by Janet Preus
I grew up learning all about the Industrial Revolution, which (I was taught at the time) began in England and spread from there across Europe and beyond to the shores of America. Today that seems like an amazingly simplistic version of our manufacturing history, but that’s the way I remember it in high school. Needless to say, I’ve learned a few things since then.
Much of what I know about the subject, which, I’ll admit cannot be called in-depth, I’ve taken from observing and writing about the textile industry. During my tenure with IFAI, my reports have ranged from off-shoring years ago, to reshoring more recently. But it’s not that simple, either.
We are a truly global society, made possible largely by digital communication systems. But the manufacturers of goods of any kind still have to get the supplies they need reliably and at a price that makes it possible for them to operate a viable business. That’s where it gets complicated, and it is what we are seeking to “unpack” in this month’s features.
Dr. Seshadri Ramkumar’s article, “Manufacturing revival: a timely necessity,” discusses an issue that Dr. Ramkumar has raised in other pieces he’s written for this publication: What will the textile manufacturing opportunities be in the future for the U.S. and Europe, in particular?
Our second feature this month, written by attorney and trade expert Nate Bolin, identifies the top five challenges and opportunities facing the industry in 2021 in “U.S./international textile trade.” Bolin offers a clear analysis of what he sees as potentially the most impactful recent and upcoming decisions coming out of Washington, D.C., and he identifies how industry participants can identify pitfalls and plan for future opportunities.
Nobody can say exactly what the end of this year—much less the next three or four years—will bring. But we can look at the signs as identified by experts who deal with trade issues all the time, and we can prepare for likely eventualities.
There is one development, outside of the textile realm, that affects all of us— and that includes business decisions; after all the uncertainty during a pandemic year, we now have effective vaccines. “Business as usual” will look different, but the vaccines will surely bring more stability. Be encouraged, and let’s make 2021 a spectacular year.
Janet Preus is senior editor of Advanced Textiles Source. She can be reached at email@example.com.