New Ball Game

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.

’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

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