(PRWEB) April 19, 2013
Members of the Salvadoran synthetic textile and apparel cluster are preparing to participate in the annual American Apparel Producers’ Network (AAPN) forum in which the theme will be “Apparel Made in the Americas”. This forum seeks to educate and facilitate the exchange of experiences and information on America’s shorter cycle times, new capabilities, speed to market, flexibility, among other important criterion taken into consideration by apparel sourcing executives to select vendors since there seems to be mixed perceptions on the Western Hemisphere’s performance versus the East. Sourcing shifted from the Western Hemisphere due to cost reasons but in the process the region has managed to attract new investments in yarn and fabric production, trims, apparel and related product and services that have strengthen and reinforced the region’s capabilities and have positioned the region as an alternative now that energy and transportation costs in Asia are rising and apparel labor availability in China shrinks.
“As textile mills we have definitely perceived a renewed interest in the DR-CAFTA region on behalf of U.S. and Global apparel sourcing executives in the past three years. We have been constantly receiving sourcing executives in our manufacturing facilities that are exploring and evaluating coming back to the region. They are interested in learning about our capabilities as narrow and wide fabric manufacturers in El Salvador and rediscovering the apparel value chain in the region,” said Dana Barlow, CEO of The Moore Company.
The DR-CAFTA Exports to the U.S. in 2012 reached $7.8 billion and El Salvador (positioned as the 9th apparel supplier) contributed with $1.8 billion in exports and was the only DR-CAFTA country that actually experienced a growth in apparel exports to the U.S.
A robust and vertically integrated synthetic textile manufacturing cluster has developed over the past several years in El Salvador. The eight companies joining forces to promote the cluster include: George C. Moore Company, Darlington Fabrics, Apparel Production Services (APS), CS Central America, Pettenati, TexOps, ProDept and Unifi. For example, George C. Moore and Darlington Fabrics have combined their efforts to expand the region’s capability by locally producing and supplying apparel manufacturers with woven and knit narrow fabric, as well as warp knit stretch fabric for the underwear, intimate apparel, athletic compression, performance apparel, swimwear, orthopedic & medical, industrial and military markets. “George C. Moore has almost seven years of successfully operating in El Salvador where we have received several recognitions from our customers. We have recently been selected for the 2012 Supplier Innovation of the Year Award granted by Fruit of the Loom, Inc. This innovation award is very important for us since it came as a result of our team’s capacity to develop a new style of elastic and to lead the transition without any lost production and on-time delivery. I am very proud of our workforce in El Salvador since they constantly maintain the highest levels of quality and service and the company supports innovation executed by our employees by making the necessary investments in equipment to satisfy the specific needs of our customers,” said Andrew Dreher, Senior Vice President of George C. Moore.
The AAPN carried out a research to understand the perceptions of 13 senior sourcing executives about sourcing in Asia versus sourcing in the Americas. This research provided feedback on the performance of the Western Hemisphere in areas such as apparel suppliers’ knowledge and experience with US markets, vertical integration of the value chain, speed, costs, ease of doing business, product development capabilities, social compliance and risk assessment. One of the biggest advantages of the East is the greater number and selection of textile inputs, although they do acknowledge West is definitely expanding in performance fabrics. “On this survey it was mentioned that the West needs more synthetics, for which as members of the synthetic textile and apparel cluster in El Salvador we definitely know we are on the right path but we are also well aware of the fact that sourcing in the region will not increase only for one country or one company, we need to grow and work as a region” said Steve Perry, Senior Vice President of Darlington Fabrics. “Despite the challenges of the West versus the East in terms of costs, flexibility, verticality, among others, the gap between the two regions is not as pronounced as we would have expected (3.1 vs. 3.5), so this is definitely an opportunity to take this feedback and work as a region to address and overcome our weaknesses,” S. Perry added.