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Visiting Bata Factory in Jakarta, Indonesia

Visiting Bata Factory in Jakarta, Indonesia

Remember I blog about the Bata Shoe Singapore Spring Summer Preview earlier in March?

I was one of the four top voted bloggers who won a trip to Jakarta, Indonesia to visit one of the Bata factory in the region to see how their shoes are produced. The other three bloggers are William, Regina and Rita:

Me with my travel group, in front of the Bata Factory Store beside the factory itself

Me with my travel group, in front of the Bata Factory Store beside the factory itself

I was quite excited about this trip because I like visiting factories.

We take many of the things around us for granted. For every little object surrounding us, someone, somewhere has to design, produce and ship them to where we are. Take a pair of Bata shoes for example. They are pretty reasonably priced, usually under S$50 for non leather shoes. Where do they come from? Who made them? How did they arrive here in Singapore?

Like most of my peers, I grew up wearing Bata school shoes. For this trip, I got the rare opportunity to visit one of their factories myself and witness how Bata shoes are produced.

Related Post:  Crowning Stroke: Tee-Shirt Design Competition

This is not a tourist-oriented showcase factory like the Nissin noodle factory I visited in Japan or the Nestle Caille chocolate factory in Switzerland – it is the real deal. Paying tourists won’t get to do this visit, which makes it all the more special.

I took lots of photos at the factory. You can see all of them in this public facebook album I posted. Here are some selected photo to narrate the shoe production processes:

I see the Indonesians are particular with auspicious numbers too

I see the Indonesians are particular with auspicious numbers too

Bird's eye view of one portion of the factory

Bird’s eye view of one portion of the factory

Me, standing by the window overlooking the factory floor

Me, standing by the window overlooking the factory floor

Friendly bata staff at work

Friendly bata staff at work

We met the factory manager in their boardroom

We met the factory manager in their boardroom

This is the best-selling shoes produced in this factory for the domestic market

This is the best-selling shoes produced in this factory for the domestic market

Swanky Angry Birds' shoes, produced for export

Swanky Angry Birds’ shoes, produced for export

The guy with white hair is a management staff, going about his round for inspection

The guy with white hair is a management staff, going about his round for inspection

I took home a pair of these leather loafers - super comfortable

I took home a pair of these leather loafers – super comfortable

Machine to shape the loafers

Machine to shape the loafers

Manualling pressing the leather pieces into shape

Manualling pressing the leather pieces into shape

Cutting the leather

Cutting the leather

Closer look at the cutting of the leather

Closer look at the cutting of the leather

The sewing line

The sewing line

Close up of the sewing work

Close up of the sewing work

Glueing the in soles

Glueing the in soles

The two head honchos in the factory

The two head honchos in the factory

Inside the quality control (QC) room

Inside the quality control (QC) room

A bata staff fixing a pair of shoes to one of the machine for testing

A bata staff fixing a pair of shoes to one of the machine for testing

Soles stretching test

Soles stretching test

Walker test

Walker test

Glueing station

Glueing station

Productivity tracking

Productivity tracking

Borrrowing Obama's catchphrase

Borrrowing Obama’s catchphrase

Heating the soles

Heating the soles

Cobbling the heated soles and shoes together

Cobbling the heated soles and shoes together

Adding final touches

Adding final touches

Non-toxic water based adhesive is used in this bata factory. Hence there is no funky smell that gets you high.

Non-toxic water based adhesive is used in this bata factory. Hence there is no funky smell that gets you high.

Now we shift to another factory building where all the packing is done

Now we shift to another factory building where all the packing is done

Bright plastic recyclable boxes are used in packaging for the domestic market

Bright plastic recyclable boxes are used in packaging for the domestic market

Lots of lots of bata shoes, ready to be shipped out

Lots of lots of bata shoes, ready to be shipped out

Bata staff at work, packing shoes

Bata staff at work, packing shoes

White bata school shoes spotted

White bata school shoes spotted

Machine for making Angry Bird shoes

Machine for making Angry Bird shoes

Completed Angry Birds shoes

Completed Angry Birds shoes

Waste treatment

Waste treatment

Hard at work clearing the waste in the factory

Hard at work clearing the waste in the factory

Spotted lots of these Indonesia best-selling bata shoes

Spotted lots of these Indonesia best-selling bata shoes

Storeroom for rolls of leather

Storeroom for rolls of leather

Another smaller production building

Another smaller production building

Colourful bata leather shoes

Colourful bata leather shoes

The factory is really huge and took us a while to move around

The factory is really huge and took us a while to move around

Welcome to the Bata factory

Welcome to the Bata factory

We move to the transportation building

We move to the transportation building

Creative guy on a hammock

Creative guy on a hammock

Loading of the boxes of shoes for transportation to local stores or for export

Loading of the boxes of shoes for transportation to local stores or for export

Inside the warehouse

Inside the warehouse

All the shoes you need for multiple lifetimes

All the shoes you need for multiple lifetimes

Crazy amount of shoes in the warehouse

Crazy amount of shoes in the warehouse

Stock-taking to ensure all items are accounted for

Stock-taking to ensure all items are accounted for

I don't think I can last a day doing this guy's job

I don’t think I can last a day doing this guy’s job

This station seems to be most difficult

This station seems to be most difficult

William learing to glue a sole

William learing to glue a sole

William glueing

William glueing

Regina learning to apply glue to the shoes

Regina learning to apply glue to the shoes

Group shot with the factory manager before we head off

Group shot with the factory manager before we head off

I love bata

I love bata

Are you familiar with these brands sold in the Bata factory store?

Are you familiar with these brands sold in the Bata factory store?

Kids' shoes and flip flops

Kids’ shoes and flip flops

Men's footwear

Men’s footwear

Despite the low prices of Bata shoes, the factory I visited was not a sweatshop operation. The workers work in safe conditions and the factory managers told us the workers are all union protected.

Related Post:  Bata Shoe Singapore Spring Summer Preview

Nonetheless, the work in the factory is still repetitive, manual labour. I definitely cannot imagine myself wearing a gas mask, working in the plastic shoes moulding section for even a day. I am too pampered in my day job as it is.

What I did takeaway from this trip is a good dose of humility and an appreciation for all the hard work and dedication others have to put in in another part of the world to present me with a pair of reasonably-priced, quality Bata shoes.

Group dinner with my travel group before heading back Singapore

Group dinner with my travel group before heading back Singapore

Visiting a Bata shoe shop no longer feels the same way for me. I actually feel closer to the brand, after having done the factory tour! 🙂

About The Author

alvinology

Alvin is a marketer by day and blogger by night. He is a 100% geek who spends too much time surfing the web.

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