A balancing act: the complexity of making changes and additions to product lines.
Recasens USA of Blue Bell, Pa., sells solution-dyed acrylic awning fabrics, called RECacril®, and PVC-coated polyester solar screen fabrics, called RECscreen®. Doug Dubay, national sales manager, calls the introduction of fabrics “a balancing act, because you want to stay current with color trends and designs, but it is expensive to change your collections, both for the manufacturer and, to a lesser degree, the fabricator.
“Every time we introduce a new collection, we must consult in advance with key customers, send out news releases to our customer base and prospective customers, and produce and distribute thousands of sample books or cards,” he says. “We update our RECacril collection every three to four years. The next big line change will take place in the 2018 season.
“The screen market is much more conservative in designs and colors, so changes come in the form of small introductions of colors and occasionally discontinued colors or the introduction of a new weave or shade factor,” Dubay adds.
Fabric manufacturers further need to balance the demands and desires of residential and commercial markets.
“For some customers, a specific openness factor is of primary importance, while others are more concerned with a color palette or the quality of the view through visibility,” says Jonathan Gilmore, business development manager for fabrics and fibers at Twitchell Technical Products LLC of Dothan, Ala. “Indications of quality such as duration of warranty and associated coverage offered by the manufacturer are key decision variables. For a portion of our customers, specifics such as weight, thickness and available widths can be key considerations, especially for operable systems.
“We strive to develop new items as we see niches or opportunities in the market to which we can add value and utility,” he continues. “Sometimes this is via something as simple as yearly color additions to an existing line for changing tastes. In other cases, it may be wholly new offerings for Twitchell or the market.”