Québec cluster focuses on high value-added TT products: Charest
Canada and Québec are well positioned to benefit from reshoring opportunities. “TechniTextile Québec is currently focusing on these primary markets to help expand their market share,” says Dany Charest, Directeur Général chez, TechniTextile Québec, during an interaction with the ITJ.
He adds, “TechniTextile Québec will rely on industrial and technical ambassadors to demonstrate Québec’s expertise and the high value-added products that are now being manufactured.”
How was it at ITMA Barcelona for TechniTextile Québec, the Technical Textile Materials Cluster? What were the results and the outcome?
This commercial mission was a great success. More than 30 companies and organisations of Québec’s textile and apparel sectors joined forces to participate in a special mission to ITMA 2019. This initiative, led by TechniTextile Québec, the CTT Group, the Fashion Cluster mode and the Workforce Sector Committee in Textile (CSMO Textile), enabled participants to learn about the latest technological advances.
This initiative confirmed the need for openness and collaboration within the TechniTextile Québec cluster. The industry was able to attract media attention and count on government support. Companies also took advantage of ITMA to showcase their expertise, products and competitive advantages.
Can you give us some information about the development of this cluster since its inception in Québec?
The Québec textile industry is composed of 420 companies specialising in the manufacture of textiles, textile-based apparel and knitwear products. The industry, which produces more than 50 per cent of Canada’s textiles, stands out because it has a wide range of capabilities. It has been one of the key sectors of Québec’s economy for more than 150 years and continues to excel through the remarkable advances it has achieved in the development of value-added technical materials. The textile industry employs more than 12,000 people.
Montréal is one of three North American leaders in apparel manufacturing, along with Los Angeles and New York. The fashion industry in Québec generates sales of CDN$8 billion in manufactured goods and in wholesaler-distributor sales. With more than 1,850 players, including manufacturers, retailers, wholesalers, distributors and designers, it is a strategic pillar of Québec’s economy, generating more than 83,000 jobs.
What major products does the cluster offer globally? What differentiates these products from others on the market?
The development of technical and added-value materials helps position Québec companies for future growth while enhancing their competitiveness globally.
So far, how successful has the cluster been in promoting its products globally? How do the members market their products, in association with the group, of course?
In the past, companies in the sector used to promote their products on their own. With the creation of TechniTextile Québec, companies are now hoping that the cluster will be recognised as a centre of expertise in and outside Québec. To do this, TechniTextile Québec will rely on industrial and technical ambassadors to demonstrate Québec’s expertise and the high value-added products that are now being manufactured.
One of the objectives of the ITMA mission was to take advantage of the large number of companies in the delegation and the attendance at the show to promote the textile and clothing clusters.
Next September, textile buyers will be able to rely on a Web portal (TechniTextile.ca) dedicated to the search for Québec textile companies. This portal will also act as a one-stop shop to promote the sector by centralising the Web content of the companies and organisations in the cluster.
Finally, in collaboration with various companies in the sector, TechniTextile Québec will participate as a speaker at various technical fairs to promote the cluster’s expertise.
With countries like China pushing various technical textile products in many Asian countries, including India, does this cluster see opportunities there too? How does it plan to take its marketing expertise to the next level?
Canada and Québec are well positioned to benefit from reshoring opportunities. TechniTextile Québec is currently focusing on these primary markets to help expand their market share. Industry members are currently working together to raise awareness about the sector and promote its products, benefits and strengths.
Québec’s geographical proximity to its strategic markets is a major competitive advantage. Customers are inclined to work with suppliers located close to their facilities to facilitate product development and continuous improvement.
The Canada-European Union (EU) Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) helps companies in strengthening economic relations and boosting business and trade with the world’s second-largest market.
International marketing efforts are led by companies at their discretion. TechniTextile Québec will eventually play a more active role in promoting the industry globally. A Web portal will be launched in September. This new tool will provide buyers from everywhere in the world with valuable information about Québec’s textile ecosystem.
Today’s global markets are highly competitive, demanding top quality. How are the members of the Québec cluster gearing up, with regard to production and marketing, to meet the challenges of the future?
Quality means that the products manufactured are designed to meet the customer’s needs, delivered on time and sold at a price in line with the customer’s expectations. Profit margins must allow companies to invest in process improvement.
Today, Québec’s textile industry members work directly with end users, eliminating intermediaries. This new approach fosters enhanced design thinking, which leads to global solutions versus products. The need for specialised products is growing at an unprecedented rate. Industry members are now developing more and more products dedicated to a particular use versus generic solutions that the customer has to adapt himself.
Mass customisation accentuates the need for equipment and processes with increased flexibility. On-demand access to data is critical to reduce time to market and the on-time delivery of products. Intelligent and connected products are also a way forward Industry 4.0. CTT Group’s experts assist companies in the development of these products. Thanks to these advances, the sector will now be able to connect its products to technological platforms and become an information provider instead of producing a stand-alone product.
In order to assist companies in the development of intelligent products and processes, the Ministère de l’économie et de l’innovation du Québec financially supports the development of 4.0 diagnostics and an action plan fully aligned with their operational and strategic objectives. Several companies in Québec are taking advantage of this unique opportunity and have embarked on this journey.
- Companies incorporate technical and value-added properties to traditional textiles to differentiate themselves from the competition.
- Technical textiles, recognised for their functionality and high performance, are used in production of various products, including high-performance technical yarns, hoses (for use in the gas and oil, firefighting, mining, aviation and snow-making industries), custom hoses for aqueduct repairs, automotive, aviation and industrial webbing, finished knit mattress fabrics, value-added laminated and coated textiles, clothing and accessories for pilots, non-woven fabrics for specialised geotextiles, liquid and air filtration, acoustical panels and absorbent and hygiene products.
- Value-added textiles are made from traditional textiles and processed using advanced technologies to improve their properties. They are used in the production of antimicrobial, acoustical, protective, intelligent and ultra-comfortable sportswear and textiles.