Executive Q&A
Corporate Resilience

Remaining Resilient


“Chaos” is a key industry trend identified by Nia Silva, director materials at the forecasting agency, Fashion Snoops, who suggests that in times of flux and transition companies seek ways to build resilient businesses by adapting a “ready for anything” strategy that includes reframing barriers as opportunities. In a recent seminar, Silva highlighted materials that are lightweight yet protective, durable yet supple and especially versatile as particularly relevant right now.

We asked execs to reflect on this topic and respond to our question:  “How is your company building resilience in an increasingly fast-paced world?”  

Here are top takeaways from five industry pros:

Joe Crawford, CEO, Downlite

“One of the most fundamental (yet underappreciated) ways to stay viable in a highly competitive industry is via “discipline of process.” By following process in everything one does (how you ID opportunities, how you sell, how you source, how you build, how you manage) a company can avoid disruptive, time consuming, unproductive “fire drills.”  However, “discipline of process” must include the continuing evolution/improvement of process. For example, improving the Sourcing process must be an embedded part of the Sourcing process itself. “Discipline” and “change” can co-exist. The world is changing fast, so every company must be nimble and willing to change, but change with clear tactical and strategic goals in sight, avoiding change as a hurried reaction to a “one off” crisis.”

Joachim Kath, CEO, Schoeller

“Schoeller is known and has a proven record for innovation. Innovation continues to be at the core of our strategy and continues to keep us relevant – even after 155 years. We are concentrating on high-performance, functional (multilayer) fabrics that have ultimate durability, such as multilayer but mono-component materials. We see body climate management – both heating and cooling – as a key trend for wearer comfort demands. Our initial PFC-free product development launch was more than 10 years ago, and continues to be a central focus for our internal R&D department with multiple next generation launches since then. We also work closely with external research institutes, as well as our brand partners for both creative inspiration and trusted resources.”

Jose Mosquera, Business Director, Lanxess

“The Intellifresh brand of anti-microbial odor protection is built on resilience. This position allows us to respond to the fast-changing customer needs quickly and to adapt to market trends with continuous developments in our global application technology centers. As market dynamics change, with an increased competitive environment, Intellifresh has remained in a competitive pricing position while maintaining a high-quality, effective product since its launch in 2008. We maintain a direct and strong relationship with our strategic suppliers and brand/retail customers. This is the core value of our business.”

Chad Lawrence, CEO, NexTex Innovations  

“NexTex launched TurboDry at the Winter Outdoor Retailer show in 2020, right before the Covid shutdowns. This affected potential customers as well as the mills that produced the technology. The ‘chaos’ this created forced NexTex to adapt. Instead of growing a company full of team members, we would need to stay lean and rely on our existing partnership with our business partners more heavily.

There’s something to be said for moving a fabric library from the corporate office to the home office so that packages can be mailed to customers’ home addresses during the pandemic. Everyone did what they had to do to get through this challenging time together. Zoom meetings also became our norm and luckily for us our technology (moving moisture through mechanical material construction) is very visual so showing how it works during a video call is effective. Other adaptations occurred that remain today, including: stay as lean as possible; take action – morning, noon, and night; build balance without guilt – accepting that balance does not look the same as it used to; and build relationships — virtual is okay, but squeeze in ‘in-person’ meetings as time and opportunity allows.”

Salman Zulqadar, Director of Marketing, Sapphire Finishing Mills

“The dynamics of how companies used to manage, plan and execute have not been more challenging than what they currently are. Enhancing capabilities, diversifying product portfolios, securing partnerships both up the chain and down the chain are the key to build resilience in the prevailing situation.

Investments in research and product development have been our way to be ahead of the rest of the club. We believe that in situations like this improvising, creating newness, offering innovation yet being sustainable are the prime elements to focus.

When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Billy Ocean sang it well so many years ago, but it is now that we comprehend what it was really about.”