With lofty goals to be the most sustainable mill in the global denim market, Advance Denim has centered its business on the core values of innovation, sustainability, service, quality and people since its inception in the 1980s.
But as its staff remains under international travel restrictions, the China-based manufacturer wants to put the spotlight on its most important value: its employees.
After its founding, Advance Denim realized that if it were to become a leader in the global market, it had to have a dedicated workforce that was passionate about its product.
In 1993, the manufacturer put these steps in motion, recruiting 10 top students from leading textile universities to join an immersive training program. The program was designed to empower the employees to transform, relocate and reorganize the company’s entire production lines based on knowledge gained from their studies. The company credits its rapid growth in the 1990s to this openness to cutting-edge production methods, and the employees who supported them.
In fact, Advance Denim’s current general manager, Amy Wang, was part of that first group of college graduates. Wang started her career on the factory floor and worked in every department until she was promoted to the facility’s production manager at 29 years old. Now, Wang is one of the most celebrated innovators in denim today, being named to the Rivet 50 in 2020. That year, Wang was renowned as a top textile innovation figure in China, with the government recognizing her as a “national model worker,” a term used to highlight exemplary work ethic.
Wang has not forgotten the structure that gave her the opportunity to become a thought leader, and she used that template to create a system that encourages upward mobility and growth from within at Advance Denim.
This system focuses growth and training opportunities designed to enable all talented workers to reach their full potential. To deliver the highest quality opportunities for its workers, Advance Denim has contracted a corporate management consulting firm to provide professional training in management, operations, innovation and team building for junior, mid-level and senior managers. Human resources professionals work on site at Advance Denim to conduct the training.
To attract the best talent, Advance Denim works closely with the highest quality colleges and universities in China and Hong Kong, such as Wuhan Textile University, Donghua University, Chengdu Textile College, Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Hong Kong Design Institute.
These institutions offer internships to qualified students, who get a hands-on introduction to textile manufacturing within the program. The work culture and opportunities at Advance have been beneficial for all parties, with an estimated 90 percent of these interns becoming full-time employees annually.
Understanding that its long-term success depends on the talent, growth and happiness of its 1,000 employees, Advance Denim looks to celebrate the workforce on a regular basis. The manufacturer recognizes employees that reach major work anniversaries with both public ceremonies and monetary bonuses. Advance also celebrates the retirement of associates with celebrations and recognition for their years of support.
Both Wang and Advance Denim believe that when you surround yourself with the best people, then give them training and opportunity as well as a comfortable work environment, amazing progress can be made. It is this foundation that fosters innovations such as Bigbox dyeing, Bio Blue indigo and botanic dyes—all of which bolster Advance Denim’s sustainable production.
With these empowered employees, Advance Denim aims to continue its ongoing search for the next innovation in its drive to make denim the most sustainable fabric on the planet.
Learn more about Advance Denim here.