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Same story, different year?

It seems that each year we write about the International Top 30 Nonwoven Companies article in the September editorial column and believe it or not, each year we say it will be the last year that we will do so. But the sheer amount of time and effort that goes into this feature keeps it uppermost in our minds for the three to five months prior to its publication.

And each year the top companies give us something to say. They do, after all, account for more than 90% of the roll goods produced in the nonwovens industry and, they are, without a doubt, the statement about the industry as a whole. These top companies tell us where the industry has been and where it's going. This year where it's going is hopefully better than where it's been, as the majority of the roll goods producers, particularly in Europe, are struggling against a major recession and myriad other troubles around the globe..

Despite this pessimism--and there certainly was pessimism voiced by a great many of the executives interviewed--the top companies, and the industry as a whole, forge on, planning new capacity and touting product introductions and quality innovations. No one has stood still in the face of adversity, recognizing the importance of looking for the light at the end of the tunnel.

This may sound glib and unreasonably optimistic, but not everyone had a terrible year and despite the very tough times in Germany and the price pressures in certain commodity markets and the overcapacity in the U.S. geotextile market and .... well, you get the picture, it does have to get better. And the industry has to be ready to be there when it happens.

After having been immersed in the top companies and their situations for several months, we emerge with the sense that these companies, while discouraged about the economy as a whole, have not admitted defeat. Each continues to work, either quietly on internal quality issues and management restructuring, or with loud proclamations of product innovations and capacity upgrades, quality certifications and trade show awards, towards the future. If the future is taken care of, the present will take care of itself.
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Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:nonwovens industry and the economy
Author:Noonan, Ellen
Publication:Nonwovens Industry
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Sep 1, 1993
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