2012 Annual Meeting

May 6 - 8 | Eden Roc Renaissance Hotel | Miami Beach, Florida

Summary written by Mike Todaro, AAPN Managing Director

We wish to thank everyone in the American Apparel Producers’ Network (AAPNetwork) for our 2012 Annual Meeting in Miami last week, whether you were there or not.

Fortune magazine argued in a recent article that the challenge today is figuring out how to deliver value across silos in a different way – silos within your company, along your supply chains and in the part of the world where you work. And the key, they said, was to learn, share and repeat – that this is hard, disruptive and there is no EASY BUTTON to getting it done. This is exactly what our meetings are – tipping silos into pipelines.

The three major benefits to the 160 in Miami were networking, networking and more networking. After our president Kurt Cavano set the meeting tone, the next two hours that I spent slowly and carefully introducing every company and letting them express their talents and issues meant the networking started in earnest at the first coffee break.

Our keynote talk and discussion was led by Robin Lewis author of THE NEW RULES OF RETAIL. Robin argue that the supply chain in the room was the engine and drive train and that retail was the body. He said retailers need to lift the lid and look under it more often and study the chain, as this meeting did for him.

We drilled into the supply chain through 4 layers: that everyone competes as a supply chain; that we had a room full of world class suppliers; that within them we had world class supply chains in the room highlighting one in El Salvador called Environmental Valley; and that this very chain had in fact developed and were announcing their own brand.

Tom Travis took us on an exhaustively detailed journey through the world of global competitiveness and shifting legislation. The number of charts he used was unbelievable but clearly backed his conclusions.

Thanks to Robin, Walter Wilhelm, Kurt Cavano, Rick Horwitch and others, we enjoyed interactive panels and ‘virtual panel’ debates with retailers, brands, factories, spinners & mills, trim, logistics and services and, spontaneously, even sustainability. I am especially thankful to Nikhil Hirdaramani for showing his slides on sustainability in Sri Lanka and sharing the ‘joint venture’ blueprint that Marks & Spencer invested in with them there.

The smartphone app that Sue Strickland created and is refining with the help of David Springett of Isotope was a massive hit. Our plan is to give every member a smartphone app they can give customers so they can activate our sourcing network from anywhere anytime.

We decided on more AAPN events in New York, Los Angeles and the DR-CAFTA region and plans are progressing there right now.

And finally, using our own meeting intern, Alex Overholt, a polymers major at GaTech, we tackled a concept of how to help kids get hands on in our industry. Jeanna Peifer is taking the lead on this project.