SEW TIME

Three sewn products events set

May 23, 2004

ATLANTA — Three events centered around the sewn prod- ucts industries co-located at the Miami Beach Convention Center this week.

Occurring May 18-20,SPESA Expo, Material World and Technology Solutions held itstriennial trade shows under the same roof,bringing together machinery and equip- ment,fabric/findings,sourcing and information technology.

“Supporting and serving the business goals of our members is paramount to how we measure success at AAFA (the American Apparel &Footwear Association),” said Kevin M.. Burke, president and CEO of AAFA,which produces Material World and co-produces Technology Solutions. “By featuring the full complement of the supply chain under one roof , these events maximize the business opportunities for those within our industry.”

The decision to co-locate these events was based on changes within the industry as well as timing, according to show officials.By bringing together all aspects of the supply chain this year, organizers said they hope to arm attendees with the products and information needed to gear up for quota removal,changing technologies,evolving trends and other industry developments anticipated for 2005 and beyond.

Owned and produced by Sewn Products Equipment & Suppliers of the Americas SPESA), SPESA Expo is the only exhibition in the Western Hemisphere where attendees can see the full array of machinery and technology for all sectors of the sewn products industry.

The exposition serves as a comprehensive resource with seminars and educational events that support and augment attendees’ use and knowledge of today’s technology.

Material World is the major fabric,trim,and full-package sourcing event for the sewn products industry. Owned and managed by Urban Expositions, Material World also featured a comprehensive roster of educational programs, networking events, product packaging and trend pavilions.

SPESA, AAFA and Urban Expositions jointly produce Technology Solutions, which showcases all aspects of information technology for the sewn products industry. An educational track targeted specifically to the IT professionals that support all segments of the sewn products industries is also a key part of the event.

The AAFA Sourcing Summit headlines the extensive educational programming. Material World featured a comprehensive educational program addressing the latest news and key developments in the areas of trend, color, technology, legislation and design. Among highlights is the opening headliner held May 18 from 7:45 a.m. until 10 a.m.

AAFA will brought together a panel of industry leaders for the summit, including Wes Card, chief financial officer and chief operating officer, Jones Apparel Group, Inc; Martin Marlow, executive vice president, Off- Shore Sourcing, Jones Apparel Group, Inc; Steve Duffy, executive vice president and president of Global Operations, Wolverine World Wide; Art Croci, president of Global Sourcing, Wolverine World Wide; Terry Lay, vice president and chairman, Outdoor and International Jeanswear Coalitions, VF Corporation; and Tom Glaser, managing director, VF Global Sourcing.

In addition to product, packaging and sourcing opportunities, the event will feature a number of unique trend pavilions highlighting the color, fabric and trim elements expected to define the fashion for spring/summer 2005. In addition, color and trend presentations from Cotton Incorporated and WGSN were also a key part of the event. SPESA Expo and Technology Solutions also had educational programs on tap. An open floor plan and single admission badge provided attendees a seamless opportunity to visit the three events.


NTA forms council
to address issues of flammability

May 23, 2004

BOSTON — At the request of its members, the National Textile Association (NTA) said formed the Upholstery Fabrics Council to ensure that its members’ interests are represented clearly in a variety of government issues.

Among those issues: the furniture flammability rule making that is entering its final phase at the U. S. Consumer pr o d u c t Sa f e t y Commiss i o n (CPSC).

NTA members who manufacture upholstery fabrics held the inaugural meeting of the council on April 22 in New York City. Roger Berkley, president and CEO of Weave Corp. , Hackensack, NJ, was elected chairman of the council. Charter members of the council are American Silk Mills Corp. , Craftex Mills Inc. of PA, Milliken & Company, Quaker Fabrics Corp. , Sunbury Textile Mills, Inc. , Wearbest Siltex Mills, LTD and Weave Corp.

“This is a very constructive move for the manufactures in our industry to come together under the leadership of the National Textile Association, ” Berkley said. “NTA is a flexible and highly focused group that can serve the needs of the upholstery and decorative fabrics industries. ”

In January NTA brought Hardy Poole, former vice president of Product Services and corporate secretary of the American Textile Manufacturers Institute, on as a staff member to provide staff support for the upholstery, and bed & bath sectors of the industry. Since then, under the guidance of Poole, the group has undertaken significant efforts to bring the longrunning furniture flammability issue to completion. As it enters its final stages, NTA's Upholstery Fabrics Council is coordinating an important interlaboratory study to evaluate the repeatability and reproducibility of the fabric classification test method on which the final federal standard is expected to be based.

In addition to the furniture flammability issues under way at the CPSC and the California Bureau of Home Furnishing and Thermal Insulation (CBHFTI), Poole is working with regulators in California who are developing a rule addressing the flammability of comforters, mattress pads and other “top of the bed” consumer products.

