Interview with Mr Constantine Raptis

Face2Face
Mr Constantine Raptis
Mr Constantine Raptis
President and CEO
Werner International
Werner International

Headquartered in Washington DC, incorporated in 1939, Werner International is a management consulting practice specialized exclusively in the fiber, textile and fashion industry globally. Group’s services range from industrial and technology support for setting-up, improving and restructuring textile and clothing manufacturing operations to strategy and marketing services for new market entry, new product development, supply chain management, branding, retailing, partner search and future strategies build-up. Werner is unique among world-leading consulting companies in being able to combine specialized expertise in the technical areas with global marketing and strategy know-how and networking. Mr Constantine Raptis is President and CEO of Werner. He did textile engineering from Industrial Institute of Textile Technology in Naples, Italy. Post studies, he emigrated to Canada and started to work for Dobbi Industries as well as in Dominion Textiles, while continuing his studies at Mohawk College in Hamilton Ontario and Brook University in Saint Catherine in Ontario, Canada. He gradually worked his way up and became Production Manager at Glendale Spinning, Canada. In 1975 he joined as consultant at Werner International, and in 1980 he was promoted to Supervisory Consultant with the responsibility for a team of consultants. Some years later he became Technical Manager, then Area Manager and from 1990 to 1996 he held the position of Executive Vice President in Werner International. From 1997 onwards he was President and COO, responsible worldwide for all assignments undertaken by Werner International. In 2000, Mr Raptis became the sole owner of the Company. Mr Raptis still maintains a direct interest in the industry and while undertaking his overall company responsibilities, continues to develop and refine consulting services to the industry. He is a member of several institutes and associations in various countries, and a fellow (FTI) in the Textile Institute. He is considered amongst world’s leading experts in terms of technical innovation and implementation particularly in the field of weaving technology . Mr Raptis is well known in a multitude of leading textile companies around the globe for his clear views on manufacturing strategy and successful transfer of management technology. Speaking candidly with Face2Face, Mr Raptis brings to light current milieu in global textile, garment and retail industries.

Mr Raptis, Face2Face is delighted to welcome you on this talk. To begin with, I wish you share with us a brief on how Werner started in market research and consulting, and what niche it enjoys in the world of textile & garments.

Thanks, It’s very nice to have a talk with F2F. Werner International has a long and fascinating history. We started in the late 40’s in Europe to move soon to the US as an engineering consulting firm solely specialized in Textiles and Apparel Manufacturing.

We were pioneers in globalization with our consultants active on all continents in the early fifties. As you well know, over the last 60 years, the Textile and Apparel industry has continuously been relocating and repositioning. We were definitively a driving force in helping the Industry to adjust to such a tremendous challenge in many different contexts such as Italy, Portugal, Turkey, South America, India or China. Since the early 70’s we have broadened our services to support institutional clients as well as more strategic and marketing needs, but always keeping ourselves very focused on our industry which has its own characteristics and needs to be intimately known and understood. Specialization is our creed.

So, as a consultant, how does Werner realize its role and responsibilities in sake of textile, garment and retail industry?

We have always been very pragmatic and realistic. Our consultants have all joined us after successful carriers in the Industry. In a way, you could say that we are not typical ‘modern’ consultants. We like to talk about what we know. Besides, our vision and experiences are truly global and integrated along the textile supply chain. This is a great advantage and a unique expertise. Additionally we really believe in customized strategies and sound implementation. We do not work with pre-packaged intervention models and we often provide invaluable ‘networking’ assistance between companies across the globe. The extreme fragmentation of our industry has been strongly challenged by globalization of markets, retailers and brands.

Well then, how do you envision trends in the global textile and retail market here on?

The Industry is undergoing another terrific phase of transformation. The current market crisis has clearly accelerated this evolution but it is not easy to say what it will eventually look like in 10 years time. There are always new dynamics coming up and exchange rates can easily alter competitiveness equilibriums, particularly for the most cost sensitive product categories which have been migrating in the last 30 years in search of ultimate competitiveness. Then, there are also the luxury segments of the market which until recently remained expensive but differentiating Western productions. This part of the market is now considerably suffering, and this puts a big question mark on the future of industrial textile and apparel productions in expensive countries such as Italy, Spain or Eastern Europe. At Werner, we tend to believe that productions will not concentrate and there will still be room for productions at a higher relative cost, provided that they are differentiated, service oriented and of high quality.

Published on: 14/09/2009

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.

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