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Intertextile 1 (c) Messe Frankfurt / Intertextile Shanghai Apparel Fabrics
15.09.2020

Intertextile Apparel’s digitised Solutions reconnect suppliers and buyers

The organisers of Intertextile Shanghai Apparel Fabrics are determined to make use of digitised solutions and provide support for exhibitors and visitors who originally intended to participate in the Spring Edition of Intertextile in Shanghai this March, as well as those unable to join the upcoming Autumn Edition from 23 – 25 September. This month’s fair is expecting about 3,400 exhibitors from over 20 countries and regions. With the Intertextile mobile app, an online business matching platform and more, Intertextile continues to utilise its diverse network in the textile industry to help address sourcing needs and generate new business opportunities.

The organisers of Intertextile Shanghai Apparel Fabrics are determined to make use of digitised solutions and provide support for exhibitors and visitors who originally intended to participate in the Spring Edition of Intertextile in Shanghai this March, as well as those unable to join the upcoming Autumn Edition from 23 – 25 September. This month’s fair is expecting about 3,400 exhibitors from over 20 countries and regions. With the Intertextile mobile app, an online business matching platform and more, Intertextile continues to utilise its diverse network in the textile industry to help address sourcing needs and generate new business opportunities.

“While we have been closely in touch with overseas exhibitors and visitors to prepare for the Autumn Edition of Intertextile, we are mindful that some may not be able to travel to China in September. We understand that alternative solutions are necessary at this time to help our exhibitors and visitors overcome the obstacles set by the outbreak of COVID-19, thus we have evaluated the online tools and services we currently have, as well as sought new ways to digitally connect the industry,” said Ms Wendy Wen, Senior General Manager of Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd.

“Our digitised solutions will cater for all scenarios – domestic and overseas suppliers and buyers who have been eager to connect with each other since missing out on the Spring Edition of Intertextile, while serving as pre-event promotion, business and networking opportunities for the Autumn Edition. This will facilitate a seamless exchange of information for doing international business online and offline before, during and after the fair to truly support the industry’s recovery,” continued Ms Wen.

Maximising brands’ exposure and business opportunities:
Intertextile’s digitised solutions will allow exhibitors to gain access to its valuable database – more than 100,000 buyers from over 100 countries and regions. To reach out to domestic buyers, exhibitors can download Intertextile’s mobile app and proactively upload product information and photos. They can interact with buyers by sharing their latest business updates, developments and sales promotions. Exhibitors will also have access to buyers’ contacts so that they can schedule online or onsite meetings in advance via the app’s built-in messenger function. The mobile app contains information about the fair, such as map, traffic and fringe programme updates, making it an all-in-one tool for exhibitors to enjoy convenience at the fair while gaining extra exposure not limited to the 3-day show period.

As a special measure in response to COVID-19, Intertextile is extending its offer for exhibitors and visitors to access its online business matching platform, Connect PLUS, which is normally only used to schedule onsite business meetings in advance of the fair. Connect PLUS is now available for online business matching before and after the fair. Based on data-driven intelligent recommendations, exhibitors can check out overseas buyer profiles from Intertextile’s valuable database and proactively send out requests to connect. With instant messaging and video call functions, this platform will be useful for exhibitors to connect with overseas buyers who are unable to attend Intertextile, serving as an ideal tool for post-event business matching and for enhancing sourcing efficiency. Sponsorship packages are also available for exhibitors to advertise on the platform and increase their exposure.

For more details about Intertextile’s digitised solutions, please visit: https://intertextile-shanghai-apparel-fabrics-autumn.hk.messefrankfurt.com/shanghai/en/Online_Platforms.html

Online content for overseas participants
The team at Intertextile is preparing for more pre-event content sharing in the form of webinars called the ‘Textile e-Dialogue’ series. By promoting exhibitors’ pre-event webinars through the fair’s e-newsletters and website, this will allow the online audience to catch up with the latest industry news while being able to interact with exhibitors via Q&A sessions.

During the fair, fringe programme events such as product presentations will also be livestreamed with real-time Q&A for onsite buyers and online audience. Presentations will be recorded and made available for viewing and sharing on social media platforms, so that overseas exhibitors and buyers in different time zones can learn about the fair’s highlights at their convenience.

Intertextile Shanghai Apparel Fabrics – Autumn Edition 2020 will be held concurrently with Yarn Expo Autumn, CHIC and PH Value from 23 – 25 September at the National Exhibition and Convention Center (Shanghai). The fair is co-organised by Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd; the Sub-Council of Textile Industry, CCPIT; and the China Textile Information Centre.

Photo: pixabay
08.09.2020

German Trade Fairs start again in September

  • 84 exhibitions still planned until the end of the year

After a shutdown of almost six months due to the Corona pandemic, major exhibitions for trade visitors and the general public will be held again in Germany from September onwards, often in modified formats and sometimes with digital supplements.
 
“Many exhibitors and visitors are waiting for trade fairs to restart, because they will once again stimulate demand through the presentation of innovations and personal trust-building communication,” explains Jörn Holtmeier, Managing Director of AUMA – Association of the German Trade Fair Industry, the importance of the restart for the German economy.
 

  • 84 exhibitions still planned until the end of the year

After a shutdown of almost six months due to the Corona pandemic, major exhibitions for trade visitors and the general public will be held again in Germany from September onwards, often in modified formats and sometimes with digital supplements.
 
“Many exhibitors and visitors are waiting for trade fairs to restart, because they will once again stimulate demand through the presentation of innovations and personal trust-building communication,” explains Jörn Holtmeier, Managing Director of AUMA – Association of the German Trade Fair Industry, the importance of the restart for the German economy.
 
“Through their participation exhibitors and visitors show that they expect high benefits from trade fairs even under altered conditions. In addition to business success, side-effects for companies such as image building are included, for example through showing innovative force, or being present in trade media or by direct exchange of experience within the industry.”

Caravan Salon is the largest exhibition to kick off
Twelve exhibitions are planned in September alone, including several international events, from the CARAVAN SALON in Dusseldorf as the largest show to restart, the compact version of the IFA Berlin right in the first week of September to the INTERBOOT in Friedrichshafen at the end of the month.

Messe Dusseldorf’s President & CEO Wolfram N. Diener, is looking forward to the restart of trade fair operations in Germany: “We want to signalise: Trade fairs can work in corona times, too. In close cooperation with authorities, partners and customers, we have realised the CARAVAN SALON 2020 under high hygiene and safety standards. The result: Around 350 exhibitors in eleven exhibition halls are presenting the entire spectrum of mobile travel.”

Exhibitions are not major events
The trade fair industry is not affected by the extension of the ban on major events in Germany by the Prime Minister’s Conference on 27 August 2020. Trade fairs have already been considered separately since 6 May 2020. Accordingly, a total of 84 exhibitions listed by AUMA, are currently planned for the months of September to December, 47 of them with international or national relevance and 37 with regional relevance. Dates for trade fairs, taking place in the near future are listed by AUMA at www.auma.de/Exhibition-Data.

Comprehensive concepts for health protection, which are approved by the responsible health authorities, are the basis for the industry meetings. “The trade fair organizers are doing everything possible to create safe and promising conditions for exhibitors and visitors. Size and quality of the exhibition grounds offer very good conditions for implementing hygiene and distance regulations”, says AUMA Managing Director Jörn Holtmeier.

AUMA has listed the key points of the protective measures as well as the safety concepts for all exhibition sites in Germany on its website at https://www.auma.de/en/exhibit/legal-matters/hygiene-and-distance-concepts-at-trade-fairs-in-Germany.

AUMA Chairman Philip Harting: "Those who focus on trade fairs can gain market shares”
"The principle is: Whoever dares wins. Anyone who bets on trade fairs in the coming months will have an earlier chance than others to receive a direct, unfiltered response to innovations, because at trade fairs customers can check and test the product. Once the customer is convinced of the quality, he simply decides faster.

Winning new customers in particular is extremely difficult with the help of digital formats. Many companies have experienced this in recent weeks and months. Along the way an exhibitor also gets valuable advice for the enhancement of his products". And, according to Harting, those who exhibit at trade shows find suitable cooperation partners faster, both professionally and personally, to help them weather the crisis better. Last but not least, he says, one can initiate urgently needed business deals, perhaps not as extensive as usual, but small orders often enough turn into large ones in the medium term.

Trade fairs offer just as great a benefit to visitors in the current situation. The AUMA Chairman: "Trade fair visitors can personally negotiate with potential new suppliers at an early stage, experience technology and design innovations earlier than others. And they may find suggestions on how retailer can inspire hesitant consumers".

