SUPPLIER PROFILE: Warwick Mills revs up R&D innovations
Warwick Mills is a leader in the engineering of technical textiles for protective applications. We develop and integrate complex fiber composites for the most challenging safety applications. Our core technologies are in technical textiles, custom adhesives, and performance coatings, from research and development to testing and full-scale manufacturing.
Warwick is located in New Ipswich, NH, and is oldest textile plant in the state, started in 1813. Today Warwick’s workforce is more than 140 employees.
What has been your company’s business strategy to gain market share?
Our motto of our TurtleSkin family of PPE is The Science of Protection. The ability to manufacture products backed by science has continuously placed us at the forefront of innovation. We continue to grow and gain market share in the U.S., as well as overseas.
Describe the core branded products of your company that you promote most heavily.
Warwick Mills is the manufacturer of the distinguished TurtleSkin brand. Our PPE product lines include TurtleSkin Safety Gloves, TurtleSkin Sleeves and Aprons, Tactical Gloves, TurtleSkin BodyArmor, TurtleSkin SnakeArmor and TurtleSkin WaterArmor.
During the past few months, we have expanded our popular TurtleSkin CP Neon needle and cut protection glove line. We’ve engineered three gloves: CP Neon Insider, CP Neon Grip and CP Neon Wrap to withstand high levels of both cut and puncture but without the bulkiness and stiffness of traditional gloves that offer the same level of protection.
Gloves from all three CP Neon lines will also be featured on Grainger’s website this year and in their 2015 product catalogue.
How do distributors contribute to your success in the marketplace?
Distributors are an integral part of our distribution; they are the backbone. We are frequently asked by industrial manufacturers to help them solve their hand injury problems, and in visiting their plants, we always take one of our distributors with them if we possibly can. Having the distributors be part of the final solution right from the very start has worked very well for us. Our recent partnership with Grainger is yet another positive step toward our goal of a wider distribution in the U.S. and beyond.
Do you offer them training? What other value-added services?
Yes, we offer on-site training, webinars, and telephone customer support on product features and test methods, and how our products stand out against the competition. We train that the test numbers on dexterity, cut, puncture, and abrasion speak for themselves. And we now offer free corporate branding on all glove orders of 500 pairs or more, so our distributors can give their customers added branding without adding costs.
What business characteristics do you look for when selecting to work with a distributor?
We look for distributors that have local distribution with industrial manufacturers. Distribution is about working with the customers to meet their specific needs — we look to the distributor to help keep that connection on how those needs change, so we can react together. We also look to the distributor to assist in data collection of customer feedback on new product wear trials.
Do you have any recent news about new facilities or new personnel to report?
We have expanded our glove manufacturing in New Hampshire, designating an entire new floor to glove production to react to the strong demand for the new TurtleSkin CP Neon glove line. We are also adding more research and development personnel, as well as added glove manufacturing employees.
Describe your current financial picture.
From the market decline of a few years back, we are now seeing steady growth, with a 3-5 year trendline of steady 10% growth each year. This has been driven by new products with technology edge at competitive pricing. Fifteen years ago, our glove line focused on only the premier specialty niche glove market, with offerings of only the most expensive gloves, all more than $60 a pair. Now in addition to those niche markets, in the past year we have expanded into general industrial safety with gloves retailing from $10 to $25 a pair, but still offering the highest performance.
What should distributors know about your company’s future, in terms of short- and long-range plans?
This year we added 26 new gloves, as well as TurtleSkin CP Sleeve and Aprons for the meat cutting industry. And we have new PPE products in the pipeline waiting to come out next year. The reason we have been around for more than 100 years is our focus on continuous improvement — just because we won the Export Achievement Award from the U.S. Department of Commerce in 2008, does not mean we stop inventing new products.