Specialty Fabrics Review July 2021 - 28

STATE
OF
THE
INDUSTRY
Fig. 8
Fig. 9
IMPACTFUL TRENDS
ON BUSINESS IN THE
NEXT 2 YEARS
% reporting trend is extremely
or very impactful
IMPORTANCE OF STRATEGIC DEVELOPMENT AREAS TO
BUSINESS GROWTH IN THE NEXT TWO YEARS
Research and development
Employee development programs
Product diversification
Improvements to supply chain/logistics
45%
New fabric technologies
41%
Increased demands for
personalization/customization
39%
Sustainability/environmentally
friendly practices
31%
Smaller runs/smaller batches
27%
Changes to building codes
13%
Wide format printing
28 SPECIALTY FABRICS REVIEW / July 2021
Enhancing ability to provide customized products
Data analytical capabilities
Implementing automation
Need for capital/funding
Public/private partnerships
60%
50%
36%
38%
More important to
the medical market
% reporting area is extremely or very important to strategic growth
74%
74%
70%
70%
66%
value derived from automation
(e.g., the return on the investment
isn't enough to justify the cost of
the automation equipment).
Top challenges
Despite the slowdown of the U.S. and
world economies in 2020, businesses
in the industry reported that their top
challenge was finding skilled labor.
More than half struggle to fill both
full- and part-time positions (Fig. 7).
In addition, problems caused by the
pandemic including employees who
lacked child care and employees
needing to work from home were
mentioned as top-of-mind challenges.
Several specifically mentioned the lack
of a trained workforce as a barrier to
increased automation.
Another top challenge in 2020
was shipping delays from suppliers,
which affected only 29% in 2019 but
increased to 53% in 2020. Delays in
deliveries to customers was also a
top concern. On the positive side,
the proportion of businesses facing
competition from low-cost global
imports decreased in 2020. It was the
only challenge that was faced by fewer
businesses in 2020 than in 2019.
Top trends
The most impactful trend mentioned
was " new fabric technologies "
(Fig. 8). Along the same lines,
research and development was listed
as most important to strategic plans
(Fig. 9). This trend is most likely
to affect those who serve the smart
fabrics/e-textiles, consumer products
and hospitality markets.
Following " new fabric trends, "
increased demands for personalization
and customization is considered
impactful to 41% of businesses, most
frequently to equipment manufacturers.
That said, 85% of businesses already
produce customized/personalized
products. An average of 52% of
revenue is derived from customized/
personalized products. Two-thirds of
organizations mention that enhancing
their ability to provide customization/
personalization will be important to
their strategic growth.
Sustainability and environmentally
friendly practices will affect 39% of
respondents spread across all business
types. Those who serve the mining
market and the smart fabrics/
e-textiles market will be most
affected by this trend.

Specialty Fabrics Review July 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Specialty Fabrics Review July 2021

Specialty Fabrics Review July 2021 - Cover1
Specialty Fabrics Review July 2021 - Cover2
Specialty Fabrics Review July 2021 - 1
Specialty Fabrics Review July 2021 - 2
Specialty Fabrics Review July 2021 - 3
Specialty Fabrics Review July 2021 - 4
Specialty Fabrics Review July 2021 - 5
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Specialty Fabrics Review July 2021 - 8
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Specialty Fabrics Review July 2021 - Cover3
Specialty Fabrics Review July 2021 - Cover4
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