Photo: Jakob Jost GmbH
25.08.2020

Steffen Jost: “We have to become faster, better in our Product Ranges and adopt a more strategic Approach.”

Interview with Steffen Jost, President of BTE e.V. and General Manager, Jakob Jost GmbH
 
On July 31 2020, the German Retail Association - HDE e.V. reported in addition to the current sales figures published by the Federal Statistical Office: “Many clothing retailers are still in danger of existence.” An HDE survey of 500 retailers showed that around two thirds of the non-grocers achieved at least 75 percent of sales in comparison to the same week last year. The main reason for this is the slowly increasing number of customers.

Interview with Steffen Jost, President of BTE e.V. and General Manager, Jakob Jost GmbH
 
On July 31 2020, the German Retail Association - HDE e.V. reported in addition to the current sales figures published by the Federal Statistical Office: “Many clothing retailers are still in danger of existence.” An HDE survey of 500 retailers showed that around two thirds of the non-grocers achieved at least 75 percent of sales in comparison to the same week last year. The main reason for this is the slowly increasing number of customers.

For 27 percent of retailers, however, the situation is still very serious: They realize their entrepreneurial existence threatened due to the corona crisis. Most retail companies will not be able to make up for lost sales that have occurred in recent months. Accordingly, two-thirds of non-grocery retailers calculated that sales would also decline in the second half of the year. Many clothing retailers continue to face difficult times.

Textination spoke about the situation with Steffen Jost, long-time president of the BTE Federal Association of German Textile Retailers, owner and managing director of Jakob Jost GmbH. The family company, founded in 1892, operates five clothing stores in Rhineland-Palatinate and Baden-Württemberg in the medium to upper price segment with more than 300 employees and a sales area of around 20,900 square meters.

How have you felt about the corona era to date - as a company and personally? What would you on no account want to go through again and what might you even consider maintaining on a daily basis?
The corona era was a challenging time for the company and its employees. You realize very clearly which employees are loyal and committed to the challenges and which are not. It is frightening to experience the appearance of mask refusers among the customers, who claim to go shopping without a mask and demand freedom for themselves and at the same time presuppose the employees' willingness to make sacrifices. The tone, the impertinences as well as the aggressiveness are alarming, it is often pure egoism. And in this context the meaning of freedom is limited to their own freedom.    

What does the pandemic mean economically for your own company so far, how do you estimate the consequences for the entire sector?
The economic impact, especially in terms of profitability, is immense. Since it affects the entire sector and thus also many companies that entered the crisis without a solid equity base, a major shakeout is to be feared. Especially because it is also not yet possible to predict how long the crisis will last.
 
What adjustments or innovations have you considered necessary for your product range?
As a result of the crisis, occasion related and elegant clothing is tending to decline, while sporty clothing is on average a bit more successful, so that more we emphasis on these aspects. The stationary trade as well as the industry have big problems, nevertheless there are acceptable solutions with many suppliers after intensive exchanges. A few suppliers try to enforce their own interests exclusively. Of course, this will result in corresponding consequences for the cooperation.

How do you consider suppliers in the future, what experiences have you made and will you draw consequences for your procurement policy?
A good cooperation between retail and industry is essential for economic success. If this basis does not exist (it has suffered considerably as a result of corona), it is also assumed that future economic success will be worse. A profit-oriented corporate management must take this into account in its procurement policy.
          
Which initiatives or instruments at politico-economic level did you welcome for the sector, of which have you been critical?
For many companies, including ours, both - the short-time working allowance and the KfW loans are essential components to secure the company's long-term future. For the first time the retail sector is applying for short-time work. We are critical of the lack of willingness on the political level to enforce the mask obligation and to punish violations of it accordingly. This has been passed on to the retailers and other sectors of the economy with corresponding problems in customer relations.
The interim aid was a great help for many small companies, but unfortunately medium-sized companies were not able to benefit from that. Corona has certainly massively accelerated the structural processes and developments in the retail sector, whereby the one-sided consideration of online sales, as currently can be seen, certainly falls short. It is also a question of the ability to generate profitable sales in normal times in order to build up business substance and also to finance necessary investments.

Did the corona era also have a positive effect, while the sector has brought forward innovations that would have been necessary anyway?
This might have happened in some cases. Especially companies that were not yet sufficiently digitally positioned may have taken action here very fast. In width, however, times of crisis seldom mean large investment periods.

What needs the stationary retail trade has to meet in future, what services must be offered in order to get a stable future?
The retail trade must be more than a place where goods are stocked in large quantities. The internet can do this on a much larger scale. Real customer service will play an increasingly important role, as will the length of stay and the design quality of the retail space. At the same time, it is important to make an optimum use of the digital possibilities. In addition, it is important to curate the product ranges in such a way, that the customers’ respective requirements are matched by an assortment that meets their expectations. Basically, this has been the original task of purchasing for decades. It is frightening to experience the appearance of mask refusers among the customers.
          
Which initiatives or approaches by or for your sector would you appreciate as support for such a future?
The cooperation between industry and multi-label retailers must definitely become more intensively and, above all, faster. Up to now, the possibilities of electronic data processing in a mutual flow of information, have been used by far too little and the corresponding consequences have not been drawn. In addition, the procurement times need to be reduced significantly.  The order and delivery dates must be set much later, and the possibility of using the digital world for ordering must also be implemented, in order to compensate at least the great systemic advantages of the vertical trade and thus also to reduce significantly the rates of write-offs and returns.

Until now the big issues have been globalisation, sustainability / climate change / environmental protection, digitisation, the labour market situation and so on. How must we rate them against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic?
Covid 19 will not change the big issues seriously, they will remain with us. Possibly the negative labor market situation, which is to be feared, can push them into the background, because if existential needs have to be solved, experience shows, that there is much less attention for the other problems.
 
What are the lessons for the textile retail trade with regard to these goals for the post-corona era?
The long lead times between ordering and delivery must finally be shortened. We have to become faster, better in our product ranges and adopt a more strategic approach. We may not lose sight of our own interests and the overall strategy of a company through the specifications of individual suppliers.
The strategic goal can only be to strive for permanently profitable sales and to implement all necessary measures consistently.

The interview was conducted by Ines Chucholowius,
CEO Textination GmbH

Foto: Pixabay
18.08.2020

Sustainable Fashion: How are the Leaders in Fast Fashion doing?

  • 10% of their offer is eco-responsible.
  • Sustainable cotton is a priority for retailers for the coming years.
  • Sustainable garments cheaper than standard garments.

Brands are prepared for the new health protection rules and have reopened their stores. But aside from the direct impact of the COVID-19 epidemic, is the fashion market ready to respond to customers’ desire to act by changing their spending habits?
Based on analyses by Retviews, a recently acquired startup, Lectra has produced a survey of sustainable fashion among the leading fast fashion brands. The main findings are explained here.

  • 10% of their offer is eco-responsible.
  • Sustainable cotton is a priority for retailers for the coming years.
  • Sustainable garments cheaper than standard garments.

Brands are prepared for the new health protection rules and have reopened their stores. But aside from the direct impact of the COVID-19 epidemic, is the fashion market ready to respond to customers’ desire to act by changing their spending habits?
Based on analyses by Retviews, a recently acquired startup, Lectra has produced a survey of sustainable fashion among the leading fast fashion brands. The main findings are explained here.

The COVID-19 crisis has given many people the desire to live more meaningfully and to act more responsibly.     
The crisis period could be seen as the catalyst that forces the fashion industry to change the way it designs, produces and distributes its products. Since, for consumers, buying is a way of expressing a commitment and affirming their values, brands have an incentive to change their offer in preparation for the future, by taking a more eco-responsible, authentic and transparent approach.
While these factors were apparent before the pandemic, they have now become the key to interacting with consumers wanting a more responsible offer. The era of the consumer activist, long heralded without actually becoming a reality, is now here, and brands must adapt in response.

Sustainable collections still a very small minority
The proportion of sustainable fashion in collections varies considerably from one retailer to the next. For example, eco-friendly collections constitute only a small portion of the ranges offered by leading retailers Zara and H&M, which signed the Fashion Pact during the G7 Summit in Biarritz.

Zara’s Join Life collection represents 14% of its range, whereas C&A’s #Wearthechange represents nearly 30% of its total collection. The Conscious collection at H&M, which tops the Fashion Transparency Index, created by Fashion Revolution, accounts for less than 10% of its total range.

