Charles Beauduin is the President of CEMATEX, the European Committee of Textile Machinery Manufacturers. He is CEO and owner of Michel Van de Wiele NV, an international technology player and leader in solutions for the textile industry. He holds a Master in Law from the KU Leuven and an MBA from Harvard Business School. He has a broad international management experience with professional experiences in Asia and the US.
Charles Beauduin, in an exclusive interview, spoke to the Editor of The ITJ about the biggest quadrennial show for the textile industry and other issues related to the event.
Editor: ITMA is returning to Milan after a gap of 20 years. What are the improvements according to you have taken place in this venue for visitors and exhibitors advantages? What are the special steps taken up by the organisers?
Charles Beauduin (CB): Twenty years ago, ITMA was held in Fiera Milano City, Milan´s old trade fairground located near the city centre. As an older facility, the centre has limited infrastructural support. This year´s ITMA will be staged at Fiera Milano Rho, which opened its doors in 2005. ITMA will be occupying some 2,00,000 sq m of the fairgrounds. One of the world´s biggest exhibition venues, it is an integrated state-of-the-art exhibition facility, well equipped to host heavy machinery fairs which have complex technical requirements.
In addition, ITMA participants will be able to enjoy a comprehensive range of facilities and services, from meeting rooms, travel arrangements, restaurants and eating options, to prayer rooms, medical aid and lost and found counters. It is also highly accessible from the airports and other cities in Italy by rail. The fairground can be easily reached from the Milan city centre via the metro.
Editor: What is new about ITMA Milano?
CB: ITMA has been evolving with the industry reinventing itself through the years to ensure that the platform remains relevant. As there is greater focus on sustainability in recent years, responsible sourcing and eco-friendly technologies will be a common trend seen at ITMA 2015. The product index has also been expanded for the 2015 edition to feature printing as a separate chapter, bringing the total number of exhibit sectors to 19. Digital printing technologies will be more prominently featured in the showcase. The fibre & yarn sector has also been expanded to include a new sub-chapter on recycled fibres and yarns, in order to cater to the ever-growing segment and interest in sustainable raw materials.
Editor: Please comment on the underlying theme of sustainability of ITMA 2015.
CB: In today´s marketplace, competing based on price alone is not sufficient. Consumers demand for transparency in the production chain has changed buyers´ sourcing needs, which in turn impacts the value chain from raw materials to the final product. The drive towards sustainability in the entire textile and garment value chain is increasingly integrated with enlightened business practices. Innovative technologies hold the key to environmental sustainability, hence this year´s theme of ´Master the Art of Sustainable Innovation´.
Initiatives at ITMA 2015 underpinning the focus on sustainability include the launch of the ITMA Sustainable Innovation Award and rebranding of the research & education sector to Research and Innovation Pavilion. Central to the pavilion is the Speaker´s Platform featuring many papers on the theme of sustainable innovation. At the second World Textile Summit on 13 November, the agenda will also be very much focused on sustainable manufacturing and how businesses can create value through a sustainable strategy.