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Ideas for a good IDEA '90: a checklist for the knowledgeable IDEA '90 show attendee, from someone who's been at every one since the beginning.

Ideas For A Good IDEA `90

This is the month that many of us have been waiting for to place our finger on the pulse of our industry at IDEA `90. The attendance is expected to reflect our industry's growth and strengths and the many exhibits will be showing new equipment, raw materials, fabrics and finished products.

There are more than 200 exhibitors and INDA is expecting some 5000 people to visit the show. The last IDEA held in the Baltimore Convention Center in October, 1988 had about 4500 attending and 190 exhibitors. It was deemed the most informative and successful exhibition of nonwovens by most of the experts as well as producers and suppliers of our industry.

What will you attempt to achieve during this three day "race to conquer nonwovens?" Your answer and your objective will obviously relate to your position in the industry and how you wish to change it. You may be a supplier, roll goods manufacturer, converter, distributor, consulting or engineering firm, research or government association, attorney, news media, educator or even an investor from some foreign place like a weaving or knitting mill.

Suppliers, Beware

If you are a supplier, you should already have meetings arranged with customers and potential customers. Many of these will be in an exhibit, but dinners and private meetings are often more productive. There are also those that do not have an exhibit and will use a hotel suite to show their new products, discuss the availability or cost situation and to cement relationships. It is interesting that most exhibitors as well as others attending agree that few purchases or orders are written at such expositions. However, they do open the door for sales and offer an excellent opportunity to get key people and or decision makers together.

A Word For Manufacturers

If you are a manufacturer of nonwovens, you will be concentrating on understanding what your competition is showing and why. You will want to substantiate that your market research and product directions are correct and will meet the needs of your customers. What new fabrics are being presented and what end uses are they directed towards? Are there more laminates, composites, and fiber blends being offered? Is there an increase in the amount of printed or finished fabrics? What equipment is being used? What chemicals are being used and why? Are the absorbent fabrics a major growth area and how is this function accomplished in the fabric? Your major weapon for combat is that you know you are the focus of our attention.

What About Converters?

This company is the one we attempt to educate (that our nonwoven fabric is best). However, this procurer is sometimes a roll goods manufacturer or sometimes he is not as ignorant and unknowing as we would like him to be. Even when he cannot discuss technical properties, he can disarm us with the quantity he would like to purchase. He wants you to assist his company in doing development work and is reluctant to obligate or commit for this. They want the product sooner than you can deliver it at a price below your best deal.

This group comes in all colors and flavors. At the last IDEA show, there were companies looking for fabrics for all those obvious end products, such as automotive, bedding, coating, diapers, filters, geotextiles and the like. However, there were also those that are not so well known. These included companies that manufacture toys and doll clothes, manufacturers of electrical motors/circuit boards/floppy disks, suppliers of products to chemical laboratories, closure distributors looking for replacements for buttons and zippers, shipping/container people looking for unique packaging materials, food processors and cigarette representatives looking for filtration media, and even foreign government representatives, to list just a few.

The major users in this group are normally looking for a similar fabric to the one they are now using for an existing product where they want a new look or a better supply situation. Or they may want the ideal fabric for a new product that is to be molded, sonic bonded, breathable but waterproof, five color printed, washable, biodegradable, 260 inches wide and cost seven and one half cents per square yard.

This group should be equipped with a large shopping bag to collect the many samples that will perform magic when tested in their lab. They always run out of calling cards and seldom have anything to write with, so keep an eye on your pen. They may confront you with several members that have little knowledge of textiles, fibers or nonwovens. One may have several degrees in biochemistry, and another has a PhD in computer science technology and they are led by a manager that knows exactly what new and wonderful product they are developing but will only tell you that it is bigger than a bread box and could consume more than three million yards of nonwovens a month.

Look, Listen And Learn:

Finding The Good Stuff

IDEA `90 will be an interesting, entertaining and rewarding adventure for those who want to look, listen and learn about nonwovens. I have attended all of the IDEA shows and I have never been disappointed.

It does, however, take effort on your part to get the full value from this gathering. You must go into an exhibit and ask to get the information or samples you are looking for. Typically you see less than half of what is available from an exhibitor by glancing at his displays as you walk by. He cannot show his capabilities with a few pictures or illustrations and many times he keeps the "good stuff" under the counter anyway.

So take a pair of "easy" shoes and wear something comfortable so you can concentrate on listening and learning. You will see the most advanced nonwoven fabrics ever produced with numerous improved properties. You will learn of new technologies applied to nonwovens that should give you insight into where these can make money for your company.

Last but not least, you will meet some nice people working hard to make the nonwovens industry a better place for a more profitable business.

Tom Holliday is a well known consultant to the non-wovens and textile industries whose column on a wide range of nonwovens-related topics appears every month in Nonwovens Industry. Mr. Holliday operates his consultancy firm. Thomas M. Holliday & Associates out of his office at 25 Edgewood Road, Yardley, PA 19067; (215)493-2501.
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Title Annotation:nonwoven fabric industry
Author:Holliday, Tom
Publication:Nonwovens Industry
Article Type:column
Date:Sep 1, 1990
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