The Americas Apparel Producers’ Network online SOURCING CENTER continues to produce for the medical community during the COVID-19 crisis.
Within ten minutes of launching the center on 3/22, the CENTER had its first post. Today, on 4/3, over 10,000 have viewed the Center, with over 3,500 registered users and nearly 500 posts.
Users have come togther from every corner of the industry including members of NAUMD (uniforms), IFAI (fabric), INDA (nonwovens), SPESA (equipment), SEAMS (regional) and AAFA (lobby).
In turn, word of mouth from our members to their customers; from articles posted in journals; from blogs and websites across the industry have brought people into the exchange.
Making sense of all of these producers has fallen on the shoulders of AAPN president Ed Gribbin (firstname.lastname@example.org), CEO of Gribbin Strategic. Ed created a massive spreadsheet detailing who offered what. This spreadsheet is posted in the SOURCING CENTER.
Ed has also worked tirelessly to connect the dots required to make 50,000 medical gowns for a large hospital chain. He found the requisite fabric early on, but locating cut/sew capability in the US has been challenging.
One factory committed to help Ed had to back out because upon calling their 140 sewing operators back to work, the vast majority declined. Their reasons were health concerns and childcare primarily, plus realizing they'd make more from stimulus payments and unemployment.
On the other hand, one AAPN member wrote, "Hard to understand how any right-minded person in our government would incentivize people not to work. I was able to bring back most of my team. They knew that they could make substantially more money by not coming back, but they made a choice to support the company right now. Some of those conversations were ones that I won't ever forget".
Clearly the industry, up and down the supply chain, have risen to the crisis. Fortunately, we were able to share a network that was already active with 200 industry organizations and some 1,600 people.
This experience has been one of the most ground-breaking validations of the power of trust-through-networking in our nearly 40 year history at AAPN, and one of which Sue, Ed and I are very proud to be an ongoing part of.
Again, many thanks to all the AAPN members who are helping to make this happen.