Composition of products in eco-friendly collections
C&A, H&M and Inditex (Zara) are among the top four users of organic cotton. All the brands analyzed in the Retviews survey present their cotton as sustainable and consider it a priority for 2020 and beyond.
There is little difference between the fabrics most commonly used in the mass and premium markets. The same is true for eco-friendly compared to standard collections. Cotton, synthetic fabrics such as polyester, elastane and also viscose are the most widely offered and used fabrics.
 
Are sustainable fabrics more expensive?
The assumption that sustainable and/or organic garments are more expensive is a misconception, according to the results of the survey. H&M’s exclusive sustainable collection, Conscious, is a good example. The average price of a dress in the standard collection is €39.90, whereas in the Join Life collection it is €31.70.    

“The opportunities offered by sustainability are significant. It’s an issue attracting much greater interest from Generation Z, and retailers have listened to and taken on board these concerns. 90% of consumers say they are aware of the situation and are prepared to change their behavior to combat climate change*. This shows their real inclination to invest in eco-responsible products. In view of this change, brands have a social responsibility to inform their customers, to be transparent about their progress in this area, and to share some of the challenges they face, in order to educate their communities. There are currently no international regulations for apparel defining what can be described as sustainable. This means that there is still a long way to go before the standardization of sustainable fashion is achieved.” explains Quentin Richelle, Chief Marketing Officer, Retviews.

More information:
Sustainability) Fast Fashion
Source:

Lectra

Photo: Wilhelm-Lorch-Foundation.
11.08.2020

Wilhelm Lorch Foundation: Demand and Support - Qualifying young and up-and-coming Talents

  • Interview with Klaus Kottmeier, Elke Giese, Markus Gotta, Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil. Maike Rabe

In June 1988, the shareholders and management of Deutscher Fachverlag announced the Wilhelm Lorch Foundation to the textile and garment industry. Its purpose is to promote vocational training, including student assistance as well as science and research.

Upon its establishment, the Foundation received an initial endowment of DM 300,000 from Deut-scher Fachverlag. Today, the Foundation has assets of approx. 2,85 m. Euro (as at Dec 2019). Since 1988, the foundation has awarded sponsorship prizes of around EUR 1,933,564 (as of June 2020) to date, in order to fund the initial and further training of young people from all areas of the textile industry, with a particular focus on young and up-and-coming talents.

  • Interview with Klaus Kottmeier, Elke Giese, Markus Gotta, Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil. Maike Rabe

In June 1988, the shareholders and management of Deutscher Fachverlag announced the Wilhelm Lorch Foundation to the textile and garment industry. Its purpose is to promote vocational training, including student assistance as well as science and research.

Upon its establishment, the Foundation received an initial endowment of DM 300,000 from Deut-scher Fachverlag. Today, the Foundation has assets of approx. 2,85 m. Euro (as at Dec 2019). Since 1988, the foundation has awarded sponsorship prizes of around EUR 1,933,564 (as of June 2020) to date, in order to fund the initial and further training of young people from all areas of the textile industry, with a particular focus on young and up-and-coming talents.

Textination talked to the former chairman of the supervisory board of Deutscher Fachverlag GmbH, the current member of the executive board and founding member of the foundation, Klaus Kottmeier, as well as three members of the board of trustees: Mrs. Elke Giese - trend analyst and fashion journalist, Markus Gotta, managing director of Deutscher Fachverlag GmbH, and Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil. Maike Rabe, who will take over the chairmanship of the foundation board on September 1, 2020, about the challenging task of continuing successfully the foundation's work in an environment characterized by the pandemic.

The figure 3 seems to play a very special role for the Wilhelm Lorch Foundation (WLS). In 1988 announced on the occasion of the 30th Forum of the TextilWirtschaft, it was endowed with assets of DM 300,000. 2019 marked the 30th anniversary of the award of the sponsorship prizes. If you had to introduce the WLS in 100 words to someone who does not know the foundation: Which 3 aspects have particularly influenced its development and made it unique?

Klaus Kottmeier: In more than 30 years the WLS has been in existence, the foundation has received great support all over the sector from the very beginning. This continues to this day and is not only reflected in the financial support provided by generous grants, but above all in an active commitment of many sector leaders on the foundation board and board of trustees. A second aspect is the unique range in the topics of the support, which extends across design, business and technology, covering young talents in retail as well as university graduates, but also involving educational institutions themselves. And thirdly, the motivation of so many applicants we experience every year, who prepare their applications with incredible diligence and thus impressively demonstrate their willingness to perform.

 

The name of the foundation is a tribute to Wilhelm Lorch, the publisher and founder of the trade journal Textil-Wirtschaft and thus of Deutscher Fachverlag, who died in 1966. Which of his characteristics and traits do you still see as exemplary for the next generation in our industry today?

Klaus Kottmeier: We are a publishing media house where professional journalism based on sound research always forms the basis. This is associated with classic values such as entrepreneurial courage and will, diligence and discipline, but also a sense of responsibility and team spirit, which were exemplified by our founder and which still form the culture of our company today. These all are qualities young people should take to heart and which, coupled with a passion for their profession, encourage them to continue on their path.

 

According to its statutes, the primary purpose of the foundation is the awarding of "... awards and prizes to graduates of continuation schools of the German retail textile trade, textile-technical training institutes and [...] for final degree or doctoral theses from universities, as far as these deal with textile topics.” How nationally and internationally does the WLS work?

Prof. Maike Rabe: The prizes are mainly awarded to graduates and applicants from Germany and German-speaking countries, but there are also always talents from Europe, who have close ties to the German market.

Markus Gotta: The focus is clearly on the core market of Germany or Germany-Austria-Switzerland respectively, which we cover with the TW - accordingly, we do not advertise internationally, but there is no exclusion for foreign applicants, the only requirement is that the submitted works and reports must be written in German or English.

 

Over the past 31 years in which the foundation has been awarding prizes to people, projects and works, you have met many young talents who have moved our industry or will certainly do so. Are there any unusual stories or special award winners that have remained in your memory? And how do you assess the development of the applicants' educational level over the years?

Elke Giese: The applicants come from very different schools and universities, differing significantly in their profiles and focus. The demands on teaching have grown enormously, especially as a result of increasing digitization. Since the job profiles in the fashion business are also constantly changing and will continue to be subject to major changes in the future, the challenges for schools and students remain very high.
From each year, particularly talented and creative personalities remain in one's memory. To name one, Elisa Paulina Herrmann from Pforzheim, who was twice among the prize winners in 2017 and 2019 with her bachelor's and then master's thesis. Her ability and originality were overwhelming for the board of trustees. She now creates exclusive knitwear collections for Gucci. Among the young men is Niels Holger Wien, who received WLS funding in 1995. He has been the specialist for color trends and zeitgeist of the German Fashion Institute for many years and is currently president of the world's most important color committee INTERCOLOR.

Klaus Kottmeier: There are many award winners who have subsequently made a great career, to name just one example, Dr. Oliver Pabst, current CEO of Mammut Sports Group AG and WLS award winner in 1994.

 

Due to its proximity to TextilWirtschaft, the foundation is primarily associated with fashion design and topics related to clothing production or marketing. In 2020 you have put Smart Textiles in the virtual spotlight with two project sponsorships. How do you see future topics in the field of technical textiles? Can you imagine creating a new focus on that field?

Prof. Maike Rabe: First of all, the WLS supports talented young people who, thanks to their training, can take up a career in the entire textile and clothing industry. Of course, this also includes the field of technical textiles, which is of great importance in terms of production in Germany being a technological leader. Here the boundaries to clothing are fluid, just think of outdoor or sports equipment.    „    

Klaus Kottmeier: Our excellently staffed board of trustees is open to all innovative topics in the industry. Innovations in the field of technical textiles in particular are important topics for the future. In 2017, for example, the sponsorship award went to the Anna-Siemsen-School, a vocational school for textile technology and clothing in Hanover, through which we supported the procurement of a pattern design software.

 

The Wilhelm Lorch Foundation has set itself the goal of supporting qualified young people in the textile and fashion industry. However, you preclude the support for business start-ups. In times, in which start-ups receive increasing attention not only through corresponding TV formats but also through industry associations, there must be reasons for this. What are they and how do you assess future prospects?

Klaus Kottmeier: Support for business start-ups is precluded by §2 of our statutes, which defines the purpose of the foundation. The WLS is exclusively dedicated to the charitable purpose. Support for start-ups and business start-ups would contradict this. We therefore concentrate fully on the further education of young professionals in the sector and the promotion of educational institutions, from which the entire sector benefits.

