THIMECO, Metal-free, perfect choice for the future

Headquartered in Montebello Vicentino, THIMECO is a
tanning group boasting an exclusive joint-venture with one of the
most prominent Russian businesses.

Headquartered in Montebello Vicentino, THIMECO is a tanning group boasting an exclusive joint-venture with one of the most prominent Russian businesses.  A story started slightly before the beginning of the 2000s, yet tightly tied to a group boasting almost one hundred years of experience: this is the story of THIMECO SRL, whose headquarters – housing the offices, operational department and research center – has been located for some years in Montebello Vicentino, a town based in the Arzignano leather district, one of the world’s leading tanning clusters.

THIMECO, now acknowledged as one of the most prominent companies worldwide, was founded on November 17th, 1998, by Jour Doumler, entrepreneur and current chairman, to develop and back up the Russian tannery VKP LT from an economic, technological and quality perspective, relying on Italian quality and skills. Thanks to the economic boom experienced in those years, THIMECO SRL even managed to manufacture 7 million feet of furnishing leather per month, while currently production focuses mainly on the leather goods and footwear sectors. The joint-venture with the tannery VKP LT, based in Vjazma, results in a yearly output amounting to approximately 9 million hides. The collaboration between groups has guaranteed a steady growth, as the workforce now features 700 employees, out of which 450 working in the tannery, so as to give life, with passion and dedication, to an internationally renowned enterprise.

A constant improvement: in the 2018/2019 period, the group registered a 25% increase and, in March 2020, despite the Covid19 outbreak, the upswing reached 32%. The enterprise is one of Russia’s leading tanneries when it comes to production capacity and size, as it covers an area of 5,5 hectares, owning 12 furniture manufacturing companies and two warehouses for leather distribution based in Moscow. Right now, the Italian-Russian group exports finished hides to 12 countries, including Italy, Russia, Germany, China, Romania, Portugal, Serbia and Poland. A pivotal breakthrough dates back to 2016, when the sales department was opened in Montebello, followed by the relocation, in the same town, to larger premises, the latter further expanded with the addition of new spaces and storehouses.

The group also owns a facility in Arzignano (Vicenza province), specifically dedicated to chemicals, as well as a unit in Tuscany, in Ponte a Egole (Pisa province), another Italian leather district: the building that housed the first, historic headquarters will feature a style office, a showroom and an exhibition area.

In Montebello Vicentino, we met Davide Baldo, THIMECO’s General Manager, who started by explaining the corporate structure: “Here, we receive semi-finished hides from Russia, ready to be finished and turned into end products in line with the latest trends, monitored by experienced professionals, processed with cutting-edge machinery and with the utmost precision in order to be rapidly delivered to customers. We interact daily with the Russian partners and we visit them at least once a month. The tannery is able to manufacture specific articles according to the geographic area, as confirmed by the presence of five Indian technicians, part of our workforce, that develop ad hoc goods. In the Montebello-based facility, a key role is played by the research laboratory, where new products are created daily, in full compliance with the current regulations: our stylists, inspired by the surrounding nature, keep providing new patterns and nuances.”

How do you manage to guarantee such a prompt service to customers? Thanks to the prompt delivery service called “Speedy”, that allows to choose and purchase, either in the virtual showrooms or via the website, an ample range of articles, whose delivery is carried out within 48 hours, often the following day. This channel accounts for approximately 20% of our turnover, yet said percentage is set to further increase. It is not a mere online sale strategy, we provide the clientele with a warehouse featuring regularly over 400 thousand square meters worth of crusts, thus succeeding in fulfilling every type of demand.

Can you tell us more about your main customers? Renowned footwear and leatherware brands, since our group can provide top-quality leather. Equally strong the demand when it comes to the aeronautic sector. Our policy brings together experience and professionalism, combined with state-of-theart tanning technologies. A successful strategy, resulting in millions of square meters of leather distributed yearly worldwide. The production cycle entails a complex series of processes that enhance the employees’ skills thanks to increasingly advanced systems and significant investments in research activities. The materials are processed to develop a wide array of articles such as shoes, jackets, bags, sofas, seats and much more. We purchase hides from the most prominent farmers, getting the best sizes of animals, all bred in a natural way so as to avoid ruining the coat.

Globally speaking, the market has been focusing more and more on ecofriendly products. What is your stance on this issue? We have launched the brand THIMECO WHITE, that, being devoid of heavy metals, gives us the chance to work in a sustainable way to safeguard the planet. By means of a fully ecological process, we have made the metal-, chrome-free calfskin lining. Throughout the manufacturing cycle, we have eliminated degreasing and antibacterial substances as well as chemical derivatives, thus reducing by 80% the use of sulphide and hydrogen sulphide during the liming phase. Hence the hide is fully eco-friendly.

How do you deal with the slowdown caused by Covid19 pandemic and what are the key markets you are aiming for in the future? In the following months, we had to close down the offices, as it happened to other companies in the same sector, resulting in a marked slowdown sale-wise. However, we are confident for the upcoming months. I believe that there will a natural selection and that sound enterprises will manage to acquire new market shares. Right now, market shares are rather fluctuating, yet there is margin for growth both in the domestic market and internationally. As far as the 2019 turnover is concerned, Italy accounted for 66% of proceeds, Portugal for 19%, India and Russia for 5%, while the remaining share regarded other nations. In Portugal, we boast a strategic sales network, we would like to do the same in Spain as well, as we are opening a showroom there.