Where Will Technical Service & Support for Textile, Leather, Paper and Other Industries Come From in the Future?
Having been in the US Textile Market for over 50 years, I have seen a gradual decline in qualified Technical Service support. This decline has occurred in plant personnel as well as Technical Service Representatives from Dye and Chemical suppliers. This gradual decline has resulted in a significant issue for manufacturers in all the areas listed.
In the late 1980’s, I worked for a major International dye supplier. At that time, we had 12 full time Technical Representatives in all areas of Textile Dye application, printing, continuous, jet, beck, package and jig dyeing. We also had 4 Technical Representatives for our Textile Chemicals for preparation, dyeing and finishing. Many of the Sales personnel had a strong technical background. The majority, over 90%, have since retired.
When I visit customers, they constantly discuss the lack of qualified technical personnel in all areas of their operation. This includes lab technicians, lab managers, shift managers, machine operators, drug room personnel and especially shade matchers. This has resulted in lack of production and being able to meet customer’s delivery schedules
The Textile industry has changed significantly. Many of the fabrics being processed contain 4-7 different fiber types. Dyeing cycles can be less than 24 hours. New finishing requirements for FR, wicking, etc… can also require numerous finishing processes to achieve the desired results.
Most customers are trying to train personnel internally. The issue with this path is the time required to achieve this objective. For example, to train a qualified lab technician can take 2-3 years or more, longer depending on the processes involved and the other required duties of the trainer as well as the trainee.
Also, the number of Plant Personnel qualified to train new personnel is declining rapidly as many are retiring. This only exasperates the problem.
Not only have the number of Universities in the US offering a degree in Textile Chemistry declined, the number of students pursuing this valuable degree in the US has declined. In times past, several large textile manufacturing companies invested in their young management associates by giving extensive training in the many areas of textile production, but sadly, even these companies have either stopped this practice or are no longer in business in this post NAFTA era.
At First Source Worldwide, we have over 200 years technical experience in all areas of the markets listed. Please click on the logo below to look at all of the products we offer!