How to expand into new market segments without sacrificing core products

October 1, 2017

For many custom fabricators, diversification is the name of the game. Recognizing—and seizing—opportunities to venture into new market segments can mean the difference between staying in business or (perish the thought) going under. But companies can also become too diversified, to the point where potential clients don’t have a clear idea of what’s being made …

Fibers and fabrics play a starring role in the effort to harvest kinetic energy

September 1, 2017

Back in the day, a telephone was expected to perform a limited number of functions: alert you when someone was trying to reach you and connect you to those you were trying to reach. Technology advanced and phones became more portable. The same sort of process is happening to fabrics and fibers. The possibility of …

Elissa Decker’s fabric expertise helps Moss Inc. build global growth

The properties of any fabric will be determined by the combined characteristics of its fiber, yarn, construction method, and dyeing and finishing processes,” says Elissa Decker, senior manager of materials, Moss Inc., Chicago, Ill. “It’s such an exciting time to work in the industry, because there’s a lot of performance that you can build into …

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From machines to humans: Boost the productivity of your business

Improving productivity depends on a combination of efficient employees, equipment and processes. Driving improvement in all these areas involves examining the current practices in place and making adjustments to systems, employee training, technology, equipment and tools. From small tweaks in communication processes to large technology improvements, companies are using many techniques to boost productivity. Tecsew …

The efficiencies and versatility of advanced and automated equipment are helping bring back the U.S. sewing industry

When U.S. textile jobs started to leave en masse for China and other cheap-labor countries in the 1990s, an entire industry scrambled to pick up the pieces. Companies that survived the upheaval frequently shared one common trait: adaptability. Some contract sewers courted niche non-apparel product makers, while others invested in equipment to become leaders in …

Information please: Automated reporting paves the way to productivity

In addition to reviewing in-house monthly profit and loss statements, The Dize Co., an awnings fabricator in Winston Salem, N.C., monitors information gathered by an independent, web-based company. “I can go online and see what we installed the week before and what we have in the pipeline for the next four to six weeks,” president/CEO …

Go with the flow: Relocating a business opens the door to efficient shop layouts

After 85 years in a historical, four-story building, Ohio Awning & Manufacturing Co. moved to a newer, one-story building. The Cleveland-based company took advantage of the relocation to design its new floor layout with workflow in mind. The move also allowed Ohio Awning to invest in a cutting machine, which it didn’t have space for …

Does “Made in the USA” matter in the sewn-goods industry?

August 30, 2017

A 2015 survey by Consumer Reports indicates that nearly 8 in 10 American consumers would rather buy a product made in United States than an imported one—and 60 percent of them would be willing to pay 10 percent more for it. But the sewn-goods industry faces critical questions about the “Made in the USA” label: …

Fabric helps brick-and-mortar retailers take visual branding to another level

August 1, 2017

The effects of society’s ever-increasing digital dependency, overabundance of shopping malls and shifting spending habits are not doing the retail industry any favors. But its future is not all doom and gloom. A study released earlier this year by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and IBM found that most members of Generation Z—the generation following …

Chad Miller keeps American National Manufacturing on top of changing market demands

People often ask if we make a particular product, and the answer is often no. But can we? To that, the answer is yes,” says Chad Miller, director of contract manufacturing of American National Mfg. Inc. and formerly co-owner of Plas-Tech Sealing Technologies, Corona, Calif. “We have everything we need to make new products. All …