A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by S A T R A's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from S A T R A is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles


Highlighting best practice
Highlighting best practice
24 | SATRA
Chief Executive John Hooker
SATRA production efficiency
systems reduce waste
SATRA has been established for 100 years and enjoys
an enviable reputation as the world’s leading scientific
research organisation for the footwear and leathergoods
industries. It has amassed a wealth of knowledge and expertise
and produced and delivered many innovative products and
services that have become widely accepted within industry. As
a non-profit distributing organisation, any surplus income is fed
back into the business to further develop its facilities for the
benefit of companies using its technical services. Chief Executive
John Hooker elaborates.
Today we support the whole footwear and leathergoods supply chain,
encompassing material and component supply, manufacture, import and export,
sourcing, distributing, wholesale and retail. Our knowledge bank and experience
built up over the last century provides an unparalleled resource to the industry,
whether it be problem solving, training and advice, quality assurance assistance,
legislative compliance, provision of specialist test equipment or factory process
management. We still describe ourselves as a research and technology organisation
and are proud of our research programme that delivers new machinery and
manufacturing process improvements, used by most shoemakers today. Particularly
important are our SATRA test methods and guidelines that are written by our
scientific team and which provide authoritative guidance on whether a material or
product is suitable for any given application.
»Chief Executive: John Hooker
»Established in 1919
»Based in UK, Ireland and
»Services: International product
research, testing and supply
chain quality
»No. of employees: 200
The science behind foot sizing
Lasts, fitting and comfort have
traditionally been major topics of
research. In the 1930s, we developed
our first commercial foot and last
measuring device, which was exported
around the world. Since the late
1940s and periodically since, our
technologists have conducted foot
sizing surveys in Europe and other
parts of the world. More recently, we
have produced
Global Foot Dimensions
– a 300-page report concluding a
four-year research project utilising 3D
scanning technology to capture and
assess data on thousands of feet in
the UK, the USA and China. These
locations were chosen predominantly
because many SATRA member
companies are manufacturing products
for these important markets. This is
probably the most comprehensive
publication of its kind anywhere in the
world, and clearly shows demographic
foot shape differences and how feet
have changed over the years. This is
enabling shoemakers to improve sizing
and comfort in their products.
Slips, trips and falls make up the
majority of accidents in most countries,
so walking research has been a long-
term interest. Our investigations into
gait and slip resistance have their
beginnings in a programme which
started in 1936. Today, we are the
world leader in slip technology and our
STM 603 test machine and the SATRA
TM144 test method underpin most of
the world’s footwear and flooring slip
testing and soling development work.
At the top of the world
SATRA is perhaps better known by
the general public for developing the
boots worn by members of the 1953
British Mount Everest expedition in
which Edmund Hillary and Tenzing
Norgay successfully reached the
summit of the world’s highest peak
on 29th May. The SATRA boots were
a first in high altitude climbing in that
they were designed with innovative
materials that provided a lightweight
and comfortable build with adequate
insulation to prevent frostbite. From
an industry perspective, one of
SATRA’s most important technological
contributions to the footwear industry
was the development of the moist heat
setting process towards the end of
the 1960s. This process revolutionised
shoemaking by enabling the shape of
a shoe to be set in minutes rather than
the hours or days it took previously to
avoid distortion. SATRA’s moist heat
setting process won a Queen’s Award
for Industry. Other important work
relating to adhesion of rubber soles
and the development of new materials
was also undertaken around this time.
Much of the work in the 1970s, 80s
and 90s involved shoe engineering,
with projects conducted to investigate
the stresses and strains on footwear
during wear. An emphasis was laid
on whole shoe evaluations and tests,
the latter leading to the invention of
equipment to conduct realistic wear
trials without the need for human
subjects. Our engineers also carried
out early computer-aided design
work during this period. The use of
computers and electronics also saw us
develop an upper material management
system – SATRASumm – along with
pattern scanners, stock control and
Early slip research at
Today, we are
the world
leader in slip
Highlighting best practice
Highlighting best practice
26 | SATRA
planning systems, as well as labour cost
control systems to maximise the use of
expensive materials and reduce waste.
This continues today.
Continuing our development
We have concentrated on further
developing whole shoe test methods
and increasingly sophisticated test
machines to assess the performance
of fully made-up products. Changes
brought about by globalisation of
the footwear industry in the 1990s
required that even greater emphasis
needed to be placed on supply chain
management and quality assurance.
We have responded, and our training,
accreditation and quality assurance
programmes are used in many member
companies in the 70-plus countries in
which we currently work. Our teams
of technologists travel regularly to
member factories across the globe.
We have also developed several
hundred test methods for footwear
components and whole shoes, and
these are used globally, underpinned
by our test equipment made in our UK
manufacturing facility.
With members based around the
world, many of which we visit regularly,
SATRA today has a truly global reach.
We encompass the entire footwear and
leathergoods supply chain – including
designers, component suppliers,
tanners, manufacturers, sourcing
companies, brand owners, distributors
and retailers. We have colleagues in
key manufacturing areas around the
world, including Europe, Asia, North
America, South America, Australia
and the Middle East to provide local
support. In addition to our UK facilities,
we have also established a fully
temperature- and humidity-controlled
laboratory complex in Dongguan,
China, to ensure that we remain close
to the major manufacturing sites.
Technical experts from our laboratories
in the UK and China travel the world
to deliver training, provide consultancy
advice, evaluate test laboratories and
other in-factory facilities, and install
production efficiency systems. One of
the important challenges ahead will be
to help our customers move towards
sustainable production, including
minimising waste and pollution,
reducing the use of materials and
chemicals considered hazardous to
health and improving manufacturing
efficiency. As part of this, and as well
as specific projects, SATRA will be
central to encouraging sustainability
education and discovery. Much has
changed in the last 100 years and,
no doubt, will continue to change
going forward. SATRA remains true
to its founding principles of investing
in people, knowledge and facilities
to continue to benefit industry in
the entire
footwear and
supply chain
Recognised and
respected as the home
of footwear research
and testing