The CBHFTI began a rulemaking proceeding last year in this area and is expected to propose a flammability standard for public comments later this year. Through Poole, the NTA is also providing services in technical textiles, military applications and other regulatory areas of interest to the membership. Karl Spilhaus, president of NTA, emphasized the significant trade issues that face the upholstery fabric manufacturers, particularly products coming from China in the form of roll goods, cut parts and finished products.

“NTA's considerable expertise in the trade area will be brought to bear on behalf of the upholstery manufacturers as well, ” Spilhaus said. Another area of NTA activity of interest to American manufacturers of upholstery fabrics is intellectual property. An association survey of textile manufacturers revealed substantial losses due to international intellectual property (IP) piracy and widespread concern that the U. S. is not doing enough to protect the designs, patents and trademarks of American companies as it opens its markets to more and more imports from China and other sources. NTA has prepared a white paper to the U. S. Department of Commerce on the growing threat of IP violations in the textile industry.


Under Campbell, SCMA
enjoyed ‘very good year’

Q&A

May 23, 2004

Campbell

Editor's note: Following is a Q&A with Paul G. Campbell, Jr. , chairman of the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance (SCMA) who recently retired as Southeast Regional president for Alcoa, Goose Creek, SC, and now serves as an industry consultant. Campbell and his group head to Sea Island, GA, for their 102nd annual meeting May 2022. His responses come in questions posed to him in written form by Devin Steele, STN editor.

STN:  You are the first person outside the textile industry to hold SCMA's top industry post. What were your goals?

Campbell: We had several legislative goals among which are/ were work ing — passing the “at will leg islation, ” which is done; working with tort reform, where much progress has been made; wet testing, or putting science back into effluent analyses and keeping manufacturing out of the bad headlines for doing good things; watching tax reform to protect manufacturing, which I think was very successfully done but we remain guarded because the legislature is still in session; and working with workers' compensation reform, where some progress was made, but will be a major thrust for 2005 legislation.

Overall, we have had a very good year with our legislative initiatives. Membership was very important with increased emphasis on retention. (SCMA Vice Chairman) Malloy Evans has done an outstanding job here. We have active committees and councils that individually and collectively both guard manufacturers against legislation and regulation and proactively pursue issues where we add to our communities and South Carolina's advantage. This has gone very well this year.

STN:  How did you, your administration, staff and membership go about reaching those goals to better the manufacturing sector and SCMA?

Campbell: We worked in our committee structure, with our councils and as ‘grass roots’ individuals/businesses to accomplish these goals. The professionals on staff — Kim (Beardon) on legislative issues, Gloria (Freeman) on organization and meetings, Julia (Crosby) on membership, Jessica (Watts) on and supportive of all these with Lewis (Gossett) — really make what we do efficient and facilitates our members ’ time commitment. Our membership is made up of leaders from across the state, leaders who step forward when needed, leaders who make things happen for manufacturing. This has really made my job both a pleasure and much more efficient for me.

STN:  What are the some of the other issues the Alliance worked on during the year?

Campbell: In conjunction with the HR committee, we had a conference on best practices and current issues for our membership. Working with the American Chemical Council and our Chemical Council, we sponsored the displays and participated in the “Train for Safety ” tour for the stop made in South Carolina. Our plant managers had several events, including a very good conference that featured our U. S. Senatorial candidates’ debate.

We participated with BIPEC's annual meeting featuring several politicians and debates. We continue to meet regularly with our political leaders concerning manufacturing issues.

At our winter meeting, we had legislative leaders speak to us, along with a reception hosted by Gov. (Mark) Sanford at the Governor's Mansion. Our Boards and Commissions Committee has been effective in getting our members onto the right boards and commissions. We also had an outstanding year for safety. During our Plant Safety Conference, we had 124 of our plants recognized for outstanding safety practices. These are just a few of the activities that come to mind.

STN:  How did manufacturing numbers stack up last year compared to the previous year in the state and what have we seen so far in 2004? How is SCMA working to encourage manufacturing investment in the state?

Campbell: I cannot give you numbers at this point, but can confirm that our membership growth is positive, that we have strong participation in all our functions. We remain concerned about job losses from our existing manufacturing community and have made attempts to share our concerns about currencies, especially the Chinese yuan being pegged to the dollar and the impact this is having on our manufacturers and jobs. We are working with Gov. Sanford and have made contact with our U. S. legislators concerning these issues.

STN:  What is your message to lawmakers that manufacturing does matter to this country and your state?

Campbell:  I feel very strongly that manufacturing is the “goose that lays the golden egg ” when it comes to jobs and opportunities for South Carolinians to make improvements in the quality of life. We, our manufactures, make products literally out of dirt, products that generate jobs and improve the per capita income, products that make life on our planet better for all people the world over.