Prof. Maike Rabe: WLS funding is aimed at further developing the skills of graduates and young talents from the sector. They should receive specific further training, possibly reach a further academic degree, and also learn in an interdisciplinary manner. All of this benefits the sector as a whole and this is our strict objective.


          
The foundation also promotes the training and further education of young and up-and-coming talents who are already working in the textile retail trade. Grants are available to cover course or study fees for further qualification. The closure of shops caused by the lockdown  during the pandemic hit the stationary retail trade hard, and even today we are still miles away from regular business operations. Against this background, how do you see focused funding opportunities for further training in the e-commerce sector?

Markus Gotta: The topics of stationary retail and e-commerce can't really be separated, both have long since become part of the basic requirements in fashion sales and thus also of the topics of training and further education in general.
 
Prof. Maike Rabe: E-commerce has become an integral part of our industry and is naturally reflected in many grants and subsidies. The junior staff members are allowed to make their own suggestions as to where and how they would like to train. We support this. But we would also like to strengthen the connection between stationary and digital trade in particular. Our prize winners have come up with wonderful concepts for both sales channels, and of course they can be combined.

 

Breaking new ground means willingness to make decisions, overcoming fears - and thus courage to fail. Not every project can succeed. In retrospect, which decisions in your foundation work are you particularly happy to have made?

Markus Gotta: That we implemented the Summer School project last year. We broke new ground with the foundation, and this - in cooperation with the Niederrhein University of Applied Sciences - was very successful.

Elke Giese: Especially in the field of design and creation, it is important to recognize an applicant's future creative potential from the work at hand and the information provided by the applicant. I am therefore always particularly pleased when the board of trustees makes courageous and progressive decisions.    

 

The Wilhelm Lorch Foundation offers project funding of € 10,000 to universities and educational institutions. They do not make any thematic restrictions here, but simply demand that there must be a clear reference to the sustainable further training of young up-and-coming talents in the textile and fashion industry. According to which criteria do you finally decide which project will be funded?

Elke Giese: One criterion is the relevance for future developments in the textile and fashion industry. Projects in recent years have enabled schools and educational institutions to train on laser cutters and 3D printers, for example, but also to purchase modern knitting machines or software programs.

Prof. Maike Rabe: All the projects submitted are evaluated very strictly by the jury's experts using a points-based system. This results in a shortlist which is presented to the board of trustees and intensively discussed by them. In this way, we ensure that all submitted applications are honored and that we then award the Wilhelm Lorch Prize to the outstanding project submissions in a joint consensus. The most important criteria are sustainable teaching of innovative learning content, practical training and the feasibility of the submitted project.

 

There are many different definitions of sustainability. Customers expect everything under this term - from climate protection to ecology, from on-site production in the region to the exclusion of child labor etc. Public procurement is increasingly switching to sustainable textiles. What does this mean for WLS, and what are you doing to promote sustainable thinking and acting, not only among young professionals?

Prof. Maike Rabe: At the foundation, we base our definition of "sustainability" on the 1987 report of the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development, the so-called Brundtland Commission: "Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs". The textile and clothing sector plays a pioneering role as a globally enormously connected industry with complex supply chains, which should definitely also play a model role. We therefore make it a priority for all award winners to observe these criteria and at the same time try to provide a platform for people who, through their work and actions, offer suggestions for improvement or even already implement improvements.

 

Virtual instead of red carpet: Usually the awards are presented in the festive setting of the TextilWirtschaft Forum. In 2020, due to the Covid-19, there was only a digital version in the form of a short film. How important do you consider networking opportunities that arise from meeting influential personalities face-to-face? Or has such a format become obsolete in the age of video conferencing?

Prof. Maike Rabe: It is certainly remarkable what digital event formats can achieve. But one thing doesn't work: spontaneity, personal contact and closeness. Therefor it is a real pity that the Forum had to be cancelled this year due to corona. Especially for career starters, the chance for direct networking is of great value.

Markus Gotta: The need for personal exchange and meetings will continue to be of great importance and demand in the future. And I can say at this point: We are already working on the plans for the TW Forum 2021 as a live and meeting event with the top decision-makers in the sector.

 

In which socially relevant areas do you see a particularly great need for innovation and action during the next five years? What is your assessment that funding - for example from the Wilhelm Lorch Foundation - can provide targeted support for solutions? And what role do the experiences from the corona pandemic play in this assessment?

Prof. Maike Rabe: We don't think in five-year periods, today's world requires much greater agility - this applies to the Foundation as well as to the entire industry. With each award we re-orientate ourselves towards current topics. Topics such as aesthetics, function and innovation will certainly continue to play a major role, as will quality instead of quantity, eco-social justice and customer loyalty. It is also important, however, that our economy, which is strongly supported by medium-sized companies, is clearly perceived by the public and in politics; we still have to work on that.

Klaus Kottmeier: I gladly agree with Prof. Rabe's closing statement. Agility is also of great importance in a media company like ours. We live in a constant transformation process with constant changes that have to be faced. The corona pandemic has shown us very impressively how quickly original plans can become waste. Today, and more than ever before in the future, a constant willingness to change is required, and this applies not only to us but also to our hopeful young employees.
 

The interview was conducted by Ines Chucholowius,
CEO Textination GmbH

Textildruckerei Heinrich Mayer GmbH, Michael Steidle (c) Textildruckerei Heinrich Mayer GmbH
21.07.2020

„COVID-19 - We could and should have appeared better as noble knights" Michael Steidle, Textildruckerei Heinrich Mayer GmbH

  • Interview with Michael Steidle, Managing Director Textildruckerei Heinrich Mayer GmbH

At least Europe seems to be able to breathe a sigh of relief after weeks of lockdown during the corona pandemic. The textile industry, an industry that has lived globalisation for so many years, is facing the challenge of maintaining its place in the new normal and building on its previous performance as quickly as possible.
Textination talked to three company representatives along the textile chain about personal and operational experiences.

  • Interview with Michael Steidle, Managing Director Textildruckerei Heinrich Mayer GmbH

At least Europe seems to be able to breathe a sigh of relief after weeks of lockdown during the corona pandemic. The textile industry, an industry that has lived globalisation for so many years, is facing the challenge of maintaining its place in the new normal and building on its previous performance as quickly as possible.
Textination talked to three company representatives along the textile chain about personal and operational experiences.

The Interview with Michael Steidle, managing director at the textile printing company Heinrich Mayer GmbH, marks the provisional end of our series that started with Wolfgang Müller, Head of Sales & Services at Mayer & Cie. GmbH & Co. KG and was continued by Andreas Merkel, managing director of Gebr. Otto Baumwollfeinzwirnerei GmbH & Co. KG. The textile printing company Mayer, a family business on the Swabian Alb, is a leader in textile printing, in screen, rouleaux, rotary, sublimation and flock printing and as well as in 3D coating. They are increasingly using these skills in the area of technical textiles.

How have you felt about the corona era to date - as a company and personally?
What would you on no account want to go through again and what might you even consider maintaining on a daily basis?

 The corona time hit us hard. At the beginning of April, sometimes it felt like the lights would go out within the next 24 hours. In numbers there is a drop in sales of 30 percent.
And that's not just the way we are, this crisis has incredibly broader implications. Involved in the word of the Chamber of Commerce I am concerned with many companies in the region. Sectors that would not come to mind spontaneously also feel the effects. This also includes recycling companies. After all, there is also less commercial waste when companies are on short-time work.
At a personal level you can deal with the crisis, hand hygiene, sneeze etiquette, you can learn all of this. But we miss people-to-people contacts. We have a teenage daughter; young people in particular lack the ability to be out and about with their peers.

 
What has the pandemic meant for your company so far?
As I said, the Corona period brought us a significant drop in sales. That means we think twice before spending money. At the beginning of the year we moved to our new, spacious company building. There are still a few small investments to be made. So far, we have put it off until the situation has calmed down again. And so do many. The economic network extremely got out of hand due to the lockdown.
We applied for short-time work, which has been running for three months now. However, you have to see how long that makes sense. Our customers also had a drop in sales, which they first of all have to recover.

