Specialty Fabrics Review May 2019 - 61

WWII brought about changes in
materials-plastics and polymers-unchaining
the manufacturing world from the seasonal
fiber production and variations of cotton,
wool, linen, flax and hemp. Year-round
manufacturing adapted nylon, rayon, acetate
and polyesters into new and different products
the world had never seen.
THE THIRD
INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION
The 1960s-1980s added widespread use of
computers to manufacturing, the personal
computer, the internet, cell phones and aerospace. This period introduced improved strategies for manufacturing and communications
between people and machinery, reducing
labor-intensive processes and managing
resources, components and the production
floor including:
*JIT (just-in-time manufacturing-1970s)
*Kaizen (1985); the Japanese
word for "improvement"
*Six Sigma (1986), ISO 9001 (1987)
These systems rapidly improved
manufacturing agility, profitability and
competitive edge in working with demanding
retailers, while also getting manufacturers
closer to consumers and the pulse of buying
trends. Internally, mills could rapidly connect
production with in-the-moment sales data
that the mechanical machinery did not have.
Adding computers to textile machines:
*vastly expanded design capabilities
*reduced design time from days to hours
*eliminated redundant tasks
*allowed machines to be
electronically calibrated
*removed human error and
dependence on technicians
*streamlined technicians' work
Basic electronics gave way to the digital age.
Photoshop® was invented in 1988. Computeraided design (CAD) systems gave designers and
engineers creative control of their products
beyond simple designs. Factories, which were
vertical, could now be global. Factories that
did not shift from mechanical to digital went
the way of the buggy whip.
The 1990s brought us WYSIWYG (What
You See Is What You Get), where CAD
systems created manufacturing programs
automatically. Why? Because China joined

the World Trade Organization (WTO) and
machine builders found themselves needing
to sell and train entire workforces quickly.
WYSIWYG became the new normal in
manufacturing as fabrication shifted overseas
and companies focused less on the technical
aspects of making textiles and more on
marketing and sales. Adapting to the pulse of
the market has been key to many brands' and
manufacturers' retail competitive advantages.
Just when global manufacturing seemed
to be a well-oiled machine, something
happened. In 2007 another revolution,
smartphones, digitally connected what is
now more than 2.1 billion mobile phone
users. The internet has become the corner
store, connecting buyers from every corner of
the world, sellers of all sizes, and commerce in
small and large transactions. Taking pictures,
communicating, banking, shopping and
doing business would never be the same again.

AS TECHNOLOGY
ADVANCES,
CONSUMERS ARE
DEMANDING THAT
CHANGE BE FASTER
THAN SEEMS
HUMANLY POSSIBLE.

Did you know?
Every employee of IFAI member companies
has access to market-specific information
through publications, divisions, events,
webinars, training videos and more.

INFORMATION

Learn more > IFAI.com

www.SpecialtyFabricsReview.com 61


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Specialty Fabrics Review May 2019

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