The Long Process Toward Specialization in the Catalan Leather Industry (A)

  • Reference: SM-1593-E

  • Year: 2011

  • Number of pages: 6

  • Geographic Setting: España

  • Publication Date: Nov 4, 2013

  • Source: IESE (España)

  • Type of Document: Case

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The leather industry had had more than five centuries of history in Catalonia.Spain was incurring the risk of being sanctioned by the European Union if it didn't adhere to strict environmental standards. However, industry representatives claimed to be at a disadvantage with respect to developing countries. The case explains the technical solution implemented in the 1990s. The answer Subirá found to the environmental dilemma was to develop a joint waste water treatment plant. This plant cost €17 million and was financed with a 25% investment from the tanneries, and the rest from private bank loans. This plant was managed by Miguel Vila, who hired a young professional to help him with the duties. Furthermore, Catalan industry General Manager Jordi Conejos gave support to this plant. In addition, a technological center was also created. This case encourages students to analyze actions undertaken in the past and to assess whether those actions were sufficient.

Learning Objective

o Learning the basics of clusters: o How the focus of the cluster initiative should be on strategy and not operating efficiency. In this case, efforts have not been sufficient because they have been focused on operating efficiency. o Clusters are useful for promoting dialog and achieving change in an industry. o Analyzing the trade-off of subsidizing an industry: subsidies are not a good tool for achieving long-term competitiveness. o Analyzing how to design a change process. o Understanding the need for change on a group level. o Analyzing the importance of timing. o Understanding the importance of bringing in (external) knowledge.

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