 
What adjustments or innovations to your product portfolio have you felt obliged by the pandemic to undertake?
The mask production was a very strong topic in April and May, the phone almost rang continuously. This enabled us to compensate for many orders that were lost otherwise.
We reacted quickly, not only printing masks classically, but also developing coatings for medical face masks and protective clothing. The coatings that we offer are antibacterial and have the lotus effect. This results in the formation of droplets in the aerosols. We have had checked and certified these innovations in an urgent procedure.
We converted our machines ad hoc so that we could apply innovative coatings instead of paint. This was even possible for ready-made masks.
In general, I rate this ability to react quickly as one of our great strengths. We are a small company, so the path from idea to implementation is rather short. If we recognize a trend, an opportunity in our industry, we examine ourselves: Do we have resources that could be used or adapted to offer a solid, marketable solution in a very short time? This refers to know-how, ideas, machines and, for larger projects, also partners. Experience has shown that on the one hand we have the necessary imagination, but on the other hand we also have a fairly realistic view of ourselves. If we can answer the question with “yes”, then we get started without delay. We can evaluate a trial in the evening and continue working on it the next day. There is no need for a meeting with five persons beforehand.
 

What are your views on global supply chains in the future, and will you be drawing consequences for your procurement policy?
We cannot avoid global supply chains; and it will remain this way. In the short term, you may reflect on regional procurement, as far as that is still possible. Many things are simply no longer available and the development over the past 30 years cannot be turned back. Let's take pigment paint: it comes from India and China, otherwise it doesn't exist anymore. Nobody in Europe can keep the prices. And yes, that also means that the production of systemically relevant products can no longer be guaranteed.

          
How do you rate the importance of partnerships within the industry in the future? Does Covid-19 have the potential to promote the creation of new cooperation arrangements in the industry? Or have they already taken shape?
Existing partnerships are important. We must keep the ball rolling: Interrupted projects have to be continued with existing partners.
I think it is important to maintain partnerships at eye level. Sure, now everyone has to see how they can make ends meet. It will be shown, however, who works loyally in the long term and with respect to the business.
Personally, it is important for me to be true to my word. Only a few days ago I spoke to a student, whom we promised her internship and a corresponding payment in February. This young woman can start her internship with us; what paying is concerned, I had to tell her honestly that we have to talk about it again. Fortunately, that was not a problem. It is important to the student that she can complete the required internship at all. This is not so easy since most companies do not accept anyone right now. That is understandable too, but we will need the well-trained people again soon, that’s for sure!

 
What initiatives or approaches for your industry would you welcome for the near future?
I would be very interested in a positive and comprehensive description of what value added is still available in Germany. An initiative that illustrates that the textile industry is an important industry, with many companies that have been family-owned for generations, often with a young, dynamic management and high-quality products. Really nobody has that on his radar. Just today, two designers from a company nearby visited us. They were surprised which services we offer in the field of technical textiles - they were not even aware of it.
The textile industry has played itself down for a long time, that has to stop. Of course, we no longer have added value like the machine building industry. But now, in the corona crisis, it would have been the right time to take advantage of the situation and to initiate much-needed lobbying..


What would you like to see as part of the German textile industry? Do you feel that the status of the German textile industry has changed as a result of the pandemic, especially in respect of public procurement?
No, only at very short notice. Everything was taken during the crisis, the main thing was that the requested product, i.e. masks and protective clothing, was even available. Now the old cycle is back: I have a certain budget, where can I get the most for it? This is frustrating because the willingness to face this challenge was high on the part of the companies.
We also have driven the development and had our coatings for masks certified in an urgent process. Others have switched their entire production at a significant cost to meet demand. Nobody became a millionaire this way.
I think the textile industry could have sold better here. We could and should have appeared better as noble knights. Unfortunately, this was lost in the heat of the battle.

Until now the big issues have been globalisation, sustainability / climate change / environmental protection, digitisation, the labour market situation and so on. Where do they stand now and how must we rate them against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic?
We take sustainability into account with our certifications, with GOTS and ISO 9001. Digitisation does not work quickly for us; it will take years before we can digitise processes. Sure, in administration we are now increasingly working with web meetings and video conferences, but personal contact is important to me. I regularly give lectures; my next one will be at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences and I very much hope that it can take place. I am just a guy for direct contact.
The labour market situation depends on the pandemic and how it develops. In any case, it remains difficult to get young people excited about textile professions. When I open a mobile phone store, I don't need a day to have my employees together. When we present ourselves at a training fair, we are happy to have a handful of good conversations.
Training is so valuable. Someone who has one will always have a different status than an unskilled person, even if - at some point - he works in a completely different branch. The dual training system is absolutely untouchable for me, because we live from this economic performance. We have nothing else but our knowledge. And we have to keep developing because only the high level gives the necessary output.
 

What lessons are to be learnt in respect of these targets for the post-corona era?
Innovation, innovation, innovation. You must not stand still. Nobody knows what to do next. But in three years from now I have to live from what I am developing today, just like I live from what I developed three years ago. Now, in times of Corona, it is much harder to remember, but it does not help: I can’t stand still, waiting for what is happening next, being like a deer caught in the headlights.

This interview was conducted by Ines Chucholowius, CEO Textination GmbH

Gebr. Otto Baumwollfeinzwirnerei GmbH & Co. KG (c) Gebr. Otto Baumwollfeinzwirnerei GmbH & Co. KG
14.07.2020

Interview with Andreas Merkel, Managing Director Gebr. Otto GmbH & Co. KG

"OTTO has already survived two world wars and a pandemic in 1918, we will survive this one as well"

At least Europe seems to be able to breathe a sigh of relief after weeks of lockdown during the corona pandemic. The textile industry, an industry that has lived globalisation for so many years, is facing the challenge of maintaining its place in the new normal and building on its previous performance as quickly as possible.

Textination talked to three company representatives along the textile chain about personal and operational experiences.

"OTTO has already survived two world wars and a pandemic in 1918, we will survive this one as well"

At least Europe seems to be able to breathe a sigh of relief after weeks of lockdown during the corona pandemic. The textile industry, an industry that has lived globalisation for so many years, is facing the challenge of maintaining its place in the new normal and building on its previous performance as quickly as possible.

Textination talked to three company representatives along the textile chain about personal and operational experiences.

Andreas Merkel, Managing Director of Gebr. Otto Baumwollfeinzwirnerei GmbH & Co. KG, takes over the second part of our series of interviews and succeeds Wolfgang Müller, Head of Sales & Service at the textile machinery company Mayer & Cie. GmbH & Co. KG. The spinning mill, which was founded in Dietenheim in 1901, is now considered as one of the most modern ones in Europe. The management decided against relocating production abroad and relies on premium yarns made from natural fibers as well as tailor-made customer solutions.

How have you felt about the corona era to date - as a company and personally?
What would you on no account want to go through again and what might you even consider maintaining on a daily basis?

The lockdown period was something surreal to me. It was difficult to understand what was real and what was virtual. I found it positive that the crisis brought people closer together and that they gave more appreciation to things people had taken for granted, such as their own workplace.
Overall, I have remembered the past few months as not being such a negative time. Of course, this is also because we as a company have got off lightly so far. We have no external obligations such as rents, leasing contracts and so on to serve. We also see a clear upward trend again.    
          
What has the pandemic meant for your company so far?
The enterprise Gebrüder Otto has existed since 1901, we have already weathered a pandemic - the Spanish flu in 1918 - and we will survive this too. Of course, many orders suddenly broke off, and we had to cope with parts of the company in short-time work. Incidentally, an extremely sensible government offer that helped us to react quickly.
But I have the impression that the crisis is going to get off to a good start and I don't think we will stay at the current low level for a long time. As it looks now, we no longer need to take advantage of the short-time work in the spinning mill we had requested for July.
I am worried about the companies that will be hit hard by this crisis, especially in our industry, of course. We are already noticing insolvencies of long-established companies. The textile value chain in Germany is already very limited; let’s hope that this pandemic doesn’t shrink it any further.
 
What adjustments or innovations to your product portfolio have you felt obliged by the pandemic to undertake?
We saw a positive development even before the pandemic: More and more customers are asking about sustainable products, which we offer in a wide range.
Last year we started building up the brand "Cotton since 1901 - made in Germany" and launched it in April this year. We want to make the fact even clearer that we offer a regional, transparent and sustainable product with our cotton yarns made in Dietenheim. We have been based in Germany for almost 120 years and are part of our cityscape and local life. We - and our product - stand for consistency, responsibility and the highest quality standards.
Our yarns are the DNA of a high quality garment. Products that are made from "Cotton since 1901" are provided with a corresponding hang tag in the shops.
We are happy that we were able to launch this brand despite the difficulties that the corona measures implicated. Because now the topic is more important than ever. I recently had a conversation with a customer: Nothing works except in the sustainable segment. In short: high-quality products remain in demand, while it is becoming more and more difficult on the average market.

