Deep rooted family values and a growth mindset keep technical weaving company Schneider Mills well-positioned for the future.
By Rachael S. Davis, Executive Editor
M.eet George Shtohryn and Tim Little, the dynamic duo at the helm of fourth-generation, family-owned company Schneider Mills Inc., Taylorsville, N.C. The co-presidents split management duties with Shtohryn handling sales and fabric development from a New York City-based office, and Little overseeing production at the company’s 450,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art weaving mill in Taylorsville. Shtohryn is the more outgoing and gregarious of the two, as one might expect from someone in sales; and Little slightly more reserved. But both are equally passionate about what they do and the company they work for.
Between them they have 64 years with the company — Little in his 39th year and Shtohryn his 25th year. The company also has 15 employees on staff with more than 40 years of service and one lab employee celebrating her 50th year with the Schneider Mills this year. Amazingly, Mary Wike, a long-time lab employee who sadly passed away last year, had spent 62 years as a Schneider employee.
In 1938, Schneider’s oldest son, Isadore Schneider, took over running the business. Isadore managed sales, while his brother Albert was over manufacturing.
In 1946, the company established a manufacturing operation in Taylorsville, N.C., where it ultimately consolidated its manufacturing operations.
“Schneider was following a trend that I think a lot of companies in the textile industry and other businesses were caught up in during the 1940s, which was to move further and further south,” Shtohryn said. “The trend was based on the labor situation and lack of unionization.”
“The company picked Alexander County, N.C., because it’s the largest county in North Carolina by land, but had least amount manufacturing in the state,” Little added. “The Schneider’s figured there were farm hands with families in the county and perhaps they could introduce some of those people to manufacturing.”
/公司的100年+历史,它的刺激uct line and manufacturing capabilities have evolved. The company’s focus today is on technical woven fabrics, and it sells exclusively greige fabric made using nylon, polyester or acetate ranging from 30 to as high as 1,260 denier. Fabrics may have plain or fancy dobby patterns and range in weight from 0.5 to 12 ounces per square yard.
未染色的面料,虽然有些可能solution-dyed, require downstream processing by Schneider’s customers to meet the requirements for the targeted end-use. In some cases, the same base fabric can end up in entirely different applications depending on the type and number of downstream processes it is subjected to.
“We take the raw yarns and weave them to a specification required by our customers, who then treat the fabric in additional processing steps to make it end-use specific,” Shtohryn said. “There are so many things that happen to our fabric in downstream processing. It almost always starts with scouring. From there, fabrics may be dyed, printed and heat-set. Some customers might apply durable water-repellent or flame-retardant finishes. Others may coat and/or laminate the fabric. We have one particular customer who subjects our fabric to more than 20 different steps in downstream processing to meet their specifications.”
A large portion of Schneider’s fabrics end up in military applications. Additionally, these same fabrics might be used by law enforcement, the FBI, and U.S. Forest Service, among other government agencies. End products include backpacks, human and cargo parachutes, as well as protective equipment such as vests. “We hold the Berry Amendment very, very dear,” Shtohryn said. “It is very important to our business, and also assures that our military is supplied with consistent products that live up to specifications.” The Berry Amendment requires that the U.S. Department of Defense procure goods — which includes clothing, fabrics, fibers, yarns and other made-up textiles — produced in the United States and not from foreign sources.
Applications for the products aren’t limited to just military and protective equipment end-uses however. Schneider’s acetate taffeta winds up in surgical tape. Another substrate is silicon coated and used in airbags. The company also has a large business in fabrics for country and organizational flags and banners.
“Some of our customers own their own processing facilities, and there are other independent processing facilities that many of our customers use,” Shtohryn noted. “There is an agility to our distribution, and there is a specialty in some of these processing facilities that perhaps the larger companies do not have.”
