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.
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.