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|Title: ||Building Frameworks for Competitiveness and Innovation: Identification of Strategies and Tactics to Aid the Performance Textile Industry|
|Authors: ||Craven, Jennifer Gildea|
|Advisors: ||Dr. Marguerite Moore, Committee Member|
Dr. Nancy Cassill, Committee Chair
Dr. Trevor Little, Committee Co-Chair
|Keywords: ||performance textiles|
|Issue Date: ||18-Mar-2010|
|Abstract: ||The purpose of this research study was to analyze the performance textile industry in North Carolina in order to identify indicators needed to build a competitiveness framework that companies can use to benchmark themselves. Another purpose of this research was to evaluate new product innovation techniques and identify the strategies used to successfully bring a new product to market. Frameworks for competitiveness and innovation were developed to better understand the critical areas facing performance textile companies.
Performance textiles are defined as textile materials and products manufactured primarily for their technical and performance properties in addition to their aesthetic or decorative characteristics (definition adapted from various sources, including Ã¢â‚¬Ëœtechnical textilesÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ definition from Horrocks & Anand, 2000 and Nelson, 2008). These materials are a growing sector of the global textile industry. World market expectations for the textile industry are projected at $122 billion in 2010 (IFAI Webinar, 2009). In the United States, specialty fabrics are seeing a slight decline due to the current economy. Innovation is key for U.S. companies to stay competitive. There are many types of innovations; however, the ones most examined in this study are the radical, or disruptive, innovations, which are defined as innovations that create new market categories that are making their first appearance in any form (Moore, 2005).
The conceptual models used in this study provide frameworks that will aid companies in their competitiveness. New product innovation is a critical step in global competitiveness. Models that were analyzed in this study include Dany JacobÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Lifecycle of Innovation (Jacobs, 2007), Geoffrey MooreÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Innovation Types Model (Moore, 2005), and the Textile Added Value Curve (Cassill et al, 2006). Each model involves innovation throughout the product lifecycle. Jacob identifies a Ã¢â‚¬Å“chasmÃ¢â‚¬Â in the early stage of innovation, through which innovations must cross to gain acceptance. However, the chasm, or Ã¢â‚¬Å“gate,Ã¢â‚¬Â is an area where many promising radical innovations collapse (Jacobs, 2007). Both models acknowledge the presence of a gate that products must cross. This study attempted to analyze how to get across the gate.
The methodology used in this study focused on a qualitative approach to gathering information to answer the research objectives. Convenience sampling of North Carolina performance textile companies was used to create a list of participants for focus groups, both physically at the College of Textiles and also electronically. Participants were asked to complete data collection instruments to build the competitiveness and innovation frameworks according to their own opinions. Results were analyzed and compared to the existing frameworks in order to validate their soundness and make refinements.
Results from the study showed that of the 270 companies in the performance textile industry, 33% are flourishing, 45% are coping, and 21% are potentially vulnerable. The competitiveness framework identified five new groupings of performance indicators. Three Ã¢â‚¬Å“big strategy areasÃ¢â‚¬Â and three Ã¢â‚¬Å“big tactic areasÃ¢â‚¬Â were identified from the five groups. Statistical tests were run on the data collected from the innovation framework. A significant difference was found across the product lifecycle and MooreÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s four innovation zones. The innovation framework results showed that performance textile companies view new product innovation as more important than building customer relationships or improving their processing operations.|
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