I see road-maps being produced by major brands and organizations all the time. It seems that everyday a new initiative comes out lead by Brands or NGO’s. Often these are then closely followed by news that a group of textile mills or manufacturers are not following the protocols. This is usually because there are costs in the protocols that have either, not been accounted for ,or require the mill to invest money that they do not have. There is obviously a disconnect between the people thinking of the ideas and the people who actually have to implement the idea. Someone once said to me you can have the best product in the world but if no one wants to buy it then it will go nowhere. This is the situation we are facing with the idea of Roadmaps and initiatives. It is very easy for people to sit around in a meeting room and come up with a big picture, there seems to be a lack of practical knowledge when it comes to the processing and what is actually possible. Many years ago we were involved in a process where ‘a highly paid expert’ said that a mill should scrap all their equipment and buy the new more efficient equipment. This was an investment in the region of eight million dollars. Obviously this isn’t practical and this kind of advice meant that the factories involved lost confidence in the process and the consultant. This is where Textile Consult became involved to get the project back on track. By being able to suggest some practical, cost effective changes the project developed some more credibility, mills involved were more engaged and the project went forward.
If the current batch of Roadmaps and initiatives are going to be effective then they need to progress in small steps and guide the mills through the process in a cost effective way where the benefits can become apparent as the process develops. TS Eliot in his poem ‘ The Hollow Men” wrote ‘ This is how the world ends not with a bang, but with a whimper’ the same can be said for the textile industry, but in as positive way, real long lasting change and improvement will not come about from making huge changes, the costs and the shock of change is just too big. The only way to effect positive long term change is to work on the best practice of what you are already doing and get this working, then through a series of small changes the large changes will come. I said at the title of the blog that Roadmaps are always as good as the drivers, well we need to make sure that the people who are involved in the industry in the day to day are actually driving this forward and not waking up at the destination and saying ‘ this is not where I want to be’ ….