Textile Insight

Textile Insight November 2017

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IN THE MARKET | SYFA CONFERENCE Finding Opportunity in Changing Times textileinsight.com Examples of New Ways of Doing Business by Forward-Thinking Textile Makers. By Trish Martin rue to form, the Synthetic Yarn & Fiber Association (SYFA) put together a wide variety of interesting speakers that drew a full house for its Fall 2017 Conference held in Charlotte, October 26-27. New SYFA president, Machell Apple, opened the event with comments about new ways of doing business and embracing innovation, in keeping with the Conference theme of "Tools for Transformation in Textiles." The NC-based Association demonstrated its ability to think out- side of the box by inviting Ronnie L. Bryant, CEO of the Charlotte Regional Partnership, to share with the audience an update on Charlotte's recent bid for Amazon's second headquarters. For the many North Carolina business people in the audience, the Amazon bid was top-of-mind and extremely relevant. Bryant described the association's innovative regional approach to economic development, which focuses on the shared resources of 16 counties surrounding Charlotte rather than on just the city itself. That's because, according to Bryant, "companies don't care about county lines." He shared the high-energy Amazon pitch that the organization prepared, including a locally pro- duced movie showcasing the many benefits the region has to offer a Seattle-based company. Sunshine, for example. Here's a link to the video: https://youtu.be/8s1-0khtLps Harold Hill, president of Glen Raven Technical Fabrics, built on the transformation theme with his recounting of Glen Raven's makeover from a textile mill to a global, design-driven company. Glen Raven used proven tactics as well as some that were not so traditional to make the shift. The Glen Raven trans- formation started years ago with an international acquisition strategy that expanded the company's presence around the world and diversified their markets. Glen Raven then worked on a corporate perspective shift from its historical commodity orientation to one focused on brands, design, and marketing. The management team at Glen Raven recognized that organiza- tional changes were necessary to support the business's global scope and develop innovations for their new brand positions. Hill described how Glen Raven tapped into the brainpower of the company's Millennials to figure out how to best support innovation and effective risk taking. Cross division training, mentorships, continuing education, and new committees were all implemented to help turn great ideas into reality. Having a Vision for Success Techmer PM, a leading supplier of colors and additives to the fiber industry, also found itself creating drastically new business capabilities when the company searched for ways to improve color collaboration with clients. Techmer learned how to design software in order to create TechmerVision, a new computer- based tool that helps product developers translate their design inspirations into specific colors that can be communicated with much less subjectivity. For example, a photograph of a pond with water lilies can be instantly converted into a palette of defined colors. The designer can work with the palette in a variety of ways including trying out colors on a library of stock and custom photos. Subjective conversations about making colors "richer," "more vibrant," or "brighter" can be transformed into objective RGB color formulas and Pantone color matches. Sara Beatty of the National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) closed the day with a recap of transformations at the legislative level brought about by the new administration. Rather than multilateral agreements like TPP, the NCTO expects to see more bilateral agreements, such as one with Japan. NAFTA is in its fifth round of renegotiation and NCTO is working to tighten up exceptions that are detrimental to U.S. companies, such as Tariff Preference Levels (TPLs) and the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill. The Berry Amendment is also being revised to eliminate harmful provisions for the U.S. textile industry. What else can textile companies anticipate with regard to trade agreements and other regulatory issues? "Expect uncertainty," Beatty advised. As the SYFA speakers confirmed, companies that look for the opportunities in that uncertainty, refuse to be bound by history, and transform in unexpected ways to take advantage of new possibilities will be the ones who do well in the ever- evolving textile industry. O NCTO U.S. Textile Industry 2016 Facts and Figures Total shipments $74.4B Fourth largest exporter at $26.3B Two-thirds of exports went to Western Hemisphere free trade partners Textile supply chain employs 565,000 people One textile job supports three additional jobs in a community Makes more than 8,000 items for the US Military World leader in textile R&D Source: NCTO.org What else can textile companies anticipate with regard to trade agreements and other regulatory issues? "Expect uncertainty," Sara Beatty NCTO.

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