24 of 2016

Newsletter No. 24   15 July 2016

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South Africa’s Technical Textile Sector

At the beginning of the new millennium the South African textile and clothing sectors faced serious challenges. Following China’s inclusion in the World Trade Organisation in 2001, local textile and clothing manufacturers suffered because of the cheaper imports of Chinese fabrics and finished products. Employment in the sectors slumped dramatically and over 100 000 textile and clothing jobs were lost.

Government and The Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) stepped in to revive the industry with the introduction of the Clothing Textile Competitiveness Programme (CTCP), a programme managed by The IDC and the CTCP Desk, which was structured to drive competitiveness and increase productivity and employment opportunities in the South African textile and clothing sectors.

Realising the opportunity for growth under the dti’s new CTCP programme, the South Africa Technical Textile Cluster (SATTC) was formed in 2011. The SATTC is a vertically integrated value chain Cluster with an interlinked and innovative product offering, which is currently participating in the CTCP initiative. This market-driven Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Cluster currently includes Gelvenor Consolidated Fabrics, Canvas and Tent, Stepahead Military Headwear Distributers, Fields Wear, Parachute Systems and Durban Overall, all of whom share a collective vision to become recognised global suppliers who set the standards for quality and innovation in the Technical Textiles sector and to make South Africa a preferred global supply source.

Over the last 5 years the SATTC has introduced a number of ground breaking technological developments which have both increased productivity and product quality output. These developments include the installation of the ETON Material Handling System, a productivity improvement system, which was implemented by Canvas and Tent and yielded significant improved productivity results. Other technological advancements by SATTC include Gelvenor Consolidated Fabric’s investment in Multi-axial machinery for energy efficient fabric applications which has created new product avenues, opened new international markets and has benefitted both Parachute Systems and Fields Wear in new innovative product applications.

The ETON Material Handling System implemented at Canvas and Tent.

The Multi-axial machinery for energy efficient fabric applications at Gelvenor Consolidated Fabrics.

These innovations and developments have resulted in the SATTC achieving a 12% increase in employment, a 54% growth in total sales and 126% growth in total export sales since 2012, while also increasing export markets from 13 to 25 countries globally and from 1 to 14 countries in Africa. The Cluster also achieved a comprehensive Manufacturing Value Add (MVA) growth, which further supports their high performance outcome. The significant growth achieved over this period would not have been possible without the collaborative efforts from the CTCP’s Competitiveness Improvement Programme (CIP) and Production Incentive Programme (PIP), along with the SATTC’s own commitment to realising their growth potential.

The main objective of the CTCP is to assist industries in upgrading production, product and people developments to re-position it to compete effectively against other low cost producing countries; a goal which the SATTC is achieving as they continue to increase the competitiveness of South African Technical Textiles in the global market.

As the SATTC looks towards the future they are committed to continuing to grow the position of the Technical Textile Sector both in South Africa and abroad through an innovative, visionary approach which improves competitiveness, integrated value and enhanced quality output at every stage of the chain; from fabrics to finished textile and apparel products. SATTC is also focussed on steadily increasing the number of manufacturers participating in the Cluster, both as Core Members and Incubation Members, and aims to develop BBBEE and women-owned SMME manufacturers in their own supply chains to facilitate their growth into full Members of the Cluster.

In terms of support for Black Industrialist Development, the Cluster has been instrumental in the establishment of two Black owned businesses, one on the supply side and one on the demand side of the Value Chain.  The combined turnover of these businesses is already in excess of R14 million per annum.

The SATTC is also in the process of expanding the South African Technical Textile Sector into the digital realm by developing a Technical Textile National Digital Resource Portal, which is focused on building an international community of technical textile connections and customers that will benefit from sourcing South African technical textile products.

Finally, the SATTC is dedicated to evolve into a Sub-National Cluster, with a mandate of growing the sector to increase export opportunities, innovative product development, employment opportunities and sustainability in the sector.

The SATTC participation in the dti’s Clothing Textile Competitiveness Programme (CTCP) and the accomplishments which have come as a result of such, are evidence that the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) is a rewarding business approach that can yield meaningful and sustainable growth for South African specialist Textile & Clothing sectors.

