Face2Face – Interview with Ms. Maria Avery

Miss Maria Avery is the Secretary General of CEMATEX. Born in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, Miss Avery holds a university degree in Spanish, Portuguese and French and a postgraduate diploma in Business Studies.

She spent 19 years with Bonas Machine Company, manufacturer of electronic Jacquard machines for the weaving industry (now part of the Van de Wiele Group). As its Marketing Manager, she was responsible for Bonas’ participation in over 60 textile machinery exhibitions worldwide (including five ITMA shows between 1983 and 1999). During this time she was a member of the British Textile Machinery Association’s Exhibitions Committee, and was Chairman of the Committee from 1996 to 1999.

In January 2000 Maria joined the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) as Exhibition Director to head up the organization of ITMA 2003 in Birmingham.   She then spent a year establishing a textile machinery event in Dubai, following which she joined CEMATEX (Comité Européen des Constructeurs de Machines Textiles) as ITMA Manager and was appointed Secretary General in July 2005. CEMATEX is the owner of the ITMA and ITMA ASIA series of exhibitions.

Q. Please take us through ITMA journey and your involvement in the exhibition.
The first ITMA exhibition was held in 1951. Since its launch, the exhibition has been held successfully across various European cities every four years.

Throughout its history, ITMA has been constantly evolving in order to stay relevant to the needs of the textile and garment manufacturing industry. It has been expanding its exhibit profile and now it includes 19 product sectors, ranging from spinning to garment finishing and even raw materials and fabrics.

With the emergence of Asia as the largest producer of textiles and garments, a landmark decision was made by CEMATEX in 1999 to launch an Asian version of ITMA. ITMA ASIA caters to the growing needs of Asian textile manufacturers and the first exhibition was held in Singapore in 2001. In response to market demands, ITMA ASIA shifted to China in 2008. This led to the launch of a combined show with Chinese partners – ITMA ASIA + CITME. The show is held biennially in Shanghai with the next edition scheduled to be held in 2018.

To make it more convenient for buyers to source machinery and raw materials under one roof, ITMA’s exhibit profile expanded to include fibres and yarns in 2011, and fabrics in 2015. At ITMA 2019, visitors will also be able to explore leasing and financing services.

As CEMATEX is the owner of ITMA and ITMA branded exhibitions, in my capacity as its Secretary General, I am involved in the strategic development of the ITMA brand, venue selection of each new edition, and ensuring the quality and delivery of each exhibition in order to maintain ITMA’s reputation as the world’s largest and most established textile and garment technology showcase.

Q. The first ITMA exhibition was launched by CEMATEX in 1951. It has taken place in various European cities with great success every four years, so which are the most successful ones of the lot?
 ITMA exhibitions have grown from strength to strength since their launch. Each edition of the exhibition has achieved remarkable milestones, thanks to the support of our exhibitors, sponsors, visitors, supporting associations, media partners and many more who contribute to the exhibition’s success.

In terms of turnout, the ITMA exhibition held in Milan in 2015 broke all previous records. It featured exhibits from the entire textile and garment making value chain, including raw materials, and drew the participation of almost 1,700 exhibitors from 46 countries and visitorship of almost 123,000 from 147 countries.

Q. How you could maintain the strong reputation as a world class trade exhibition?
 ITMA’s value proposition includes strict admission criteria of exhibitors, and live machinery demonstrations have helped attract high quality exhibitors and visitors to every edition. Its established set of rules and regulations have helped to maintain the quality of the showcase. As it is only held every four years, exhibitors use it to launch their latest innovations. This makes it an exciting, trendsetting showcase that the industry looks forward to.

Q. What is the size of the global machinery market?
 According to the latest market report by Technavio, the global textile machinery market is estimated to be valued at US$22.9 billion with an impressive 13.8% forecasted annual growth in demand up to 2020.

Q. From which geographies is the demand the most for which machines?
A. In terms of market share and rate of growth, Asia continues to take the lead in the global textile and apparel machinery industry with spinning, weaving and garment making machines in popular demand. Lately, there is also a strong interest in digital printing as it is more eco-friendly and cost-efficient.

Q. What are the latest innovations that these machines offer?
 Most textile and garment making solutions are trending towards sustainable innovation. The new machines incorporate eco-friendly features that use less water and energy. The digitization of manufacturing processes has spawned innovations that offer greater automation through more sophisticated artificially intelligent systems and robotics technology. Many of these new innovations which will be unveiled at ITMA 2019.

Q. Any plans to set up ITMA exhibition in other parts of the world, especially in India?
A. There are many domestic exhibitions catering to local market demands in various textile and garment making countries around the world. As an industry leading showcase, ITMA only admits original equipment manufacturers to exhibit, and features live machinery demonstrations. Hence, we do not wish to overtax the resources of machinery sellers and buyers by having too many exhibitions.

Currently, the ITMA and ITMA ASIA exhibitions serve the needs of our exhibitors and visitors worldwide. These are sufficient to support the marketing efforts of our exhibitors, and the sourcing needs of major brands and textile and garment makers. However, we will continue to monitor the markets and can amend our future strategy as relevant.

Q. How do you see your market segment growing in the next 5-10 years both locally and internationally?
A. We shall continue to develop ITMA and make it a relevant and industry leading exhibition that offers an integrated, end-to-end solutions showcase to the entire textile and garment making industry.

Published on 10-10-2017

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of The Textile Association (India).