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The increasing economic growth in Kenya has encouraged the growth of the leather sector. Kenya in its long-term vision to become an industrialized middle-income country by 2030, has identified the key role that the leather sector will play.
There is a growing number of SMEs engaged in leather goods and footwear manufacturing around the country. A large number is involved in footwear manufacturing especially school shoes. This has been encouraged by local demand for affordable footwear. Even though production of leather footwear in the informal industry has increased over the years, the country’s local footwear has low market position both locally and internationally. The market share of the SME produced footwear has been attributed to low quality and poor workmanship of the products
A survey was carried out to assess the quality of leather shoes produced by SMEs in Kariokor market, Nairobi. Data was collected from 20 respondents who constituted owners and managers of footwear workshops to ascertain if they have adopted the use of quality standards in their footwear fabrication and if their products conform to any laid down quality standards. The survey was carried out using simple random sampling method. The findings showed that none of the SMEs had adopted the use of quality standards and none of them had adopted Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBs) standards. As a consequence, there was no mechanism of ensuring and maintaining conformity to footwear quality. This study recommends increased sensitization of SMEs on the importance of quality standards and quality management system in shoe fabrication.