Joan Fabrics restructures, focuses on marketing
By Carole Sloan -- Home Textiles Today, 8/11/2003 12:00:00 AM
TYNGSBORO, MA —
Joan Fabrics, the country's largest home furnishings fabric mill with more than $500 million in 2002 revenues, has reorganized its various divisions into sales, marketing/design and manufacturing functions.
In what Elkin McCallum, Joan chairman, called "a repotting of the business," the company also is consolidating its manufacturing facilities — closing some and redirecting other production to its Mexican facility and its two-year-old, 600,000-square-foot facility in Fall River, MA. Overall the company is positioning itself "as a marketing company, not a manufacturing company," he said.
The effects of this "repotting" encompass a wide range of company activities. "The time has come for us to present to our customers a unified approach to the commercial [sales] side of our business and at the same time protect our design integrity through our multiple labeling effort," he said.
This means, he said, products for all divisions except Circa 1801/Doblin can be produced at any company facility, including Mexico, while the design signatures of Mastercraft, Home Fabrics, Circa 1801/Doblin, Joan Fabrics and Main Street Textiles remain separate. "Circa 1801/Doblin is a dedicated facility," he said.
"We need an organized response to sales, and we need lots of designers. Design is the key. We want to maintain our design integrity, but we need flexibility and a commonality of supply. We have an opportunity to cover the waterfront with product.
"But we also need to maintain our price integrity and look among the divisions. There's also a $3 difference between Mastercraft and Home and a $2 difference between Main Street and Mastercraft."
He sees the company's Mexican production capability as being greatly expandable — and "it's working well." And under the new approach the Andrew Major plant in Spindale, NC, is no longer a weaving plant but is a yarn dyeing facility. In addition, he noted, "We are working on our China venture and have given a prototype order. But China overall does not fit the nature of our business vís-a-vís skus. We specialize in broad assortments and instant gratification. There are 800 patterns a day coming out of the company." With the reorganization, he pointed out, "we will have a consolidated route to market."
In assessing the marketplace, McCallum also questions the company's need to participate at Showtime. "We're analyzing whether it makes sense. In June, before Showtime, 80 percent of our customers spent a day shopping us in our new design center, and Circa is only five miles away.
"Also, the large mills have legitimized the small guys at Showtime," he added. Whatever the decision, "we will keep a presence in High Point, but it may be a scaled-back presence, because we have people working there. We already have given up the separate Home Fabrics showroom/office and moved it to Market Square Tower with Joan and Main Street."
As for export, "we are protecting our business in NAFTA markets, but we have to look at things differently, especially concerning warehousing in Europe. The market there is falling apart." As a result, he said, the company's participation in this year's Decosit is only a "maybe."
As part of the "repotting," Penny Richards, formerly president of Main Street, has been named president and coo of all supply chain management and information services as well as general operational functions.
Kerry McCallum, formerly president of the company's internal supply group, has been named president of fabric operations. Richards and McCallum are now members of the office of the chairman.
Ray King has taken over the sales responsibilities for Mastercraft, Home Fabrics, Main Street and Joan, as executive vp. The design and development teams now report directly to McCallum.
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