With saving on wastages becoming the prime focus for many garment manufacturers today, cutting solutions that are effective have gained importance. Among the many options available in the market, Eastman – the manufacturer of cutting room solutions for the apparel and other sewn products industry – has over the time become synonymous with cutting rooms of apparel manufacturing units in south-east Asia. Time and again, the company has proven its expertise and importance to the cutting rooms in apparel factories in China, India and Bangladesh.
Moving forward towards growth and increasing its market share, Eastman’s next destination is Vietnam. The country’s apparel industry, in recent years, has grown quite significantly, thanks to their well-trained workforce and politically stable environment, which has encouraged a number of foreign companies to establish and expand their production in Vietnam. “Currently, we do not hold a very strong share in Vietnam market but we are trying to develop our business there,” says Wade Stevenson, Export President, Eastman Machine Company.
In order to penetrate the Vietnam market, Eastman is mulling over setting up its liaison office in the country. It already has its liaison offices in India and Bangladesh. Taking a pro-active step further, Eastman has recently brought in Taisuke Miyahara to head operations in the South Asian market. He is the President of Eastman Garment Equipment (Ningbo) Co. Ltd. and Managing Director of Eastman-CRA (Hong Kong) Ltd. He is looking after sales and manufacturing operations for the Asian market.
The new addition in the company’s management is an evidence of the company’s relationship with Juki. Taisuke earlier served as President of Juki Europe for 27 years. Akira Hirata, Former Managing Director, Eastman-CRA, also worked for Juki before. Lastly, it was Aibe with whom Wade jointly opened the sales office Eastman-CRA (Hong Kong) Ltd. “Hirata was looking for a successor and he asked me to join. That was a turning point for me and I’m here now with a mission,” says Taisuke.
Displaying its solutions at CISMA, Eastman noted most visitations from Pakistan, Bangladesh, India and Vietnam, while European and American visitors were less in number. Talking about its portfolio of products, Miyahara explains, “Industry 4.0 solutions are a requirement for big factories, but there are a number of small factories which do not need these solutions. We understand the customer needs and provide them what they want, not what we think they need. We give them the right machine at a fair price.”
Known for its heritage of manufacturing in USA from last 135 years, Eastman Machine Company, in 2004, opened a manufacturing facility in China. Having named as Eastman Garment Equipment (Ningbo) Co. Ltd., the facility helped the company to be geographically close to its Asian customers. “With this facility, we are able to offer them value, efficiency and highest level of performance along with a competitive price,” says Wade.
The machines are manufactured to be sold in south-east Asian countries whereas the USA manufacturing facility caters to American and European market. In order to ensure the same quality and technology at both manufacturing sites, the company’s USA-based headquarters approves all the parts going into the machine. The main reason behind Eastman opening a factory in China was the high import tax imposed on cutting machines by Chinese Government, but it has worked to its advantage.