This article was sponsored by S A T R A. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss

Even by the standards of the day –this has been one of the most exciting and unpredictable years in British politics.

The leadership election we’ve just seen marks a huge moment in our country’s history. This government is taking a decisive new direction, embracing the opportunities of Brexit and preparing our country to flourish outside the EU.

As international trade secretary, I’ll be driving forward work on the free trade agreements that are going to be a priority for the government. Free trade isn’t just an abstract concept bandied around by technocrats. It is crucial for a strong economy and for the ability of families to make ends meet. Free trade benefits people in every part of our country, as British firms export to new markets and people doing the weekly shop have access to a wider choice of goods at lower prices.

The essence of free trade is in the title: freedom. It’s about giving people the power to exchange their goods without heavy government taxation or interference. Commerce and free exchange are the engine room of prosperity and social mobility. I’m determined to tackle the forces who want to hold that back.

One of my priorities is agreeing an exciting new free trade deal with the US, building on the great relationship between our two countries and the Prime Minister and US President. But I’ll also be talking to other partners including New Zealand, Australia and fast-growing Asian markets.

And with the EU too, we want a friendly and constructive relationship, as constitutional equals, and as friends and partners in facing the challenges that lie ahead – a relationship based on a deep free trade agreement. Our country produces some of the world’s most successful exports, and the opportunity to bring these to the rest of the world should make us all excited about the future. It is this excitement, optimism and ambition which I believe will come to define this government.

For too long now, we have been told Britain isn’t big or important enough to survive outside the EU – that we have to accept a deal that reflects our reduced circumstances. I say that’s rubbish. With the right policies in place, we can be the most competitive, free-thinking, prosperous nation on Earth exporting to the world and leading in new developments like AI. To do that, we’ll give the brilliant next generation of entrepreneurs the tools they need to succeed. Since 2015, there has been a staggering 85 per cent rise in the number of businesses set up by 18 to 24 year olds – twice the level set up by the same age group in France and Germany. We’ll help them flourish by championing enterprise, cutting taxes and making regulation flexible and responsive to their needs.

As we do that, we’ll level up and unite all parts of the UK with great transport links, fibre broadband in every home and proper school funding, so everyone shares in our country’s success.

2019 has been the year of brewing economic and political revolution. 2020 will be the year when a revitalised Conservative government turbo charges the economy, boosts prospects for people across the country, and catapults Britain back to the forefront of the world stage.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss
Secretary of State for International Development