What are your views on global supply chains in the future, and will you be drawing consequences for your procurement policy?
In Germany, we have a high degree of company-internal value-add, we spin, twist and dye. Our cotton is extra-long-staple and we source it from Spain and Israel, from long-term suppliers. Because of Corona, there was no reason for our procurement to take consequences.
However, the crisis will have made it clear to many people that mass products used in daily life are no longer so easy to manufacture on their doorstep. But we need a reliable and high availability in Germany. That is why we should strengthen regional production, also in the long term. Sure, this is only possible in cooperation with customers and partners who appreciate these values. That doesn't work if everyone just looks at the price. Pricing is not everything. From this perspective, the pandemic was certainly an important catalyst.
 
How do you rate the importance of partnerships within the industry in the future?
Does Covid-19 have the potential to promote the creation of new cooperation arrangements in the industry? Or have they already taken shape?

Vertical partnerships are becoming increasingly important. Well, the shrinkage of the industry implicates this anyway. But we have to work together even more and the quality of the partnerships needs to become closer.
If one of the remaining specialists fails - let's assume that the companies that are now going bankrupt would have to close completely - then everyone else will be affected. There are no such specialists ten a penny, if they fall away, then some products cannot be manufactured locally anymore. You can build a fantastic car, no matter how good, if you don't have someone who can provide you with the steering wheel, you don't have a finished car.

What initiatives or approaches for your industry would you welcome for the near future?
Regional products should be given a parent brand so that consumers can recognize a regionally manufactured product as such. There was something like this in Switzerland with Swisscotton. I have suggested this several times in the association of the textile industry. It would be best for the industry if all manufacturers jointly build up such a regional label. After all, consumers are ready to spend money if they know where a product comes from and that it was manufactured fairly and sustainably. Everyone would benefit from such transparent added value. And digitization offers the ideal platform for this.

What would you like to see as part of the German textile industry?
Do you feel that the status of the German textile industry has changed as a result of the pandemic, especially in respect of public procurement?

As far as public procurement is concerned, I cannot answer this question because it does not really affect us.
But of course the pandemic has shown how fatal it can be if products are no longer manufactured in Germany, for example if antibiotics are market under the name of German companies but are actually manufactured on the other side of the world.
At the end of the day, the question arises: being a part of the textile industry – are we systemically relevant? Partly yes, I think, because if tomorrow
nobody produces yarns in Germany or Europe anymore, this will have consequences for systemically relevant products. And, as you know, you only realise that things can get tight when there is a bang. That is why I think that in a country like Germany there must be a basic supply of products and technology. After all, it's also about further development, about innovations. If I want to make a virus-free mask, I need local partners.

Until now the big issues have been globalisation, sustainability / climate change / environmental protection, digitisation, the labour market situation and so on.
Where do they stand now and how must we rate them against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic?

For us at Otto, sustainability and environmental protection have been a long-standing central corporate value. We produce our electricity partly independently, from hydropower. Our products and processes have been certified according to the highest standards. In my lectures, I often show how much water is needed to produce cotton, and how precious this raw material is in itself.
Together with the valuable regional added value, this gave rise to our new brand "Cotton since 1901". There will be a QR code on the hang tags on the finished garments, so that the buyer can check what is inside the product.
Such approaches, which are sustainable and regional, are a mega opportunity that we have to use. The corona crisis had demonstrated this very clearly.
 
What lessons are to be learnt in respect of these targets for the post-corona era?
I'm afraid things will go on as before in many areas. But still: We looked at the medical manufacturers who suddenly could no longer deliver everyday medicines. And we have seen the conditions under which meat products are produced.
Do we want that? No. In the end, consumers value flawless products - and we should deliver them.

This interview was conducted by Ines Chucholowius, CEO Textination GmbH

07.07.2020

Mayer & Cie.: “COVID-19 - A Challenge without a Blueprint”

Interview with Wolfgang Müller, Head of Sales & Service at Mayer & Cie. GmbH & Co. KG

At least Europe seems to be able to breathe a sigh of relief after weeks of lockdown during the corona pandemic. The textile industry, an industry that has lived globalisation for so many years, is facing the challenge of maintaining its place in the new normal and building on its previous performance as quickly as possible.

Textination talked to three company representatives along the textile chain about personal and operational experiences.

Wolfgang Müller, Head of Sales & Service at Mayer & Cie. GmbH & Co. KG will start the three-part series. The world market leader for circular knitting machines, founded in 1905 in Albstadt / Baden-Württemberg, employs around 400 people worldwide and today offers an international network of more than 80 sales and service representatives.

Interview with Wolfgang Müller, Head of Sales & Service at Mayer & Cie. GmbH & Co. KG

At least Europe seems to be able to breathe a sigh of relief after weeks of lockdown during the corona pandemic. The textile industry, an industry that has lived globalisation for so many years, is facing the challenge of maintaining its place in the new normal and building on its previous performance as quickly as possible.

Textination talked to three company representatives along the textile chain about personal and operational experiences.

Wolfgang Müller, Head of Sales & Service at Mayer & Cie. GmbH & Co. KG will start the three-part series. The world market leader for circular knitting machines, founded in 1905 in Albstadt / Baden-Württemberg, employs around 400 people worldwide and today offers an international network of more than 80 sales and service representatives.

How have you felt about the corona era to date - as a company and personally?
What would you on no account want to go through again and what might you even consider maintaining on a daily basis?

The corona era is a challenge without a blueprint. Because it is not an economic crisis as previously understood we have no tried and tested solutions with which to react to the situation. Nevertheless, and this is my personal opinion, there is never only a downside even though the pandemic situation has, of course, had the worst conceivable effect on our order intake.
A positive aspect is that we are forced to deal with issues we would otherwise have put off until the future. Web meetings and virtual trade fairs instead of travelling half way round the world. We can use the time gained to optimise our processes.
When the lockdown began I personally had more time for myself and a few hours more sleep than otherwise. But that positive side effect is already history.    
          
What has the pandemic meant for your company so far?
Let me go back a little further. The trade dispute between the United States and China and many other, smaller local conflicts led to the textile machinery market having faced an understandably most reluctant client base since 2018. After this rather lengthy lean period we noted from the beginning of 2020 a growing inclination to invest once more. Of course, corona abruptly interrupted that trend. So the pandemic hit us at a time when the industry was recovering. We now have a steady order intake once more, but at a lower level than we need if we are to fully utilise our production capacity. So after the summer holidays we will switch to short-time working until the situation is back to normal.
 
What adjustments or innovations to your product portfolio have you felt obliged by the pandemic to undertake?
Contact and travel bans have not only shown us how useful video conferences are; they have also demonstrated most vividly how important digital solutions are – and that we need to work on them intensively. Prior to the corona outbreak, we invested a great deal of time and knowledge in this area so that we were able to unveil knitlink at the 2019 ITMA 2019.
A Web shop for spare parts and our new service approach are both based on knitlink. Using a ticket system that we are developing from our CRM system along with digital measures in service support we can assist our customers faster and at less expense than previously. In addition, our customers will in future be able to record and analyse the production data of their Mayer circular knitting machines.

What are your views on global supply chains in the future, and will you be drawing consequences for your procurement policy?
We as suppliers noticed at the outset of the corona crisis in March that the desire for short supply chains on the part of clothing manufacturers was leading to more orders from countries closer to Europe. Now that the situation is hopefully starting to ease off, this trend is still apparent.
As for our own supply chain, throughout the entire lockdown phase we have had gratifyingly few problems and no downtimes whatever.
 
How do you rate the importance of partnerships within the industry in the future?
Does Covid-19 have the potential to promote the creation of new cooperation arrangements in the industry? Or have they already taken shape?

Cooperation arrangements can be a great enrichment. For over a year and a half we have been collaborating with a design studio in Amsterdam. Our partner Byborre not only develops designs of its own; it also supports sportswear and clothing manufacturers step by step in developing their textiles.
The customer uses his own partners and suppliers while Byborre supplies the machinery and parameters needed to manufacture the desired fabrics.
Byborre could be described as a kind of “translator,” interpreting between us, the machine manufacturers, and those who use the fabrics that are made on our machines.
We as engineers know of course what our machines are capable of accomplishing. Jointly with Byborre we coax new designs and uses out of these capabilities.
Apart from that we cooperate in various bodies such as the VDMA’s Marketing and Trade Fair Committee.
These, however, are not cooperation arrangements arising from or as a consequence of Covid-19. We have no such cooperation to report.

What initiatives or approaches for your industry would you welcome for the near future?
A positive mention must be made of offers by the state government to assist with digitisation projects that we must all take forward.
A strengthening of regional production would also be desirable. That said, even I cannot imagine how that could be achieved other than for high-quality or niche products.

