Made in USA

Q & A with Scott N. Hilleary, President, CEO, SSM Industries, Inc.

Question:  Why is it important to have a Made in the USA label?

The reason that Made in the USA is vital in fabric is that, unlike most if not all aspects of garment assembly, the quality and particularly the protective properties of fabrics are not visible to the end user.  If you pick up a garment that is supposed to be life and limb protective, can you tell by looking that it is flame retardant?  Or, if it is a treated fabric, that it was treated to be durable to normal washing? Or, exactly if the fiber content indicated by the label is in fact what was used?  Other than color, what textile properties can actually be seen?  Weight? Strength? Shrinkage?

We have a customer that recently bought fire retardant fabric from a "respected" Chinese source.  They requested and were given a sample for certification testing that performed admirably and then placed an order. Without notice, an inferior fabric was substituted having a different construction, different FR treatment, high shrinkage, bow and skew, and did not hold up to washing without holes appearing in weak places in the fabric.  Upon complaint, the customer found it very difficult to get to the bottom of the problem, understand the nature of the goods he had. Payment had already been at least partially made with no recourse except to complain to the offending supplier.  Costs on the sewing line grew exponentially and delays were created causing idle capacity in the sewing factory and a very late delivery to the ultimate customer.

Question: What is the industry advantage to SSM Industries?

SSM Industries has long been known for its technical problem solving in knit fabrics and in the last several years adding woven fabrics.  We produce our fabrics vertically meaning that we have an unprecedented array of yarn and fabric formation, performance fiber dyeing, and application of functional finishes under our own roof, at our disposal, available to develop highly technical and customized solutions for a demanding, performance oriented industry.  And, with recent plant and equipment investments, we are able to provide this technical expertise in a very cost competitive offering.

Question:  Is there a positive impact on sales due to the Made in the USA label?

SSM's technical superiority has made a dramatic difference in the military's ability to clothe our soldiers in the best protective clothing systems ever offered, and this has certainly been apparent in our revenue growth.  We now believe that our recent investments in plant and equipment will allow us to offer a meaningful combination of this same technical prowess and cost effective delivery to the protective work wear market.

2013 Interview with Scott N. Hilleary, President, CEO, SSM Industries, Inc.