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From The Editor
James M. Borneman, Editor In Chief

New Ball Game

James M. Borneman, Editor In Chief

F lexibility, innovation, cooperation and globalization,” states Textile World ’s economics editor, Robert Reichard, are keys to survival in today’s textile industry — and onward into 2003. TW ’s annual forecast is shaped in this most uncertain of times. Concerns over war in the Middle East, increasing effects of trade with China and the major restructuring of the US textile complex create an atmosphere in which cautious optimism is achieved only after significant due diligence.

All members of the industry have felt the sting of restructuring in one form or another. Manufacturers and suppliers continue to fight to survive, quickly adapting their businesses to meet the challenges of the textile marketplace.

As one textile executive said recently, ”These difficult times have made typical decisions critical, and the penalty for a mis-step can be dramatic.”

Capital spending is essential to meet the growing demand for innovative products. Investments, as Reichard points out, are linked to “a more hard-headed approach” based on “spending better rather than spending more.” That makes this ITMA year more interesting than ever and puts a premium on innovative technology. Leaner budgets mean capital projects will fight harder for corporate dollars and will need complete support — both strategically and financially — to gain the green light.

Recent articles have highlighted supply chain management and the collaborative demands of the industry. This year, additional opportunities arise to forge new links and establish relationships as textilecompanies migrate to more effective marketing and supply chain relationships.

Leading textile companies have entered the consumer marketplace — isolating needs for innovative products, pushing research and development to create new textile products and establishing direct relationships through branded consumer products.

Western Hemisphere-based trade, with all of its challenges, will continue to be a hot button issue in 2003 for apparel-related textiles. The advent of free trade agreements similar to NAFTA with Central and South America may put a new spin on the ball.

As 2002 passes into history, and the base is built for repositioning textiles, the “smaller, leaner and more efficient operations” of today are poised to ring in 2003. As Reichard says, ” textiles have become a whole new ball game.”

January 2003