What would you like to see as part of the German textile industry?
Do you feel that the status of the German textile industry has changed as a result of the pandemic, especially in respect of public procurement?

Although “textile” is part of our description as textile machinery manufacturers, our actual home is in the second part of the name – in mechanical engineering. Its status in Germany is, as is known, very high.
That of the textile industry is, from my external vantage point, unchanged. At the beginning of April, when face masks were desperately sought, there were many good intentions, but German firms that offered to manufacture them were refused long-term assurances by the government.
So naturally nobody invested in the idea and everything will probably remain as it is, with the price reigning supreme and competition continuing unabated.

Until now the big issues have been globalisation, sustainability / climate change / environmental protection, digitisation, the labour market situation and so on.
Where do they stand now and how must we rate them against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic?

The overriding issue right now is Covid-19, and everything else is subordinated to it. At the same time it functions like a magnifying glass. Take precarious jobs, for example. The high rates of infection in abattoirs have meant that they can no longer be ignored. Covid-19 has also created facts in respect of environmental protection. Next to nobody is flying, people are working from home and doing less shopping. That leads to lower emissions. The ailing global economy is a blessing for the planet. Germany too is likely to be on climate target for 2020; without corona we would have failed to do so. As for globalisation, it is at least marking time as regional production fills part of the bill.
How long that will continue to be the case remains to be seen, of course, but it is clear that we can be extremely flexible if we need to be.
 
What lessons are to be learnt in respect of these targets for the post-corona era?
There is unlikely to be a “post-corona era” inasmuch as we will no longer get rid of the virus. We must learn to cope with it.
The virus or rather the restrictions it has imposed on us have forced us to be creative. We must deal with existing processes differently – both in private life and professionally. By that I mean such everyday activities as shopping as well as Web meetings and working at home, which was not previously a widespread option at our company. They have certainly made us more efficient.
Another realisation applies to us as an SME just as it does to politics. We have an opportunity to master the crisis and maybe even gain in strength and size from it. But only because we have invested sensibly when times were good and above all managed our business soundly and solidly.

This interview was conducted by Ines Chucholowius, CEO Textination GmbH

Source:

Textination GmbH

Used textiles Photo: bvse textile recycling association
20.05.2020

Corona-virus pushes Used Textiles Industry into Struggle for Survival

The measures to reduce the propagation speed of the COVID-19 epidemic require hourly new and flexible adjustments to system processes and business agreements. In these difficult times, the waste textile companies rely on a close solution-oriented dialogue with their contract partners.

The initiatives presented a common vision for social protection and responsible entrepreneurship in this crisis at the end of April.
 
The members of the board of directors at bvse textile recycling raise the alarm because the economic starting point for companies in the sector pf used textile is getting worse every day.
 
"An increasing number of sorting systems are applying for short-time work due to the corona crisis or are closing the factories completely due to quarantine measures," Martin Wittmann, the bvse vice president and chairman of the bvse textile recycling association, describes the current situation.

The measures to reduce the propagation speed of the COVID-19 epidemic require hourly new and flexible adjustments to system processes and business agreements. In these difficult times, the waste textile companies rely on a close solution-oriented dialogue with their contract partners.

The initiatives presented a common vision for social protection and responsible entrepreneurship in this crisis at the end of April.
 
The members of the board of directors at bvse textile recycling raise the alarm because the economic starting point for companies in the sector pf used textile is getting worse every day.
 
"An increasing number of sorting systems are applying for short-time work due to the corona crisis or are closing the factories completely due to quarantine measures," Martin Wittmann, the bvse vice president and chairman of the bvse textile recycling association, describes the current situation.

The amount of used clothing collected in Germany is declining sharply in many regions along with increasing social distancing, existing or expected curfew and associated closings of collection points and civic amenity sites.

"It looks even bleaker on the sales side. In the meantime, measures ordered worldwide, such as curfews and ban on meetings, prevent the opportunities to even generate any revenue. Due to official orders, second-hand shops have to close everywhere, including in Eastern Europe. This means that the demand for used clothing dries up almost completely.
The African markets are also suffering from the corresponding lack of demand, due to the lack of funds available from local consumers.

The markets necessary for the sale of sorted goods have collapsed globally since mid-March 2020. It is currently not possible to market wearable second-hand clothing, but also products in the recycling and cleaning rag segment. Thus, there are currently no prospects for generating revenue in the end customer area.
Since the transit time of a piece of used textile from the collection to the sorting to the final marketing in one of the global markets can take up to four months, this situation will certainly take just as long because a positive change in the current overall pandemic situation cannot be assumed.

The waste disposal companies active in Germany in the field of used textiles are therefore currently concerned only with maintaining the operational structures in order to find ways at a later time to be able to fulfill the previous agreements.

"What we urgently need now are common, fair and economically sound solutions with all of our contractual partners so that both sides can survive this crisis. The situation in many municipal, charitable and private places currently looks like that we maintain the services of waste collection and recycling at high costs, but currently do not know whether we will be compensated for this due to force majeure,” stated Wittmann.   

As a start, some companies in the industry have therefore already concluded agreements with municipalities. In return for a provisional suspension of payment obligations for the rental of container spaces or collected goods, the private companies want to do everything possible to ensure that the recycling of used clothes and cleaning of the collection points in the interest of the com-mon good, despite their own staff shortages and difficult conditions remains guaranteed.

“At the same time, we would like to appeal to everyone involved that there is understanding for late pick-ups and container empties caused by the crisis. We urge the citizens not to put any collectibles next to the containers. As long as we have enough staff, every container will be emptied,” promised Martin Wittmann, Vice President of the bvse.

12.05.2020

TEXTILE INITIATIVES INVITE GOVERNMENTS AND ENTERPRISES TO ACT

In a joint declaration, ten initiatives and organizations working for better working conditions in the textile industry call on governments and textile companies to take urgent action in the corona crisis.
End of April, the initiatives presented a common vision for social security and responsible entrepreneurship in this crisis.
 
In the joint statement AGT, amfori, Better Buying, Fair Labor Association, Fair Wear Foundation, ETI Norway and ETI UK, IDH, the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles and Solidaridad expressed deep concern for the health and livelihoods of millions of workers in the clothing industry and their families.
 
Covid-19 is having a devastating impact on the global textile industry. Most factory workers earned too little to care adequately for themselves and their families. As social security systems are lacking in many countries, the current crisis has hit these people particularly hard.

In a joint declaration, ten initiatives and organizations working for better working conditions in the textile industry call on governments and textile companies to take urgent action in the corona crisis.
End of April, the initiatives presented a common vision for social security and responsible entrepreneurship in this crisis.
 
In the joint statement AGT, amfori, Better Buying, Fair Labor Association, Fair Wear Foundation, ETI Norway and ETI UK, IDH, the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles and Solidaridad expressed deep concern for the health and livelihoods of millions of workers in the clothing industry and their families.
 
Covid-19 is having a devastating impact on the global textile industry. Most factory workers earned too little to care adequately for themselves and their families. As social security systems are lacking in many countries, the current crisis has hit these people particularly hard.

Workers need aid funds
In their letter to the governments in the producing countries, the initiatives and organizations appeal to protect the incomes and health of the workers and to support employers in this task: “The factories must pay wages and salaries on time to ensure the workers who remain actively employed. "

If factories have to close temporarily, it should be a top priority for all concerned to support the workers directly or to help them access financial ressources. This is the only way they can bridge the time while they cannot work.

Governments of the importing countries and multilateral organizations should also act now. In addition to providing support for retail and brand companies, they should also provide aid funds for people in the producing countries.

Seven of the ten initiatives and organizations are member-based and represent around 2,000 retail and brand companies that are currently facing immense challenges. Despite the dramatic situation, companies are required to comply with their due diligence requirements and to find solutions together with their business partners. The declaration contains a list of important points that textile companies worldwide should consider.
This includes:  

  • Companies should support factories to implement the necessary security measures to reduce the risk of infection.
  • Orders that have already been completed and are in production should be paid in full if possible.
  • Companies are advised to avoid the termination of planned orders.
  • They should be flexible when factories have to change delivery times and / or change payment methods.
  • They should not end business relationships without first looking for alternatives with their local partners.

Rehearsal for the future
Urgent action is now necessary in the crisis. But long-term systemic improvements in textile supply chains should already be considered and shaped. Fair payment and partnership-based cooperation between retailers, brands and suppliers should become the “new normal” after the crisis and are just as important as social security.    

"The current situation also offers the opportunity to make social security systems more sustainable so that times of unemployment do not immediately threaten the existence of workers," the statement said. The initiatives and organizations are also working on additional recommendations to support companies and other actors in the post-crisis period.

