This year, Bata’s Gweru factory is once again making PataPata after having regained the necessary expertise and economic conditions. There was a nominal investment involved to refurbish machinery that had been standing idle.
The revival of PataPata production has stirred excitement within the marketplace and staff alike. The team likes referring to the project as the “sleeping giant” and is enthusiastic about being able once again to meet demand. The relaunch is expected to boost volume business for Bata Zimbabwe.
The moniker “PataPata” comes from the sound these flip-flops make when worn, as they slap the floor and sole of the foot. The brand became a household name and a highly versatile shoe in Zimbabwe and southern Africa. From simple casual wear, this footwear morphed into an integral part of school uniforms and even into a fashion statement. Though ideal for summer, these flip-flops are also useful in the rainy season, and they work well as indoor slippers during the mild winters of southern Africa. Choices continue to expand: once available only in yellow, the current collection also includes green, blue and red.
After importing PataPata for the past two years, Bata Zimbabwe began domestic production in mid-January. The local and regional markets have welcomed with open arms the 30,000 pairs currently being manufactured per week. In response to demand, in mid-February the manufacturing team increased their ultimate production target to over 50,000 pairs per week.
Not only has Bata Zimbabwe embarked on a sentimental journey with this beloved product, it has stayed true to its commitment to respect communities and individuals. Through the development of additional associated business units, communities have been given the opportunity to participate in the PataPata manufacturing process. The sole drilling, strapping, cleaning and packaging have been outsourced through ABUs, creating additional jobs.
“The in-house production of the PataPata promises to change the playing field of the shoe market in Zimbabwe,” merchandising manager Moreblessing Shumba commented. “With its low entry price point, we have catered to the tough economic environment and challenged cheap imports with a good quality local product.”
Production manager Mathias Musungapasi echoed her sentiment. “The manufacturing team is excited to revive the production of the PataPata. The market demand thus far promises to keep us very busy, and we are up for the challenge.”
Thanks to the expertise of the current team, led by company manager Ehsan Zaman, efficiency and cost control are the cornerstones of this project. Not only is Bata Zimbabwe aiming to meet demand for an iconic product, it aims to do so while bringing in volume business from local and regional customers.