A fresh approach to supply chain co-operation will become increasingly vital for the long-term development of the textile industry, Mr. Loek de Vries, Chief Executive Officer of the Dutch technical textile specialist, Royal Tencate, said at the first ITMA-ITMF World Textile Summit in Barcelona, Spain this month.
In a report by the World Textile Information Network, Mr. de Vries said: “It is only through a shared vision of value chain management that we as an industry will be able to create our own competitive edge. Slowly but surely, the production-dominant approach will disappear from the value chain and be replaced by a market-oriented way of operating. Openness, transparency, co-creation and the sharing of knowledge will be central to this, with the value chain becoming ever more efficient.”
De Vries said that innovation in the textile industry is increasingly being driven by demands created by seven major long-term consumer-driven trends: ageing; individualisation; globalisation; urbanisation; sustainability; financial and public debts; and the limited availability of raw materials.
He picked out digital technology as a key example of how to respond to such trends.
“Individualisation and also sustainability call for new processes, like digitalisation,” he explained. “The digital printing and digital finishing of textile substrates will soon be the norm, because it enables the industry to react faster at market needs.”
He added: “The textile industry needs advanced production technologies such as inkjet and nano technology in order to cope with the ever occurring need to reduce costs.”
In 2008 TenCate acquired Xennia Technology, based in the UK, to make inkjet technology fully suitable for finishing technical textiles, and a prototype for a continuous finishing process was demonstrated at the beginning of 2010.
De Vries noted several examples of the effectiveness of the technology, such as the Vishal Fashion factory in India, where the Xennia Osiris inkjet machine finishes a staggering 2,500 sq metres of textiles an hour. “The competitive edge of this machine is mass customisation,” he said. “Reaction speed to new fashion trends is unbeatable compared to traditional process technologies.”
Question: Is the US textile industry positioned to react promptly to changes in supply chain focus?