Flexibility, Accepting Of Change
这家公司从它运作的机械方面非常灵活，对运行不断变化的产品的员工的心态。“我记得艾伯特的老谚语中的一个 - 织机不在乎它运行的纤维是什么样的纤维，它必须足够灵活地运行不同的纤维，”很少说明。“这是他们在这里所做的关键事情之一是根据灵活性建立制造工厂。”根据少年，他在施耐德厂工作，该公司已经从德珀织机移动到剑杆机到喷水和空气喷射机器。目前每分钟织物速度为800到1,100次。“我们为我们运行的速度感到自豪，并且狼人的质量，”小说。
Little and Shtohryn also credit much of the company’s success to its philosophy of never saying “no.” Schneider is quite often approached by a customer that knows the company’s capabilities and has a particular fabric construction in mind. “’Do you think we can develop this product together?’ is a question we are often asked,” Shtohryn mentioned. “Knowing the diverse capabilities and expertise at the plant, along with the willingness of our plant associates, the answer is almost always yes.
“这是一个全回到哲学Albert and Isadore who said send us a sample, and we’ll make it,” Shtohryn continued. “No one says no, at least not without trying!”
“I’m not saying we can make everything,” Little added. “But we will give it a try and the flexibility in the plant allows us to do just that. The only limitations are the minimum and maximum widths.”
Agile also is a word Shtohryn used to describe the company. “It’s manufacturing agility, it’s marketing agility, and it’s also from a strong financial backbone the company possesses,” Shtohryn noted. “Today, we consider ourselves to be professionally run, yet family owned. And we have the full support of the family to do what’s necessary to keep the business thriving the way it has for more than 100 years.”
Labor, Supply Chain Challenges
Recently, the company has experienced some labor challenges and supply chain issues. “There have been labor challenges nationwide and we’re not immune to that,” Shtohryn said. “But we were quite fortunate and did not have to furlough during the initial stages of the pandemic. However, as for many companies today, labor availability remains challenging for Schneider.”
“Speaking of the workforce, we are very fortunate in some ways,” Little added. “We’ve actually gained some employees now that the unemployment situation has changed. And we have second-, third- and even some fourth-generation family employees working at Schneider. That family aspect has really helped us keep employees on staff.”
但施耐德工厂希望动摇纺织业不是迷人的行业工作的一般性看法。从血汗工厂的日子以来，美国纺织业发生了不可估量的影响;电影“norma rae;”和昏暗，尘土飞扬的棉花植物。该行业是现代和高科技 - 无论是在产品中的制作和使其的设施 - 和Schneider是现代技术编织厂的完美典范。
“Even though we are a technical weaver, we still suffer the stigma of textiles from long ago,” Little said. “We have highly technical, computerized machines and we are trying to strongly promote that idea in our community and make known the employment opportunities available at Schneider Mills. We still have a difficult time getting across the idea that it is not the textile industry of years ago.”
供应链问题 - 从偶尔的备件或原材料短缺和附加费，以及增加的运费 - 没有影响施奈德·米尔斯的开展业务哲学。“既然我们一般与我们的供应链有伙伴关系，我们并不是唯一必须通过各种增加的人，”Shtohryn说。“真正存在在我们分销中的伙伴关系方法，我们在这共同生存并一起茁壮成长。”
Approximately 12 years ago, Albert Schneider began researching carbon fiber weaving as a way to use the company’s expertise and branch out.
最终结果是Schneider Mills的全资子公司，名为美国复合织物（CFA）。这项业务由阿尔伯特的孙子Matthew McPherson经营。CFA在航空，汽车，娱乐和基础设施维修市场中为复合应用编织碳和对芳族芳纶纤维。
“CFA is an off-shoot and a different market, but I do think it complements our business,” Shtohryn said. “We have customers because of their exposure to military technology, mostly through soft goods, that touch on the fringes of fabrics for hard goods. This has created some opportunities for CFA that we hope will bear fruit.”
“You never know what’s going to happen tomorrow as far as the challenges that may come our way,” Little mused. “The fact we don’t say no to anything makes every day challenging. What we are doing, is trying to do it better every day. Trying to find a way to make sure the quality is better and trying to reduce the price by even just half a penny per yard to stay competitive. There is always something we can do better.”
敏捷, flexibility, a growth mindset and strong family values define Schneider Mills. The lessons learned from previous generations — including the philosophy of never saying “no” — puts the company in a great position for the future. The family business and Albert and Isadore’s legacy remains in good hands.