The text of the declaration is available for separate download.

Source:

Partnership for Sustainable Textiles

Bild: Christine Sponchia auf Pixabay
05.05.2020

COVID-19: German Down and Feather Industry exemplary in Terms of Hygiene

  • Update on the economic situation of the industry
  • Supply availability secured for the next half-year
  • E-commerce wins in the crisis
  • Sector survey of the Association of the German Down and Feather Industry VDFI and Traumpass e.V. on the occasion of the Corona crisis

The corona pandemic not only poses great challenges for each and every one of us, but also for our businesses as an industry. The decisions of the Federal Government and the federal states to close down shops and restrict freedom of mobility have hit the predominantly medium-sized down and feather industry hard, not only on the sales side, but also through their trading partners. The declining demand was compounded by the industry's international dependencies within the supply chains, since the filling material, the covers and the packaging materials are largely imported.

  • Update on the economic situation of the industry
  • Supply availability secured for the next half-year
  • E-commerce wins in the crisis
  • Sector survey of the Association of the German Down and Feather Industry VDFI and Traumpass e.V. on the occasion of the Corona crisis

The corona pandemic not only poses great challenges for each and every one of us, but also for our businesses as an industry. The decisions of the Federal Government and the federal states to close down shops and restrict freedom of mobility have hit the predominantly medium-sized down and feather industry hard, not only on the sales side, but also through their trading partners. The declining demand was compounded by the industry's international dependencies within the supply chains, since the filling material, the covers and the packaging materials are largely imported. The closure of the borders within Europe and the overall tense global logistics situation contributed significantly to the worsening of the situation.
 
In the past few days, the federal and state governments have started cautious attempts to ease the contact bans and to revive the economy with a sense of proportion. The opening of shops and the continuation of business activities prompted the down and feather associations to question the status quo of the sector with an extensive survey.

Although the companies named significant losses in their turnover, they currently still got off relatively lightly compared with other sectors. Two thirds of the companies stated that they had suffered up to 25% sales losses due to the corona crisis. Approximately 17% reported a decline of up to 50%, the ones with same percentage were much harder hit with a decline of up to 75%.

On the occasion of Heimtextil in January 2020, the association's sector statement had described the position of the specialised trade as still stable from the bedding manufacturers' point of view: By expanding the range of services, such as cleaning down and feathers or refilling existing bedding, the local store was increasingly becoming a point of contact for consumers. Supporting the advisory competence and the deployment of sleep experts made an impact. This picture has changed significantly as a result of the contact ban:

The clear loser in terms of demand on the various sales channels, caused by the shop closures, was the traditional retail: 92% of the surveyed manufacturing companies registered declining demand for the retail trade, 90% for the furniture trade and 80% for the specialty stores. Even for the discounters, whose opening hours were not affected, 33% noted a drop in demand; 44% estimated the demand situation as unchanged. The winner in the crisis was the e-commerce, although perhaps to a lesser extent than expected: 45% of the German down and feather producers recorded an increase in demand, 36% estimated the level as unchanged.

In terms of supply capability, the industry in Germany considers itself as well positioned: Two thirds see no bottlenecks for the fulfilment of closed contracts within the next three months, and the majority also offers free capacities beyond that. And 55% guarantee this ability to deliver even for the next six months, including the satisfaction of additional requirements.

While 2019 was a year of consolidation for the German down and feather sector and, after difficult months with sharply increased raw material prices, a calming down on a high level prevailed, good results from the previous year were maintained and, in some cases, even increased, the assessment for 2020 is much more pessimistic.

As far as the price situation for the coming autumn/winter season is concerned, member companies were correspondingly cautious in their forecasts.    
The unresolved and in some cases very fragile situation in the supplier countries currently not allows to make reliable statements. At the earliest in late summer, a well-founded opinion can be obtained. Especially since 45% of the companies expect to be confronted with requests for price reductions.
 
The down and feather industry is a professional when it comes to hygiene. The highest purity requirements are placed on down and feathers: Before being used as filling material, they must be cleaned by thorough water washing and dried at a temperature of at least 100°C, usually higher. This ensures that bedding meets the hygiene requirements of European Standard EN 12935 with reliably killing bacteria, viruses and other germs. In addition to the applicable standards, the companies have taken additional precautions to protect employees, trade partners and consumers.

In addition to the intensive workplace and hand disinfection, which all manufacturers have increased, the companies focused particularly on the equalization of the workforce. 73% designed home office workplaces for employees outside production, 45% introduced strict shift separation, two thirds shifted working hours and changed the use of common rooms in order to have as few employees as possible in the company at the same time and thus minimized the risk of infection. At the same time, many companies started the production of mouth and nose masks and made their sewing facilities available for this purpose. A list of the manufacturing companies is available from the Association of the German Down and Feather Industry VDFI e.V.

With the start of the lockdown, the German government had announced extensive financial aid, which focused on bridging payments for small businesses, granting loans, short-time work and tax deferrals. Improvements had to be made for small and medium-sized enterprises. In the recent weeks, the sector has not primarily addressed the question for bridging loans nor reducing the interest burden; emergency aid in the form of financial injections and non-repayable grants was also of interest only to one third. The majority of the association members concentrated on measures to secure liquidity (45%), tax deferrals and the suspension of advance payments of VAT (73%) as well as the changeover to short-time work (73%) and the accelerated processing and granting of short-time work compensation (45%). Also, two thirds requested binding statements on the easing of the contact ban and on the economic upturn.

An update on the industry survey is planned for late summer 2020.

Source:

VDFI e.V. / Traumpass e.V.

Foto: Pixabay
01.04.2020

COVID-19 | Strengthening ambulant Home Care

... to relieve the Burden on Hospitals

In order to relieve the clinics in the coming weeks and months in the fight against COVID-19, ambulant care, for example of home-ventilated patients by homecare companies, must not be neglected.

"Homecare companies that provide patients with respiratory therapies, artificial nutrition and other vital medical aids in their home environment are part of the critical infrastructure and must now also be strengthened. We also need a protective umbrella for this ambulant care of seriously chronically ill patients", demanded BVMed Managing Director Dr. Marc-Pierre Möll. Together with 15 other associations, BVMed has presented a corresponding position paper on the topic of "Relieving the burden on clinics through safe outpatient care with medical aids" in the "Interest Group for the Provision of Medical Aids" (IGHV).

The IGHV paper lists the following demands, among others:    

... to relieve the Burden on Hospitals

In order to relieve the clinics in the coming weeks and months in the fight against COVID-19, ambulant care, for example of home-ventilated patients by homecare companies, must not be neglected.

"Homecare companies that provide patients with respiratory therapies, artificial nutrition and other vital medical aids in their home environment are part of the critical infrastructure and must now also be strengthened. We also need a protective umbrella for this ambulant care of seriously chronically ill patients", demanded BVMed Managing Director Dr. Marc-Pierre Möll. Together with 15 other associations, BVMed has presented a corresponding position paper on the topic of "Relieving the burden on clinics through safe outpatient care with medical aids" in the "Interest Group for the Provision of Medical Aids" (IGHV).

The IGHV paper lists the following demands, among others:    

  • Auxiliary means providers must be considered as a central stabilizer of outpatient care when distributing protective equipment.
  • Compensation payments must - analogous to the regulations for hospitals and doctors - also extend to service providers and manufacturers of medical aids.
  • The providers and manufacturers of assistive devices are system-relevant partners of outpatient care and as such part of the critical infrastructure. They must be involved in the corresponding exemption regulations and support measures.

 "Homecare professionals need medical protective equipment because they provide care directly to the patient. It is important to recognize and promote this vital patient care in the home environment or care facilities as part of the critical infrastructure," says BVMed Managing Director Möll.

The homecare companies organized at BVMed are increasingly reporting massive problems in the procurement of the necessary protective equipment such as protective masks and glasses. If the necessary medical devices can no longer be procured, the nursing staff of the homecare companies are thus unable to provide outpatient care for this often-geriatric patient group. "The patients would then have to be admitted to hospitals, which is absolutely counterproductive in the current situation," BVMed already complained in mid-March in a letter to the Federal Government Commissioner for Nursing Care.
The additional expenses for coronavirus-related additional expenses of the providers of medical aids should also be reimbursed to them.

Analogous to the regulations for hospitals, the homecare companies also require a corresponding surcharge for medical protective equipment for cases in which protective clothing must be used due to an infection or a suspected case.

More information:
corona virus BVMed
Source:

BVMed