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Kaltex Apparel SA de CV

Page history last edited by Mike Todaro 15 years, 1 month ago

 

 

Rancho los Mejía

s/n Barrio del Espíritu Santo

San Juan del Río, Qro  Mexico 76800

Phone: 52 427 271 9306

Fax: 52 427 272 7695

 

Julio BareaJulio Barea

CEO

Kaltex Apparel

jbarea@kaltex.com.mx

 

 

Juan Balas Cojab, Design and Merchandising, jbalas@kaltex.com.mx

www.kaltex.com.mx

 

A JEANS FACTORY GONE TRANSLUCENT

Mike Todaro, AAPN, April 2009

 

Who knows what the family was thinking over 80 years ago when they laid out their plans for Kaltex Textiles in Mexico. Visiting it today, it has an Asian scale. It extends into the horizon with 9 companies and 11,000 people in and around the state of Queretaro, Mexico. 

 

Julio with DesignersI do not write this casually. Kaltex is a member of our network and Julio Barea (shown far right in photo at left), President of Kaltex Apparel, is a friend. No, I write this with the passion of an insider invited to see the company’s strategy through my filter as a supply chain veteran.

 

Much of the concern about supply chains today has shifted to looking for solvency. Will my supplier be around tomorrow? So looking into the highly transparent Kaltex, it glows with action, adaptation and achievement, to me shining translucent. 

 

It is a true, proven, full package, vertically integrated factory from fiber, yarn, fabric, design, apparel, logistics to retail. It would take 8 AAPN member companies to create this one enterprise! Kaltex is known for jeans but in truth its secret is an enormous range of woven fabrics, all developed internally.

 

Denim YarnsKaltex Apparel’s division began in 1995. It started as a maquila, but today does exceptional in-house development of leading edge denim trends. With three local sewing facilities, it operates over 2,000 machines plus embellishment. 

 

Garments range from 5 pocket jeans to fashion bottoms. Today they deliver over 160,000 units a week, with a capacity of twice that, spread across 4 US brands/retailers, some for over 10 years, and Walmart Mexico. Being north of Mexico City offers the distinct advantage of being hours by truck from factory to Dallas/Fort Worth. 

 

The key to jeans of course is the finish. Kaltex has every possible combination from simple wash to complex multi-step finishes, including laser outlining (shown left), which guides hand sanding. When all of this is done, they offer computer driven, customer integrated back end jeans being burned by laserlogistics including sorting, pre-pack, direct shipping and replenishment. 

 

But it is the ‘front end’ of the cycle that bears the stamp of Julio Barea. Until his arrival in early 2008, to be frank, Kaltex had an image of separation between its textile and apparel sides of the enterprise. Today, they operate seamlessly, in concert, starting in design and product development. 

 

Design CenterOver 80 people are assigned to nothing but product development including dedicated dry and wet finishing. They are true skill workers, highly educated and experienced. Because denim snaps quickly to new trends, Kaltex’s textile engineers and apparel designers perform intense, continuous, global denim trend analysis. 

 

In 2005, Juan Balas Cojab launched their first ‘merchandising’ collection done from scratch – completely new fabrics; new wash techniques; new base patterns for tops and bottoms; piece and garment dye mixes. 

 

Their customers respond to this innovation by changing their styles to adapt to those proposed by Kaltex. How could they resist? Kaltex offered them over 2,000 original garments with an additional 13,000 leg panels for their evaluation. 

 

Now, an important part - sustainability is not a buzz word at Kaltex. When you tour the indigo polluted water treatment operation, you end it by drinking a glass of the cleansed water. They recycle chemicals. They exceed US OSHA safety standards. They super-comply.

 

What impressed me most was not the marriage between textiles and apparel, but the shift of ownership, respect and attitude to managers, all done deliberately and with fiscal discipline by Julio in just over 1 year on the job.  What kind of GM points out his favorite floor workers’ cafeteria, the one where he eats with them several times a week? 

 

17 shades from one garment dyed pantIt is no accident that one of the most successful launches of their self-designed collection was called ‘Attitude’. In fact, while I was there, I was introduced to a new product – a pants that was garment dyed and then finished into any of 17 exciting colors – 17 iterations from 1 base!

 

That’s the way all star factories partner with their customers. They don’t sell what they know how to make. They make what they know their customers can sell. There are full package factories and then there are ‘full’ full package producers like Kaltex.

 

Clearly, it is how Julio has put this expertise and vision together that sets Kaltex apart. Being close doesn’t hurt, or being fast, or being accurate, or being first with fashions that surprise their customers. 

 

So, you think all factories are the same, huh? You’re nuts. They’re not. What are you thinking? 

 

Two problems in US retail right now are inexperienced young staff and unchallenged major assumptions (“factories are substitutable”) .....(“it costs nothing to switch factories”) ......(“you can’t sell more by spending more”).....all dead wrong.

 

But not for those industry veterans partnering with Kaltex. They got it about right. Now, their secret is out.

 

 

 

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