With 47 years of service in the same company, Alex Edgar knows well how working in the tanning industry has changed. He started with Lang, UK-based company of British group Scottish Leather Group (SLG) in 1975. Since then, he has been working as a fleshing and splitter technician. Today, when the company is celebrating 150 years of activity, he is close to half a century of service in his role, and is thus able to offer a unique testimony regarding the changes that the segment underwent, as well as what remained similar. “I always had fun at work: the company is a real family for me”. How can such loyalty be explained? “People here stay for a long time; I even see it with young people that start and grow in their role”.
SLG celebrated Lang’s 150 years of activity (in photo on the left, the inside) with a ceremony held inside the Chivas site, in Paisley. It’s a site acquired in 2020, as part of the 13-million-pounds investment package used for technologies and machinery. To cut the cake, the group’s management involved one if the last hires (who entered in 2021 and is the son of an ex-employee). Together with Edgar, this ex-employee has the longest tenure recorded at the company (the two of them in the photo on the right).
How the working in tanning has changed
“The process has changed radically since I started working – says Edgar to Scottish Business News –. Obviously, these is a lot more technology than back then. Many of the manual activities we used to do have been automized, which is great. The actual heavy-lifting activities have been reduced to a minimum. Even with this technology, the experience of the technician remains important: because nothing can substitute human touch”. Innovation didn’t impact just the quality of work but also the quantity of produced. “From 1975 to 2022, thanks to technology, from – concludes Edgar -, we have doubled our production capacity. It’s incredible to see how far our products end up”.