Interview by Sigrid Tornquist
What do you think is the most significant challenge facing the specialty fabrics industry today?
I think the most important thing we need to do is to fight commoditization. If you’re not tuned in to how your company can be differentiated from other manufacturers, there’s not going to be much of a need for what you do. Finding what your company’s core strengths are and using them to differentiate your business in the eyes of your customers is what it’s all about.
You’ve worked as a consultant and as an employee for a variety of specialty fabrics clients to help them stay relevant. Is there a difference in your approach as an internal vs. an external player?
What happens with a lot of companies is that the managers don’t listen to their internal people. Once you’ve been there for a while, for some reason they think you don’t know the critical issues and often turn to a consultant who may just be reinforcing what the internal people are saying. From both a consulting standpoint and as an employee, it’s a matter of listening to all the stakeholders and consolidating their voices. As a consultant you have the fun of being in a variety of businesses and markets but lose the operational rewards of being able to start a project, build it and continue to make it grow.