We make a difference, we add value, we, as (former SC) Senator (Ernest) Hollings said, are the “10 percent of the U. S. that is working while the other 90 percent stand around and watch, ” although that 10 percent number is almost double in South Carolina. When manufacturing does well in South Carolina, South Carolina does well on revenues that are needed to provide services that only government can provide. As goes manufacturing, so goes South Carolina. Really, this applies exactly the same on national bases. If we become a service economy, we are on the slippery slope‚ in the wrong direction. This is the message we have to deliver every day, in every way, in all we do. Let me add that manufacturing is the ticket to the middle class in our country. It is the highestpaying sector. We are usually the best corporate citizens. We form the foundation for the tax base of the community. If the goal in Columbia is to raise the standard of living for South Carolinians, then the first step should be to grow the manufacturing sector in the state. In everything lawmakers do, they should consider the impact of their actions on existing manufacturing and the climate for creating new manufacturing jobs.

STN:  How do SCMA membership numbers compare compared to last year?

Campbell: Our membership continues to grow as we are providing value for the investment in our dues. We have been successful in retention where we have put special emphasis this year. I expect to see us even stronger next year, as we are indeed getting better.

STN:  The percentage of nontextile/apparel manufacturing members has steadily grown since SCMA opened its ranks six years ago. What are those figures today? Who are your new members since last year?

Campbell: We currently have two thirds nontextile and one third textile members. We’re excited to bring more members into the fold, includ ing Lockheed Martin, Smurfit Stone Container Group, Thompson Industrial, Showa Denko Carbon, Jostens, Dillon Yarn Corp. , Hanes Dye & Finishing, ESAB Welding & Cutting, Pfizer, Avondale Mills, Alcoa Telecommunications, Alcoa Home Exteriors and Southern Graphics.

STN:  What are the bright spots in manufacturing in South Carolina?

Campbell: We are seeing many of our industries grow, as parts of the economy are getting better. We are seeing our legislators come back around to see the benefits we bring to the table. The other really great thing I see is the hightech infusion.

I don’t just mean the new darlings. I am talking about our basic manufacturing businesses. You cannot walk into any our members’ businesses and not see technology being applied by all employees.

STN:  What “exciting” is going on within the organization?

Campbell: We are seeing more sharing, more working together, more of a team approach in common manufacturing issues. We are seeing members helping members, of care and concern moving past competition, of folks seeing our real competition is not other South Carolina manufacturers or other U. S. manufacturers but the competition being those that have governmental advantages, of those who compete where the “playing field” is tilted in their favor and away from the U. S. SCMA is a real power in South Carolina, representing the true voice of manufacturing, of being a player on the inside to level this playing field. We are active within our communities, with our educational systems, with our legislature. We are truly making a difference.

STN:  What are a company's benefits of SCMA membership?

Campbell: The benefits are all the things listed above. The benefits are getting your message heard, of getting your point across, of being part of a team that is making a difference.

STN:  What are the biggest challenges facing manufacturing in South Carolina now?

Campbell: We have to be on guard with legislation — tort reform, workers’ comp reform, tax issues with their unintended consequences. We have to be sure we are heard in education so we can get trained employees now and in the future who can handle our new and improving technologies.

The quality of our work force is important. One of ways we have responded is partnering with the South Carolina Policy Council, the South Carolina Business and Industry Political Education Committee and the South Carolina Technical College System to produce a road map for the role of the technical college system in South Carolina's future economic development efforts.

We also have to be sure our federal elected officials see our viewpoint. We have to share our safety information, our environmental methods, our best practices within the prudence of competitive confidentiality so we grow manufacturing in South Carolina, so we help South Carolina's per capita in come get to the level where our citizens can truly have a quality of life.

STN:  How else is SCMA responding to these challenges?

Campbell: We work through our committees, through our councils, through our meetings and conferences. We stay close to issues and make sure our members are aware of the issues.

STN:  Please describe the professional and personal relationship you have with your officers, particularly Malloy Evans of Cheraw Yarn, your expected successor.

Campbell: I treasure the friendships that I have made and nurtured with all our members, but especially with ourboard and executive group. I treasure the friendships that I have with the staff. Malloy will do a great job of leading this organization. He and I have worked closely on all the issues. I really look forward to continuing this relationship as past chairman and pledge to him the kind of support and friendship that (Past Chairman) Mark Kent has provided me. Mark is a great leader and has been very involved with Malloy and me.

What we do is a team effort — not one person. This is what makes us so successful and keeps our success rolling from year to year. We are not a one person show. We have leaders who are willing to step up.

STN:  Lewis Gossett joined the Alliance as president last year. Please comment on the skills he brings to the table.

Campbell: We have been very pleased with Lewis's leadership, with his organizational skills and with his interpersonal skills. Lewis pushes us when needed. He does not let anything slip. His contacts really impress me and he uses them to our advantage. There was no learning curve with Lewis, as he hit the ground running. By the way, he has a great staff that will not let me slow down and keep him focused on the important issues. We are blessed with topnotch folks.

