The Americas Apparel Producers’ Network (AAPN) online Sourcing Center continues to produce for the medical community during the coronavirus crisis. Within 10 minutes of launching the center on March 22, the Center had its first post. As of April 3, it has had more than 10,000 views, more than 3,500 are now registered users, and there have been nearly 500 posts.
Users have come from every corner of the industry including members of NAUMD (uniforms), IFAI (fabric), INDA (nonwovens), SPESA (equipment), SEAMS (regional) and AAFA (lobby). In turn, word of mouth from our members to their customers; from articles posted in journals; from blogs and websites across the industry have brought people into the exchange.
Making sense of all of these producers has fallen on the shoulders of AAPN president Ed Gribbin, CEO of Gribbin Strategic. Ed created a massive spreadsheet (posted in the Sourcing Center) detailing who offered what. Gribbon has also worked to “connect the dots” required to make 50,000 medical gowns for a large hospital chain. He found the requisite fabric early but locating cut/sew capability in the US has been challenging.
One factory committed to help Ed had to back out because upon calling their 140 sewing operators back to work, the vast majority declined. Their reasons were health concerns and childcare primarily, as well as realizing they’d make more from stimulus payments and unemployment.
On the other hand, one AAPN member wrote, “Hard to understand how any right-minded person in our government would incentivize people not to work. I was able to bring back most of my team. They knew that they could make substantially more money by not coming back but they made a choice to support the company right now. Some of those conversations were ones that I won’t ever forget”.
Clearly the industry, up and down the supply chain, has risen to the crisis. This experience has been one of the most ground-breaking validations of the power of trust-through-networking in our nearly 40-year history at AAPN.
AAPN is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia (aapnetwork.net)