Verena Thies, shareholding manager at Thies, a German manufacturer of textile machinery and equipment, talks with Otis Robinson about the company’s exhibit at ITMA Asia + CITME.
Thies is set to display its portfolio of textile machinery for the fields of fibre, yarn, and fabric dyeing at ITMA Asia + CITME.
Offering sustainable solutions for its worldwide customer base, each machine type on display is from the outset designed to minimise the inputs and respectively the outputs. However, Thies does not only concentrate on the machine design but also on developing intelligent software solutions to control the actual dyeing process. With the help of these so-called ‘energy-efficient functions’, its customers achieve enormous reductions of their water, energy, dyestuff, chemicals and utilities consumption. Modern dyehouses further implement dye kitchens, as well as dosing and dispensing systems from Thies in their facilities. The fully automatic weighing, dissolving, and provision of dyes and chemicals leads to exact dyeing results, maximum reproducibility, significantly increased occupational safety and tremendous time savings, according to Thies.
Here, we speak with Verena Thies, shareholding manager at Thies, to learn more about its upcoming exhibit.
Otis Robinson: As a Europe-based company, how has Thies adapted to the new normal of exhibition participation?
Verena Thies: Unfortunately, due to contact and travel restrictions, physical fairs and symposiums were postponed. We were delighted about the many digital offers and took part in the virtual WTiN trade fair in October 2020 [and] The Textile Machinery Webtalks powered by VDMA, [which] were also very well received.
We would like to continue with these digital best-practice presentations regardless of the pandemic situation. [Regarding ITMA Asia + CITME], I thank the organisers of ITMA Asia + CITME for their flexibility, especially in displaying an exhibit – or not. This is a great sign of solidarity for the exhibitors in these challenging times.
OR: How does it feel to be back at ITMA Asia + CITME, reconnecting with your industry peers in person?
VT: We are very much looking forward to the first physical fair in such a long time and are glad that ITMA Asia + CITME can [go ahead] in Shanghai. Our experienced team on-site will give the visitors a warm welcome. Our stand concept is set up in such a way that our German team can connect virtually and live, provided that the travel and quarantine regulations are not relaxed by then.
OR: What global markets does your company serve, and how important is the Asian market for your company’s business operations?
VT: Thies is globally active. Achieving well-diversified sales shares across the continents and countries has been our marketing goal for many decades. Asia is, of course, very important to us, as well as the entire textile industry. We have many customers all over Asia with whom we have long-term and trusting business relationships.
OR: It’s been a long year with plenty of challenges for globally active companies. What major bottlenecks did you face due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and how have you worked to overcome them?
VT: Fortunately, we have a high level of vertical integration, a well-stocked warehouse with sufficient safety stocks, as well as a trustworthy supplier network, so we were able to meet our delivery obligations. In addition, Thies Group has a highly qualified sales and service network, with quite a number of people who represent us excellently. Ensuring these personal contacts and services locally, we provided digital support from Germany via video conferences and remote services on top.
OR: How has your company performed over the last year despite the setbacks?
VT: Of course, we had to adjust our production capacities, but we continued to focus on our goals: keeping close contact with our customers, albeit digitally; undertaking development work; optimising operational processes; expanding our digital marketing activities and many more.
OR: How do you believe the pandemic will impact the way the textile industry does business in future?
VT: Textile machines are usually very extensive systems that require explanation and have a lot of technical interfaces. As a result, travel activity across the industry was comparatively high prior to the pandemic. Personally, I assume that we will travel to a smaller extent in the future, as everyone involved has learned that a considerable amount of coordination work can also be done digitally in a much shorter time.
OR: What activity have you observed in domestic production capacities since the start of the pandemic and the supply chain disruption this brought?
VT: Fortunately, as already mentioned, we have not been affected by any interruptions in the supply chain. The situation confirms that it is important to maintain long-term relationships with suppliers on whom one can fully rely. In addition, balanced disposition and warehouse management are essential in order to be able to cover a certain proportion of failures from your own safety stocks.
OR: What technological trends are you seeing at the moment?
VT: There are two main trends impacting the industry. On the one hand the digitalisation and automation (there is great interest in practical, industrialised and efficient processing), and on the other hand there is still a high demand for sustainable solutions. We are very pleased about the increasing demand to recycle old textiles and are happy to support these changing needs with our technical expertise.
OR: What are your plans for the next couple of years?
VT: As a family company, our primary goal is, of course, maintaining our family business. At the same time, it is our incentive and aspiration to be and remain the quality innovation leader in our niche market.
Thies is exhibiting in Hall 6.1, Booth A19.
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