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How Cotton USA’s Partner Consultancy Program Can Help the Industry

Cotton USA, a non-profit trade association that promotes U.S. cotton fibers and manufactured products around the globe, is introducing Cotton USA Solutions, a technical consultancy program that will bow on Oct. 1.

Cotton USA Solutions is meant to helps mills and manufacturers achieve greater productivity, process efficiency and profitability in their businesses. Bruce Atherley, executive director of Cotton Council International, said in an interview that in the past two years, a team of technical experts has visited more than 1.500 mills in more than 50 countries to identify business-altering insights and offer guidance in using U.S. cotton to make their operations more efficient and productive with a higher-quality output.

During that time, Cotton USA established a consulting team composed of mill and spinning experts from around the world. The team, which is overseen by industry expert Joerg Bauersachs, now leads Cotton USA Solutions, bringing together decades of experience, global knowledge and research in this technical consultancy.

“Cotton USA Solutions is designed so that mills and manufacturers can optimize the use of U.S. cotton with cutting-edge offerings to transform their businesses profitably,” Atherley said. “Given the industry’s current state due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the resources and expertise of this program are more relevant to our partners than ever.”

The program is launching with five special, data-informed offerings. Six mill studies, with more in development, are based on controlled on-site testing by Cotton USA. Technical seminars held by experts teach how to buy, use and optimize U.S. cotton.

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Participants in the mill exchange program will experience an executive-level tour of Cotton USA licensee signature mills to exchange ideas with key textile mill leaders from around the world, while “1:1 Mill Consults” features personalized, virtual or in-person in-depth mill examinations and consultation. Available soon, a mill mastery course encompasses a collection of advanced practices, covering everything from raw cotton to bale management to quality control.

These solutions are designed to improve productivity and ultimately profitability at the operations level. The suite of solutions available in the program will continue to expand to include the latest cutting-edge data, technologies and protocols from U.S. cotton and will be rolled out in phases.

“Bringing greater insights to our mill and manufacturer partners has an impact on the process throughout the supply chain,” Atherley said. “Enhanced operations can lead to higher efficiencies and lower costs contributing to a more streamlined, strong and stable supply chain overall. In particular, our Cotton USA Solutions Mill Exchange Program enables Cotton USA licensee signature mills to exchange ideas with key textile mill leaders from around the world, a fantastic avenue for forming partnerships for future business ventures.”

Mills and manufacturers, including Cotton USA licensees, must qualify for the program. Upon qualification, licensees will have complimentary access and non-licensees can access for a nominal fee.

Atherley said as the pandemic shut down operations across the globe, executing in a virtual world has been the main challenge.

“However, we worked to develop and launch the Solutions program now because its offerings are specifically designed to benefit mills and manufacturers,” he said. “Providing resources that can help companies navigate the current economy was a key driver. We even adapted our offerings to better assist without direct contact. With our Virtual Mill Doctor, the technical team can conduct mill consultations with Microsoft Remote Assist technology to visit operations without physically being there.”

Atherley said the program’s dedication to helping build closer relationships between suppliers and buyers benefits the entire industry. The offerings are also designed to assist businesses at all levels of expertise.

With the challenges the entire industry supply chain has faced in recent months, “now is a critical time to bring solutions that are cost-effective, time- or resource-saving, or that improve quality and processing to build long-term success for mills and manufacturers,” Atherley said.

Mills, manufacturers, brands and retailers around the world can qualify for the Cotton USA licensing program by using greater than 50 percent U.S. cotton in their products. For products sold outside the U.S., all licensees, including mills, manufacturers, brands and/or retailers, must use greater than 50 percent U.S. cotton in the products. Inside the country, products must contain greater than 50 percent cotton and 100 percent of the cotton must be U.S. cotton.

“We have over 975 Cotton USA licensees throughout the global supply chain that we support with a range of value-added services,” Atherly added. “To get started, qualifying mills, manufacturers, brands and retailers should contact their local Cotton Council International (CCI) representative.”

CCI is a non-profit trade association that promotes U.S. cotton fiber and manufactured cotton products around the globe with its Cotton USA mark.