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From The Editor
James M. Borneman, Editor In Chief

Ahead Of The Curve

James M. Borneman, Editor In Chief

The dynamics of innovation in today's textile business environment have new dimensions and dramatic urgency. The Textile World 2003 Innovation Award winner is focused on meeting challenges beyond product and process invention, though it has no short supply of either. Rather, it is on the development of the company as a whole that sets it apart from traditional competitors and bolsters it from becoming obsolete as supply chains continue to shorten.

What would you say to the simple strategy of delivering branded consumer products that meet or exceed retailers' demands for variety, exclusivity and price, and creating value and ease of consumer access through bundling and collections of themed products - all while striking a balance between domestic manufacturing and foreign sourcing? Mix in 116 years of company and family history, impressive financial and business savvy, and pretty soon you have a portrait of the Textile World 2003 Innovation Award honoree - Springs Industries Inc.

Embracing sourcing as part of a strategy to meet consumer demands has raised many an eyebrow - and a little blood pressure as well - but Springs is not shy about this aspect of its business. Sourcing has made a difference. Throughout its domestic manufacturing operations, there is the prevailing sense that product coming out of each plant is made there because it makes sense to make it there. Every plant has crushed traditional production cycle times, and embraced shorter runs and multiple pattern changes. There is an eagerness to hone the value further, all the while focusing on products that are advantageous to manufacture domestically.

The evolution of Springs is highlighted by the company's ability to remain consistently ahead of the curve. It shepherds a compelling brand strategy that takes the consumer beyond individual products. It serves retailers as customers in multiple categories, from mass merchandiser to specialty. The company positions its manufacturing base to link speed-to-market initiatives with consumer-friendly style and design. Investment, in both capital equipment and acquisitions, enhances its role and value in the supply chain it serves. Real initiatives enhance logistics, giving the company a competitive advantage.

TW congratulates Springs for making innovation key to its success in product, process, marketing and logistics.

June 2003