With nearly 90 years of making lasts for the footwear industry under its belt, Jones & Vining has seen vast changes — from local production shifting overseas and speed-to-market pressures to material innovations. The American manufacturer — also a maker of inserts, midsoles and outsoles — is now changing with the times again, thanks to the influx of new technology.
Here, the company’s VP of international sales, Frank Roppolo, reveals how the firm plans to remain a cut above the rest.
1. What are your clients asking for at the moment?
Frank Roppolo: “They’re still looking for lightweight materials but now they’re looking for recycled products. They’re looking for products that add value and, as always, they’re looking for low price.”
2. What’s the biggest technological development in your industry?
FR: “Automation is the newest technology out for manufacturing footwear. It is going to be the future, for not just ‘speed factories’ but also for all general shoe manufacturing taking place around the world. What’s going on right now is that more automation is necessary to keep shoe manufacturing in countries that are losing their manufacturing business to places with lower cost of labor.”
Jones & Vining has nearly a century’s worth of experience in