraction their city holds for tourists and travellers. It’s the home of stunning, ancient temples, including the famous Borobudur and Prambanan. Other claims to fame are its universities and cultural activities. “This is not an industrial city, ”explains Haryono Sutanto, chairman of Budi Makmur, “and when my father founded this tannery in 1966, it was the first in Yogyakarta, and one of the first in the whole of Indonesia. ”Now, despite its location, it is processing an average of 150,000 small skins (50% goat and 50% sheep, local and imported) every month. It is the biggest tannery in the city, with 250 employees (20% of them women), dwarfing the other fifteen or so tanneries that operate in the area.
The tannery is located next to a river, and within a residential area. The treated effluent is discharged into this river, so not only does the tannery have to maintain a high standard of effluent treatment, but also maintains a high regard for its near neighbours.
A tradition of handicraft in silver, wood and the local textile technique called Batik eventually led to Yogyakarta developing a glove-making industry, and it was to supply the glove manufacturers that the tannery came into being. Companies in the central Java city soon developed specific expertise in making golf gloves, made from small skins, and this activity continues today. Brands whose golf gloves contain Budi Makmur sheep and goat leather include Callaway, Taylor Made and Nike. Around half of all the leather golf gloves being sold in the US at the moment are made in Indonesia, and of those, between 60% and 70% are made in Yogyakarta. Finished product manufacturers in the city employ a total of around 10,000 people.
The tanning company chairman insists that these glove manufacturers and their key suppliers, including his company, are constantly trying to improve their products. Specific to the tannery, in the face of competition from synthetic materials, it has worked hard to develop washable leather, and a version of the stay-soft leather first developed by glove-leather specialist Pittards. “We always try to go one step further than the manufacturers of synthetics, ”says Haryono Sutanto. “Of course, eventually, the synthetic material manufacturers improve their products, too, but technology costs, and the investment they have to make means the price-gap between the material they can make and ours becomes narrower.”
Budi Makmur leather also ships regularly to factories run by outsource manufacturing partners that some brands have in Thailand, and that Nike has in Jakarta and in China. This is a lot of gloves, but Mr Sutanto says he has seen surveys suggesting US golfers buy an average of four gloves a year each, for different weather conditions or to have some for practice sessions on the driving-range and better ones for matches.”