Glen Raven’s China Investment

Corporate Profile

By Jim Borneman,Editor-In-ChiefA Global Perspective:Glen Raven AsiaGlen Raven establishes a
new design and manufacturing site in Suzhou, China, to support the growing market for its branded
Sunbrella® fabrics throughout Asia.Change in the global supply of tex-tile products requires that
companies stay focused on the shifting needs of customers and respond in a way that supports
growth. Glen Raven Inc., with a long history of inno-vation and continuing operations in technical
markets is best known for Sunbrella¨, a fabric line that has staked significant positions in the
outdoor, marine and casual furniture markets. Many companies speak of being global. Even North
Carolina, U.S.A.-based Glen Raven felt it was a global company because it sold product around the
world. However, Glen Raven today – with more than 125 years of experience in textiles – has made
global business a core element of its success.“Our successful venture in France helped make that a
reality,” Allen Gant, Glen Raven CEO said of developing a global strategy. “We acquired
France-based Dickson in 1997-98, and people realized we didn’t go and shut down any facilities. We
integrated it, and it was one of the best moves the company ever made. From a global perspective,
that was the thing that gave us more global emphasis than anything else we’ve ever done. All of a
sudden, we have 40 percent of our operations outside the United States in different cultures.
Today, when we have a general man-agers’meeting we have Americans, we have French, we may have
Italians and Chinese sitting in the same room. That’s a big difference – a huge dif-ference – and
our company has come to appreciate that we are glob-al; we are moving global; and we’ll go anywhere
in the world to serve a marketplace.”

Coordinating the Glen Raven effort for the company’s new plant in China are (left to right):
Li Hua, Liao Dong Ping, Philippe Petot and John Gant. Also involved is Scott Gillam, pictured

Expansion In Asia“We are building a facility in China,” Gant said. “We want to emphasize our
innovations and serve the market. We believe the Asian market is really developing, and we want to
manufacture for our customers there who make completed products to export to the rest of the world.
We also view Asia as a sourcing resource for our customers and ourselves. “Li Hua, the general
manager of Glen Raven Asia, has had experience with sourcing throughout Asia and China for his
former company, The Fellowes Co., and we hope he can use this knowledge to source for our customers
and us. We have had employees in Hong Kong and Shanghai for some time. Simon Gatliff in Australia
is responsible for Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia and Singapore. Alexis Maklakoff is responsible
for Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Korea, Japan, Philippines and China. Gu Ying Ping is
also very active in China. All three have been employed with Glen Raven for several years, so we
have been selling into the Asian market already for quite some time. The company is not new to
serving the market throughout Asia.” Building in China was not an easy decision for the company,
but with Sunbrella fabrics going into umbrellas and other products made in China to be sold around
the world, and customer demands for branded Sunbrella products rising in China, true to following
market demands, Glen Raven is building the new facility in Suzhou near Shanghai. This creates a
vertical facility to produce Sunbrella branded products close to the customer while enabling Glen
Raven to expand its global footprint. Development In ChinaCoordinating the Glen Raven Plant in
China are Philippe Petot, vice presi-dent international business develop-ment; Li Hua, general
manager of Glen Raven Asia; Liao Dong Ping, vice general manager of Glen Raven Asia; Scott Gillam,
vice president of oper-ations; John Gant, construction project manager; and Dan Crowe, process
pro-ject manager. Steve Ellington, president and general manager of Glen Raven Cus-tom Fabrics LLC;
and Leib Oehmig, assis-tant general manager and vice president of industrial sales and logistics
for Glen Raven Custom Fabrics LLC; also are major contributors to the development of Glen Raven
Asia. Although many textile companies focus on manufacturing, Glen Raven has understood for many
years that marketing is a significant driver in the textile industry. Not to be con-fused with
selling, Glen Raven values studying the marketplace and driving innovation to meet the changing
needs of the customer. This process of business strategy has driven a comprehensive development of
the third region of a three-region plan complimenting the developments of Glen Raven throughout the

Alexis Maklakoff (left) and Gu Ying PingMeeting Global Challenges“For global clients, like
major retailers, the requirements for products demand that the same product, at the same level of
quality, is available all over the world. This is a business reality,” said Petot. “They [the
customer] want to be able to manu-facture wherever they chose. As a global supplier, we support
their ability – our customers’ ability – to chose when and where to manufacture.” Regarding Glen
Raven’s benefit in building in China, Petot said, “We do not expect to save money by building in
China. We will benefit, however, by our ability to serve our customers in a very real way. This is
part of how we will maintain a major competitive advantage long-term – by serving our customer.”
Petot explained that many customers want the flexibility of the global sup-ply chain. For
time-to-market reasons, they may wish to manufacture in Asia, as well as other parts of the world.
It is Glen Raven’s goal to supply the same quality product wherever their customer demands.
Regarding the process of building in China, Petot said, “We have been pleasantly surprised. China
is adapting to changing conditions, so we have been experiencing a very positive development in
both achieving a very good facility and as a positive business environment.” Changes have taken
place during the process. “We did not expect to need a high level of design at this location, but
in the process it has become apparent that design is a critical function for our customers here,”
Petot said. “We added a showroom and a design space to accommodate this need. We have found that
investing in a design center here is a cus-tomer demand we must satisfy.” Petot explained that
because many customers source globally, having design capability is a must in maintaining the
innovative product offering clients have come to expect from the company.

(Left to right) Sun Bo, finishing manager; Li Hua, gneneral manager; Zhao Liang, plant
manager; and Liu Zhi Gen, weaving manager, Glen Raven AsiaFuture SuccessGlen Raven has worked very
hard to benefit from its years of experience in textiles. In recent years the company has made
significant adjustments to its manufacturing and marketing capabilities to meet the changing needs
of the global marketplace.“The key is we adjusted to meet our markets,” Gant said. It is this
ability to adapt and serve the market that has lead to Glen Raven’s success. “We are coming to a
time in which there will be no duties, no tariffs anywhere around,”Gant said.“And free trade will
be there. Will it be as close as 2010? I don’t know, but there will come a time when true market
prowess will determine who gets it.” When asked about the future plans for the company, Gant said,
“In the future? I can’t tell you the products or services we will be delivering, but I can tell you
we will be serving a market – a market that is growing – a market that is benefiting from the value
we deliver. It may be textiles; it may be transportation and logistics; it could be finance – the
only thing I know is Glen Raven will be providing value to customers.”

November/December 2005