Ever since Walter Lebach founded Sadesa in Buenos Aires, Argentina 78 years ago, the company has been making a name for itself as one of the country’s most successful exporters of leather. The company began as a rawhide exporter, concentrating its trading operations in Europe, and today is one of the largest leather manufacturers in the world. Specializing in high-quality bovine leather that’s used to manufacture footwear, leather goods, and upholstery, Sadesa delivers innovation, quality, service, and value on a sustainable basis.
Having been granted several awards for its sustainable leather production methods, Sadesa is well known for its socially responsible practices. All of its plants treat their effluents to fully comply with local and international environmental regulations. It uses state-of-the-art technology in its drums to reduce water consumption and it uses solar energy for water heating.
As a manufacturer, Sadesa has taken its sustainability practices right into its product line, where leather is often viewed as a material that promotes longevity and quality. As synthetic leathers, plastics, and other “fast fashion” materials continue to fall out of favor with today’s eco-conscious consumers, Sadesa’s products are used to make apparel, purses, and footwear that can last for years or even decades.
Shifting Logistics Strategies
Producing about 15 million square feet of high-quality leather per month, Sadesa operates from seven industrial facilities and employs 4,100 people. A supplier for many famous footwear brands, Sadesa has traditionally worked only with local freight forwarders and logistics providers.
That changed in 2019, when the company allocated a portion of its airfreight export management business to Schenker Argentina S.A. Handling about 35 tons of freight for the manufacturer in 2019, the logistics provider is managing multiple airfreight routes for Sadesa.
“Sadesa is a major exporter that transports a lot of freight volume,” said Fernando Martinez, Head of Field Sales at Schenker Argentina S.A. “We’re managing its air carrier relationships and ensuring that the company gets the capacity it needs to accommodate their weekly freight volume requirements.”
Tomas Galperin, Administration & Finance Director from Sadesa said the company selected Schenker Argentina for its worldwide logistics experience and deep knowledge of the country’s transportation networks and opportunities: “We had valued the right balance of service excellence and adequate rates that DB Schenker has offered, thus we look forward to developing this relationship further” said Tomas, “and leveraging DB Schenker’s strengths both in the local market and abroad.”
Hitting the Ground Running
As the seventh-largest producer of leather in the world, Argentina produces 715.1 million square feet of hides annually. To ensure that Sadesa’s portion of that total gets to its destinations on time, DB Schenker has taken a team approach to both negotiating airfreight rates and securing capacity for this large shipper.
“Getting Sadesa onboard as a customer took a teamwork effort that crossed all business units, as well as our national, regional, and global offices,” said Martinez. This level of teamwork is critical when working with a company that ships hundreds of containers per month and whose total airfreight is approximately 1000 tons per year.
DB Schenker manages the shipments of leather which Sadesa produces and is, in turn, used as raw material for the shoes manufactured by top sport brands. The shoes are produced in Vietnam and other Asian countries and must be delivered in a timely manner. “There’s no room to fail, as even a small deviation on the schedule would impact the production,” says Adrian Maidana, Country Head of Airfreight for Argentina. “In order to make it possible, we came into special agreements with our preferred carriers, so as to secure the capacity, even during the peak season.”
DB Schenker typically receives the goods in a truckload on a daily basis. DB Schenker must send a draft of the house airway bill (HAWB) within three hours of the shipping instructions. The HAWB must include some declarations, which in turn have to be approved by the Head Office PM Air. Finally, the cargo must fly as booked, with a weekly tracking update sent to the customer.
“When we get the instructions,” said Maidana, “our operational team literally has to hit the ground running.” The effort is well worth it. In fact, managing a customer that has traditionally only worked with local freight forwarders is a major win for DB Schenker.
DB Schenker’s regional office in Miami and its Americas’ airfreight team, for example, supported Schenker Argentina during the negotiations with carriers. Asok Kumar, DB Schenker’s Americas Head of Airfreight, has said: “It’s been a pleasure to work with our team in Argentina supporting critical discussions with our partner carriers to secure preferred capacity for our client’s shipments so they may enjoy the best possible transit times and customer service. We look forward to continuing this great business relationship with Sadesa and strengthening their supply chain even more for many years to come!” The Americas team also supported with onsite visits to Sadesa and helped develop a relationship that Martinez expects to endure through 2020 and beyond. “The whole process was new for us,” said Martinez, “and it’s proven to be a real win-win both for DB Schenker and for Sadesa.”
Oscar Pupart, Logistics Manager for Sadesa, agreed and says the new relationship has gone very well so far. “We’re happy with our decision to be using Schenker Argentina to handle these three trade routes, having in mind that DB Schenker has adapted very quickly to our special requirements and we look forward to expanding that relationship over the next few years.”