For quotes/references please contact Executive Director: Martin Viljoen. Tel: +27 21 702 4140 / Cell: +27 82 455 3263 / Email: satiec.grow@mweb.co.za.

TFG renews e-commerce contract with On the Dot

The Foschini Group (TFG) has renewed its e-commerce contract with Media24’s e-commerce services business, On the Dot (OTD), for a further three years.

Jan Tukker, head of logistics for TFG, says, “OTD’s seamless management of our business brands over the past two years has ensured the group’s ability to meet customer delivery expectations. This has significantly increased customer loyalty towards our online brands.”

OTD is an e-commerce fulfilment company in Southern Africa, offering approximately 40,000sqm of warehousing space in Cape Town and Johannesburg. Through a courier network that consists of more than 20 delivery partners, OTD handles product dispatches and returns, offering a cost-effective and efficient mechanism to close the loop from the order to delivery.

“We expect the real innovation for online retail to take place in the logistics area,” says Tukker. “South Africa cannot just replicate the models we see rolled out in Europe and the US, we have to innovate around our specific socio-economic environment.

“This means finding ways to deliver online orders to people in the informal sector or who do not have formal home addresses. It also means looking for ways to leverage new technologies to make deliveries faster, more specific and more efficient.”

Retail increasing online sales

The Online Retail in South Africa 2016 report, released recently by World Wide Worx, reveals that online retail in this country will reach 1% of overall retail sales during 2016. Additionally, the report shows that online retail has continued to grow at rates above 20% since 2000.

Arthur Goldstuck, MD of World Wide Worx, noted that the current number of online retail sales also masks the extent to which a number of major retailers have exceeded the 1% online mark by a substantial margin, when compared to the majority of retailers who are not yet close to this mark, or have no e-commerce presence.

Tukker agreed with this assessment, saying, “We believe the leading traditional retailers will set the pace for growth in the retail e-commerce market. Retailers such as TFG, MrP, Woolworths and Massmart that are already leading the charge, will grow and thrive in this enabling environment.”
The online retail market in South Africa is still very much in its growth phase and TFG expects the online retail market to grow to 3% of total retail in the next three years. It anticipates that more than 50% of all online retail activity in South Africa will take place on mobile devices, making the agility and creativity of OTD’s service offering a critical element for success.

More brands to go online

“The group’s continued relationship with the e-commerce operation will assist us with customer order fulfilment innovations, particularly those that will ensure that we are able to deliver everywhere our customers are – no matter where in South Africa that may be. With this in mind, our partnership with Media24’s e-commerce team places us in the ideal position to lead e-commerce in South Africa,” Tukker concludes.

The next three years will see TFG take its remaining brands online, bringing its online store footprint to approximately 25 shopping sites.

Ryno Bekker, GM for OTD, notes, “Online retail continues to grow exponentially and, through working with the some of the largest listed retailers in South Africa, the company has developed a deep understanding of what levers will further help drive e-commerce growth. We are committed to creating and innovating solutions to deliver a better offline customer experience.”

From Russell O’Neill

Space and machinery costs money so it is always good when two functions can be processed on one compact machine. Richpeace have developed an upright ink jet plotter that also doubles as a cutter for markers. Both functions use an X and Y axis drive system so by adding a cutting head to a plotter they have incorporated the ability to print a marker and  cut out patterns onto pattern card up to 300g. This also allows the same nesting program to do the layout and thus saves on pattern card usage as the nesting function maximises the yield. As they say in the infomercials: But wait there is more! The software will also accept a picture from a digital camera to allow existing patterns to be uploaded into a computer for saving or editing. Three in one, now that’s progress.


Did you Know…….

  • ​The Christian Louboutin designer brand came up with a clever idea, albeit only for a short time period, to cater for the need of new brides to wear something blue. His shoes were available with baby blue soles. What an awesome idea!
  • There are about 40 fashion weeks in different cities around the world every year, but the Big Four are in New York, London, Milan and Paris. They are the most prestigious each year New York is first, followed by London, Milan and Paris.
  • Did you know that NYC was the first City to organise a Fashion Week in 1943?
    Fashion publicist Elenor Lamber wanted to give American Fashion Designers a chance to showcase their work and compete against the more established European Elite.


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