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Marketing nonwovens.

not an easy feat, with the variety of product applications and categories involved in the industry, manufacturers must examine methods and markets to determine what is best for them

The extreme variety of nonwovens materials offered today makes for complex marketing. The range and variety of fabric properties, costs and even environmental and political circumstances affect the methods of selling and the markets that are served. To further complicate the marketing of nonwovens, we find there are four major categories to deal with as shown below. A given manufacturer may market through all of them.

Nonwoven Marketing Categories
Unfinished Roll Goods Finished/Converted Roll Goods
End Products Seconds Waste


Unfinished Roll Goods

The majority of nonwovens produced have historically been sold as unfinished roll goods by their manufacturer. These materials are sold in rolls as they come off the nonwoven manufacturing line. Today this situation continues to dominate even though each year more nonwoven producers are adding value by further processing or converting these materials into finished fabrics or a final end product. Unfinished nonwoven roll goods or materials are sold by producers of carded webs, air laid, needlepunched, spunbonded, melt blown, wet laid, spunlaced, scrims, extruded nettings and stitchbonded fabrics.

Finished/Converted Roll Goods

The finishing and converting of fabrics by nonwoven manufacturers include: dyeing, printing, coating, laminating, texturing, applying additives, slitting, die cutting and molding. Much of this "added value" has been done in an effort to get a larger profit per yard or pound. However, some changes or improvements in roll goods may have been made because of customer demands. Such improvements include heatsetting to prevent shrinkage in the customer's coating operation or adding a particular surface on the nonwoven to prevent problems in sewing, gluing or adhering to another material.

End Products

Some of the end products produced by nonwovens manufacturers include: diapers, wipes, filters, sorbents, incontinent devices, healthcare apparel, various home furnishing items and many other consumer and industrial products. These companies are typically large and have control of a significant portion of a market or distribution system. Most of the nonwoven manufacturers today, large or small, have at least considered making an end use product, but few have the abilities or confidence to do so.

Seconds/Waste

The most interesting sales area in nonwovens today may be the sales and distribution of seconds, off quality, down graded, returned goods, waste, close outs, inventory reductions, discontinued products and other materials that are not marketed as first quality. Typically the companies that produce these materials wish to keep the information regarding them confidential since there is much to be learned from a manufacturer's "problems."

Although statistics regarding the quantities are difficult to obtain, we can ascertain that this is indeed a major category and it has continued to grow along with the rest of the nonwovens industry during the past ten years. As many fortunes are made or lost in this end of the business as any other.

The markets below consumed more than 11 billion pounds of nonwovens worldwide in 1990 and I project will reach more than 12 and a half billion pounds by 1995. These figures include glass, which accounts for more than three billion pounds in the U.S. today. By far the largest category is building and construction, with filtration being second. These two markets consume more than all the other markets combined.

The Major Nonwoven Markets By End Use

Agriculture Apparel Automotive Abrasives/Polishing Building/Construction Containers/Packaging Disposable Absorbents Electrical Electronic Filtration Gaskets/Seals/Wicks Garments, Protective Geotextile/Civil Engineering Home Furnishings Industrial, Various Medical/Healthcare Roofing Sorbents, Oil, Chemicals Substrates Wipes/Cleaning Others

Methods of Marketing Nonwovens

There are as many ways to sell a nonwoven as there are in most other product areas, possibly more than the typical product. Unfinished nonwoven roll goods are sold and marketed by:

The manufacturer's sales force (including the executives)

Representatives ("Reps")

Distributors

Brokers

Dealers

Agents & Exporters

Wholesalers

Buying Services

Tele-marketing

Catalogue/Mail Order

Bids-government, etc.

Contracts & Barter

Many producers have historically attempted to sell their production with inadequate marketing and their growth and profits have reflected it. In the past five to 10 years more nonwoven producers are improving in marketing and in developing new or better products. Often better marketing means better communication with the customer. This results in meeting their wants and needs, improved customer service, a more stable relationship and increased sales. As the nonwoven industry grows and matures, our products and procedures improve.

Tom Holliday is a well known consultant to the nonwovens 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:marketing techniques for nonwoven fabric manufacturers
Author:Holliday, Tom
Publication:Nonwovens Industry
Date:Aug 1, 1992
Words:797
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