NEW YORK — Interlinings firms are following in the footsteps of the industry by looking for opportunities to supply apparel manufacturers abroad. Consequently, executives said companies are having to overcome some business development hurdles, which technology is addressing.
As the easing of trade barriers makes business expansion around the globe possible, the pressures of cost efficency and quick response are responsible for bringing new challenges to supply-chain management — the transfer of information and product standardization.
In the case of Facemate Corp., Mount Pleasant, S.C., international business development is of premier importance in the company’s overall strategy for growth. “As more production continues to be sourced outside the U.S., it is incumbent upon us to provide to these sources the quality, reliability and integrity of the products we have been supplying domestically,” said Robert C. McAdam, senior vice-president.
Sid Porkorny, vice-president of QST Industries Inc., Chicago, Ill., another global interfacings player, noted how the market’s demands have changed with international sourcing. He said the fact that the same style, in the same fabric, can be made in China, Sri Lanka, Central America, the Caribbean, Eastern Europe and North Africa “is exactly the reason why we have distribution and warehousing in the Far East, Mexico and in many parts in Latin America.”
“We’ve had an international approach for years,” boasted Terry O’Regan, the director of marketing and product development for Freudenberg Nonwovens, based in Durham, N.C. Ac-cording to the executive, the company’s recent focus has been to “make it easier for our customers to find the product they want regardless of where they’re manufacturing.”
The Freudenberg executive explained how the company with its multinational manufacturing facilities — U.S., Taiwan, China and Europe — produces the same core range of products consistently to supply anyone in the world.
“We have managed to standardize the manufacturing process so we can manufacture in the same style standard in the same quality. It helps us to deal less with trade issues,” O’Regan said, noting the need for communications technology is imperative.
“Everything is done through electronic data interchange [EDI] and E-mail to communicate with our local sales organizations and customers. All of our communication throughout company locations is through E-mail,” he said.