Eco-Friendly Production

International Plant Profile

Textile World Asia Special ReportEco-Friendly Production In South Africa

Team Puma, headquartered in Cape Town, has annual revenues of about $19 million.Sherco
Group’s Cape Town, South Africa-based Team Puma employs 195 personnel with approximate total annual
revenues of 125 million South African rand (approximately $19 million). Currently, the company is
producing circular knitted goods in cotton and cotton/spandex blends at a volume of 100 tons per
week. The Team Puma story is one of growth and development and targeted at participating in the
global marketplace, while developing strong partnerships and taking environmental issues
seriously.Team Puma’s heritage goes back to 1956 in Athlone Industria, Cape Town. From that
beginning, the company now is positioned to offer the market a range of high-quality circular-knit
fabrics dyed and finished to meet the needs of the consumer. Competitiveness, in a global sense,
has seen the focus move from the local home market to the export arena. This has developed since
2000, by way of the African Growth Opportunities Act (AGOA) promulgated by the United States to
stimulate trade with Africa and to develop sub – Saharan economies.Using 15 percent of its profits
for research and development, the company most recently has invested in the installation of new
state-of-the-art Aquachron Smart dyeing technology, valued at 21 million rand,from England-based
Sclavos S.A.; 24-gauge, 30-inch diameter circular-knitting machinery, valued at 4 million rand,
from U.S.- based Monarch Knitting Machinery Corp.; an on-line tenter inspection system; and
technical upgrades in control and quality control testing equipment. According to the company,
these investments were made to replace poor, inefficient machinery and, most importantly, to
upgrade Team Puma’s capability to compete in the global market.When asked what technologies were at
the core of its success, a company spokesman said, “The dyehouse is the core of the success, as the
Sclavos machinery allows low-liquor ratio dyeing (6 liters to every 1 kilogram of fabric) with
substantial savings in energy and steam consumption, water usage, effluent volume, and electric
consumption; and increased productivity. This gives a payback to the bottom line.”These investments
have provided Team Puma with a competitive advantage that enables it to offer price, quality,
delivery, and service to a global customer base. And through audits and benchmarking, the company
says it has achieved the competitive level necessary to be a serious global supplier.


Team Puma recently invested in new and upgraded equipment .

With main export customers such as Tommy Hilfiger, Gap Inc., Abercrombie & Fitch and Mast
Industries, as well as a local market of retail chains including Woolworth’s, Edgars (Edcon), Jet
Stores, Sales House, Mr Price, Foschini, and Adidas Billabong, Team Puma has achieved a blend of
domestic and global clients. The current local/export sales ratio is 70/30, with the United States
as the leading export market. In the next five years, the company is targeting growth in the export
market while maintaining a healthy local market position with the top retail chains in South
Africa.Team Puma notes that growth is challenging, pointing to logistics and currency fluctuations
as key issues. Situations such as securing fabric orders from both export and local markets to meet
production capacity have presented challenges, especially as the rand has strengthened against the
dollar by 30 percent over the past 18 months. But the company is confident it can overcome such
issues.“We already have completed audits and comply with strict social audit ordinances, and have a
radical resource management approach to environmental issues. This will position Team Puma
strategically in facing the upcoming growth of China and of apparel exports to the United States.
Team Puma is a global player, providing knitted fabric dyed and finished in accordance with highest
quality requirements. The progressive approach allows customers a one-stop-shop option at a
globally competitive price, encouraging strategic partnerships as a springboard into the United
States export markets,” the company said.

The Team Puma-Sclavos relationship is tagged “Responsible Resource Management.” Environmental
PartnershipTeam Puma’s relationship with dyeing technology supplier Sclavos is notable, because
Sclavos supports Team Puma’s goal of improved global environmental standards while providing the
necessary technology to be an efficient global company.With seven Sclavos machines, each with Pozzi
RCR and salt addition systems, Team Puma actively promotes this relationship. In one piece of
marketing material titled “The Greener Approach,” the Team Puma-Sclavos relationship is tagged
“Responsible Resource Management.”Sclavos technology has enabled Team Puma to reduce water
consumption by 50 percent, reduce electricity consumption by 60 percent and reduce steam
consumption by 40 percent, according to Team Puma.The company said, “We see our relationship with
Sclavos as an equal partnership for the common good with the natural environment as a major
beneficiary. With Venus Smart HT, Sclavos has met and surpassed the industry demand by creating a
uniquely versatile machine that allows for high quality and quick turnaround of dyed fabric.”Team
Puma has won Cotton SA awards in the Best Circular Knitter category from 1994 to 1998, and also won
in 2003 the environmental Cleaner Textile Production category. The company has also achieved the
ISO 9000-2002 Quality Mark, the Oekotex 100 Standard for infant apparel and DuPont’s Lycra®
accreditation.When asked what Team Puma’s strength is, the company spokesman said, “Quick response,
good quality and performance, and a global culture.” That said, Team Puma is positioned for the

Summer 2004