STN:  What “special” do you have planned for the annual meeting? What do you hope members will take away from the event?

Campbell: We definitely have special things planned as we have speakers who are leading South Carolina coming to share their visions with us. We have several activities that folks will enjoy.


Mill Notes

May 23, 2004

VF Corp to acquire Vans, Inc.

GREENSBORO, NC — VF Corporation, the world's largest apparel company, announced that it has signed a definitive merger agreement to acquire Vans, Inc.

The acquisition would launch VF into the large and growing action sports market with one of the industry's leading lifestyle brands. Vans’ sales in fiscal 2003 were $330 million, and the company has indicated that it expects sales of about $346 to $349 million in fiscal 2004, which ends May 31. The transaction, which is set to close early in VF's third quarter, is expected to be neutral to earnings per share this year and slightly accretive in 2005.

Vans, which will become part of VF's Outdoor coalition reporting to Eric Wiseman, will continue to be based in Santa Fe Springs, CA.

WPS gets extension to file reorgation plan

WEST POINT, GA — WestPoint Stevens Inc. announced that on April 22, the U. S. Bankruptcy Court extended the company's exclusive right to file a plan of reorganization through July 29. WestPoint filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in June.

Russell shareholders back move to Delaware

ATLANTA — Russell Corporation announced April 23 that shareholders at its annual meeting approved a proposal to change its state of incorporation from Alabama to Delaware. More than 22 million shares, representing about 69 percent of the outstanding shares, voted in favor of the measure. Immediately prior to the annual meeting, however, Russell received a written notice of dissent from an entity that holds about 10 percent of the company's outstanding shares.

Under Alabama law, a shareholder may dissent from a reincorporation merger prior to the vote and, under certain circumstances, may obtain payment from the company for his or her shares, which could put the move in question. Separately, the company announced that it has signed agreements with two historically black conferences that will serve as the basis for a firstofits kind alliance with the 21 schools represented. The company will supply athletic apparel, team uniforms, balls and sports equipment for the Southwestern Athletic Conference and the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

Fiscal Notes

Russell Corp. reported firstquarter earnings of $500, 000, or 2 cents per diluted share, versus earnings of $3.4 million, or 11 cents per diluted share in the same period last year. Net sales were $251.8 million, a 10 percent increase over the comparable period last year.

VF Corp posted earnings of $103. 9 million, or 93 cents per share, for the first quarter. That was up from $92.1 million, or 83 cents per share, a year earlier. First quarter sales rose 15 percent, to $1.43 billion, from $1.25 billion.

Quaker Fabric Corp. reported net sales of $84.4 million, net income of $24 million and diluted earnings per share of 14 cents for the quarter. For the same period last year, the company registered net sales of $90.2 million, net income of $2.3 million and diluted earnings per share of 14 cents.

The Dixie Group, Inc. reported income of $1.97 million, or 16 cents per diluted share, for the first quarter. For the same period last year, the company made $877,000, or 7 cents per share. Sales were $64.4 million, up 24 percent from $51.9 million.

Delta Apparel announced record sales of $58.8 million and operating earnings of $5.5 million for the third quarter. Sales increased $24.9 million, due primarily to the acquisition of M J. Soffe Co. Net income was $3.8 million from $1.5 million in the prioryear's same quarter.

Ruddick Corp. holding company of American & Efird, reported that A&E's sales declined 8.5 percent to $68.3 million from $74.6 million. A&E's operating profit was $2.2 million from $3.8 million during the same period a year ago.

Wellman, Inc. reported a firstquarter loss of $31.2 million, or 99 cents per diluted share, compared to loss of $105.2 million, or $3.33 per diluted share, during the same period last year. Sales improved to $293.8 million from $273.9 million, an increase of about 7 percent.

Unifi Inc. reported a net loss of $50 million, or 96 cents per share, for its third quarter, from a profit of $1.1 million, or 2 cents per share. Net sales of $190.9 million reflect a decrease of 13.1 percent from $219.6 million.

Polymer Group, Inc. said that its firstquarter sales of $206.7 million represented the highest level of quarterly sales since the second quarter of 2001. Sales were up 5 percent over the same period last year. Gross profit of $38.5 million represented an increase of 15.6 percent over the prior year's comparable period.

Delta Woodside Industries lost $2.3 million, or 40 cents per share, on sales of $37.9 million in the third quarter. The company lost $1.1 million, or 19 cents per share, on sales of $46.5 million for the same quarter last year.

Mohawk Industries, Inc. announced record firstquarter net earnings of $66.3 million, 59 percent above last year, and diluted earnings per share (EPS) of 98 cents. Net sales increased 28 percent to $1.39 billion.

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