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From The Editor Innovation Avondale39 S Way

From The EditorBy James M. Borneman, Editor In Chief

Innovation: Avondale's WayStrategically managing people, plant and product sits at the center of Avondales blueprint for success a demanding approach with very little margin for error.Spend some time with G. Stephen Felker, Avondale Mills chairman, president and CEO, and youll learn very quickly that the companys legacy is appreciated, but making Avondale successful today is the real focus. Felkers balancing of acquisition, investment and capital management is backed by his strong belief that successful U.S. textile companies can have a fit in todays global marketplace.Even in admittedly difficult times of overcapacity and unrealistic currency valuations, Felker is committed to a business model that is about delivering high-quality, low-cost products and services from domestic production.It is the blend of intuitive textile knowledge and a strong business approach that has led Felkers team to build three greenfield plants and fully convert and refit a fourth in recent years. Right-sizing the business in terms of product and capacity led to the difficult decision to curtail two operations, but it also has led to the addition of ring-spinning capacity to meet customer needs.Investments in technology, adjustments to products, and associates who share Felkers commitment to quality have brought each of Avondales 20 plants to profitability a standout accomplishment in difficult times. Quietly making 250 million square yards of denim each year; spinning for its own needs and for its strong sales yarn business; supplying greige fabrics for apparel, industrial and home furnishing markets; and creating specialty products all are based on bringing the right product to market, on time and at the right price.Innovation takes many forms. Some say it is about invention; others, simply the latest and greatest machinery at Avondale, its about selective investment in applied technology. Further, it is about achieving a delicate blend of business sophistication, technology that pays off and delivery of products and services that enable its customers to earn a profit. Each functional area in Avondale Mills whether it be plant operations, sales and marketing, procurement or finance must operate at the highest level so that Avondale, as a whole, hits the sweet spot of Felkers target Avondales blueprint for success. June 2002