With Kirk Fitzsimmons, Director of Industrial Sales
As the world continues to navigate a roller coaster of experiences caused by the health pandemic, people continue to invest in their homes, specifying preferred and trusted brands and favoring quality above all else. As a result, we’re seeing unprecedented levels of demand for Sunbrella fabrics – more than twice pre-pandemic levels across all markets. While a seemingly good problem to have, it hasn’t come without its challenges. I am here to provide an update on where we stand in investing for the future and working to the level of service that our valued partners deserve.
How is Sunbrella addressing the growth in demand?
It certainly has and continues to be a difficult situation beyond what anyone could have anticipated. Beyond demand, there are also unprecedented disruptions in the global supply chain impacting many industries and companies.
Like many of our partners, this was a new position, requiring a quick response in addition to ongoing and longer-term learning and strategic action.
We’re doing everything we can to further increase capacity and get fabric to our valued partners and customers. This includes accelerating a multi-phase expansion plan: building a new novelty yarn plant, installing new and upgraded equipment, collaborating with our supply base to further increase our supply of raw materials and more.
What progress has been made in executing expansion plans?
Already the first wave of new, more efficient weaving machines is running, producing fabrics faster while using less energy. We are actively installing additional equipment at our facilities and output from our U.S. yarn plants continues to increase.
Why is Sunbrella investing in the future?
Throughout our 60-year history, we’ve always focused on being a trusted partner and on driving the future of fabric. Our core values include doing the right thing and, to put it simply, we believe these investments are the right thing to do to provide the level of service our partners and ultimately, end-users expect and deserve from us.
These continued upgrades to our business are an investment in our shared future. There is a reason that Sunbrella is the most trusted brand by consumers, and we don’t take that responsibility lightly.
What else is Sunbrella doing to support partners?
Our priority is to be as transparent as possible with our partners. With supply chain dynamics as they are, we are doing our best to update customers as often as things change. In addition to our previously announced $65 million expansion program, we’ve streamlined our production and our associates are working around the clock to meet our partners’ needs.
We’ve also doubled down on our commitment to quality and service with the expansion of our warranty to include labor costs in addition to replacement fabric,* resulting in the industry’s most comprehensive warranty. As an added benefit for our partners and to enhance the relationship with end consumers, our expanded warranty makes resolving any Sunbrella fabric claim even easier in the rare instances it may be needed.
And on a similar note, members of our dedicated Sunbrella Care Team are standing by, ready to serve partners and consumers in navigating any questions, challenges and more.
What does the future hold?
We will get through this. Like our fabrics, we know collaboration and partnership stand the test of time. The future is bright and we’re working hard to cultivate our network for the mutual growth in store. Consumers continue to specify and buy products that feature Sunbrella at unprecedented levels. In turn, we will continue to do our part to invest in our network to meet this demand and to support our partners, communicating progress and updates every step along the way.
How is Sunbrella keeping up with growing demand?
- BUILDING A NEW NOVELTY YARN PLANT
- INSTALLING MORE AND UPGRADED EQUIPMENT
- INCREASING OUTPUT FROM U.S. YARN PLANTS
- PULLING FORWARD ADDITIONAL CAPACITY EXPANSION PLANS
- STREAMLINING CURRENT OFFERING
By Kirk Fitzsimmons, Director of Industrial Sales
Kirk Fitzsimmons is the Director of Industrial Sales for Glen Raven, Inc. and has been with the company since 2002 when he first joined as a sales manager. Boasting nearly 30 years of experience in textiles, Fitzsimmons oversees various processes and organizational functions and manages the company’s awning, marine, and automotive sales team to help ensure the mutual success of Glen Raven and its valued partners. When he’s not working, Fitzsimmons enjoys spending time outdoors with his family, hunting, flyfishing, cycling, and is an avid fan of New England sports teams.