Following Zao Russkaya Kozha’s ISO 9001-2000 certification by TÜV Thüringen in September, the Russian tanners are beginning to reap the benefits. They are only the second tannery in Russia to be awarded the certification and this has already made the company more competitive on the world market.

In order to meet the stringent ISO standards, customer service became one of the tannery’s most important goals. The tannery’s business processes and management structure underwent significant changes and personnel were sent on quality management training courses. The company also introduced a new programme aimed at continuous improvement in all areas of the business.

With Russia’s forthcoming accession into the WTO, the accreditation means that it is easier for the tannery to win international contracts compared with the other Russian companies who do not meet the ISO standards. ‘Our customers feel confident because they know our quality management is based on internationally accepted standards’, says Vitaly Selivanov.

The certification also provides banks and other investors more security when dealing with the tannery and gives the company more prominence in terms of marketing, advertising and sales strategies. The tannery is also starting to reduce production costs by streamlining or closing some of the management’s less-efficient operations.