Specialty Fabrics Review May 2020 - 6

BRIEFINGS

FORETHOUGHT

Protecting humans just
got even more important

S

Steve Schiffman
IFAI President/CEO

uddenly, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Personal Protective
Equipment (PPE) has become a hot commodity and an oftenheard phrase on the lips of government officials, members of the
media and the general public. But IFAI member companies and the
textile industry at large have always known that the purpose of fabrics has
been to offer protection-health-related and otherwise-to humans.
The textile industry has had a key part to play in this crisis, but it's far
from business as usual. IFAI has conducted a variety of webinars to find
out what our members are doing for their customers, their employees,
their communities and the country. Member companies are openly
sharing the steps they're taking now, what issues they feel are paramount
and what they anticipate in the next few months.
Many IFAI member organizations are directly involved in
manufacturing or providing inputs for PPE, and right now, numerous
companies are in the process of pivoting to make face masks and shields,
medical linens and other items to meet the demands of health-care
workers and consumers.
For many companies that have been experiencing work slowdowns or
shutdowns, nothing is more difficult than having to lay off and/or furlough
employees. Companies that remain busy face risks too. Manufacturers have
reorganized their processes and procedures to mitigate the health and safety
risks of employees working during the pandemic. Businesses that pivot to
manufacturing new products face the risk of being left with unused supplies
and unsold inventory when the demand for PPE diminishes.
There have been challenges in getting the various parts of the supply
chain to connect and become reliable and efficient. This has created the
opportunity for new communication channels to help us better serve
IFAI members during this crisis. IFAI along with the National Council
of Textile Organizations (NCTO) and Association of the Nonwoven
Fabrics Industry (INDA) quickly built on existing relationships to form
a partnership to address the supply chain issues. Through our collaboration
the COVID-19 Production Capacity Database was created. The database
includes finished goods and input information on PPE that is now being
used by both the U.S. government and private industry.
IFAI staff also created IFAI's COVID-19 Resource Center (www.ifai.com/
covid-19). This website is a frequently updated hub that aggregates a variety of
information, including government news, financial resources and companies'
offerings for products, services and equipment. Educational training is
posted along with sourcing requests and opportunities. IFAI is also including

The scientific nature of the
ordinary man
Is to go on out and do the
best you can.
~John Prine,
"Humidity Built the Snowman"

information shared by our members and
other industry associations. Along with
NCTO and INDA, SEAMS and SPESA have
been essential partners in this process. Other
critical resources, such as patterns for PPE
manufacturing, are on the site. IFAI will
continue to provide updates on the crisis
as a trusted and valuable resource as
information changes or becomes available.
There will be many questions in the
months and years ahead about COVID19: What were the lessons learned?
What was the impact on manufacturing
and business at large as the unthinkable
becomes the new normal? The industry has
come together, and existing relationships
and business practices are proving to be
good investments. IFAI's long-standing
government relations program through
the U.S. Industrial Fabrics Institute and
Narrow Fabrics divisions has proven very
valuable as much of our government insight
has come directly through this program.
IFAI is sharing the work of these divisions
with members and nonmembers to help
provide the best possible outcomes for our
communities and industries at large.
A great deal of industry analysis remains
in the months ahead, but when COVID19 fades from the news it's likely that
infections were better contained because
of the protections offered by PPE and the
ingenuity of textile professionals like you.
Please stay safe and well.

Direc

i

6 REVIEW MAY 2020

0520RV_p1-21.indd 6

4/20/20 8:27 AM


http://www.ifai.com/

Specialty Fabrics Review May 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Specialty Fabrics Review May 2020

Specialty Fabrics Review May 2020 - Cover1
Specialty Fabrics Review May 2020 - Cover2
Specialty Fabrics Review May 2020 - 1
Specialty Fabrics Review May 2020 - 2
Specialty Fabrics Review May 2020 - 3
Specialty Fabrics Review May 2020 - 4
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Specialty Fabrics Review May 2020 - Cover3
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