Today the Maebongsan Brand footwear produced by the Wonsan Leather Shoes Factory is in great demand. Some time ago I visited the factory for news coverage. Greeting me gladly General Manager Jang Sung Ho guided me to the designing office, where I found a discussion of designs of a type of shoe and an estimation of products going on. When I praised that the shoes were well-designed with diversified shapes and colours, Jang told me the following story.

Several years ago the shoes of the factory were not in great demand for their poor shapes, colours and weights. For this problem Jang had a heavy heart. There is a saying that a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, and it means success is preordained before production, he thought.

At that time it was generally thought that the shape, colour and pattern of shoes were a concern of some people in the technical preparation section or the designing office alone. So, the workers were satisfied with the making of shoes according to the designs. This conception had to be changed in order to make new models of shoes. In the serious discussion to solve the problem the management shared the view that the discussion of designs of the type of shoes and the estimation of products had to be the concern of the whole factory.

When the task of contriving a design of a type was raised at first, the managers as well as workers buckled down to the studies—some of them personally made shoes according to their own designs. Although their models were clumsy, they had something clever about it, and they were associated with each worker’s special merit. The examination of those shoes was done strictly to find out if they could meet needs and aesthetic taste of the people and suit the constitutional and psychological qualities of each age. Now everybody was concerned about what kind of colour and shape the people loved.

When the campaign made progress on a full scale, the employees swapped opinions and learnt from one another. In this way their technical attainments and skills improved remarkably, putting the designing on a scientific footing. Meanwhile, the zeal of the producers ran high, and they made exact demands on themselves. They strove to make their shoes the greatest possible favourite of the consumers.

Last year they contrived 250-odd designs; over 100 of them were directly introduced into the production. In the course of this an infrared lam was installed over the shoemaking flowline so as to save power and increase the intensity of adhesion 2.5 times, and a laser cutter was set at the uppers workshop. The factory also developed a foot size measuring device and realized order service. The shoes produced with their sincere effort were highly appreciated at the 27th national consumer goods show last year, and ranked high at the high-repute products and commodities exhibition hosted by the Footwear Industry Management Bureau under the Ministry of Light Industry.

General Manager Jang Sung Ho says, “When our shoes are preferentially favourite with the people, we stamp a ‘pass’ on our mind.

An article  by: Ri Chung Ho