Interview with Hartmut Engler, the new Treasurer of ETSA
Introduction: In this interview, ETSA Team had the privilege of gaining insights from Hartmut Engler, the new ETSA Treasurer. With his fresh perspective and vision, Mr. Engler discusses ETSA's crucial role in the textile services industry, particularly in the face of evolving European politics and industry dynamics. In the article below he shares his thoughts on the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead, highlighting the organization's commitment to sustainability, innovation, and international collaboration.
Question: Mr Engler you are fairly new into your role at CWS and in ETSA, given this newer perspective can you describe how you envision ETSA, and what role you see it playing in the textile services industry.
ETSA serves as the voice of our industry at the European level. It plays a vital role by facilitating the exchange of information and best practices while also advocating for our industry's interests in the realm of policy. ETSA is poised to provide support and advice to policymakers whose decisions can significantly impact our sector, particularly in areas such as standardization related to hygiene, environmental protection, quality, and safety for users of workwear.
Question: How do you think ETSA can adapt to and anticipate changes in the textile services industry, particularly in the dynamic and ever-shifting nature of European politics?
Adapting ETSA to changes in the textile services industry, particularly in the context of ever-evolving European politics, requires a comprehensive approach. This involves promoting sustainability by actively supporting sustainable practices and advocating for related policies, as the industry is increasingly affected by environmental regulations. Encouraging innovation is another key aspect, where ETSA can play a crucial role in fostering industry innovation, staying competitive, and meeting evolving customer needs through initiatives such as supporting research, development projects, and technology transfers. Additionally, recognizing the international nature of the textile services industry, ETSA should seek to foster international partnerships and collaborations to learn from global best practices and stay informed about industry developments worldwide. In summary, ETSA needs to proactively respond to policy developments, advocate for industry interests, and promote the long-term resilience and sustainability of the European textile services industry.
Question: The previous Presidency had to navigate the textile services industry through COVID-19, the energy crisis, staff shortages and inflation. The last three of which continue to be problems for the industry, what else do you believe are some major challenges facing the European textile service industry today?
Sustainability and Environmental Regulations: The textile industry faces mounting pressure to operate in a more sustainable manner and reduce its environmental footprint. This encompasses the adoption of eco-friendly materials, minimizing energy consumption and waste, and optimizing resource utilization.
Digitalization: The industry is undergoing a transformative shift due to digitalization. The integration of IoT (Internet of Things) technologies and automated processes holds the potential to enhance efficiency, but this transition necessitates investments and training. Supporting standardization efforts in this domain would be advantageous for the entire industry and all ETSA members.
Technological Innovations: Emerging technologies, such as advanced washing, drying, and dry-cleaning processes, offer opportunities to enhance service quality while simultaneously reducing operational costs. ETSA should actively promote these developments and explore avenues for securing subsidies at the European level.
Supply Chain Management: The industry's heavy reliance on global supply chains exposes it to risks stemming from supply shortages, trade disputes, and geopolitical uncertainties. ETSA must remain proactive in staying abreast of these trends and promptly inform its members to ensure preparedness and adaptability.
Question: Regarding digitalization and AI, CWS was the victim of a major cyber attack and has since adapted and become more resilient, do you believe the industry is in a good position to tackle digitization (and its risks) or do you think more needs to be done?
The industry, in my perspective, has been somewhat slow in harnessing the potential of digitalization for enhanced and expanded business opportunities. Nonetheless, we have witnessed some progress in recent years. However, it's crucial to recognize that the tactics employed by cybercriminals are continuously evolving. Hence, it becomes imperative for companies to consistently invest in enhancing their cybersecurity infrastructure, stay abreast of cutting-edge technologies, and elevate employee awareness concerning cybersecurity. ETSA should persist in its efforts to inform and educate its members about the ever-changing landscape of digital threats and best practices for safeguarding their operations.
Question: Where do you see the future of the European textile service industry, and how is ETSA positioning itself to lead in that future?
The future of the European textile services industry hinges on several critical factors, including the implementation of new and more stringent regulations at both European and national levels. These regulations span a wide spectrum, encompassing sustainability, energy-saving initiatives, waste management, and CO2 footprint reduction. In my view, ETSA stands as the most well-positioned organization within our industry to effectively navigate and address these multifaceted challenges. To amplify its impact, ETSA should consider expanding its membership base by extending membership options to a broader spectrum of industry stakeholders. Moreover, fostering closer collaborations and intensifying relationships with national associations can further enhance ETSA's ability to advocate for our industry's interests and influence policy decisions, ultimately ensuring a more robust and sustainable future.
Question: Mr. Engler, in your capacity as Treasurer, how do you ensure that ETSA's financial strategies align with the challenges and goals mentioned earlier?
In reality, I perceive a disconnect between our aspirations and our financial underpinnings. Consequently, we must engage in discussions to determine how we can enhance our appeal to current members and expand our reach to acquire new ones. A more extensive membership base would provide us with the essential financial resources required to effectively advocate for our industry's interests on the European stage. Given that we occupy a somewhat niche market within the EU context, it is imperative that we amplify our voice to ensure optimal outcomes for our industry.
Question: How do you see envision the continued collaboration between the ETSA Board, Secretariat and Dr Neyers as President, in ensuring the association's success?
Continuity is crucial for the ongoing work and success of ETSA. I am confident that in our new team, we will prioritize this aspect. However, it's important to acknowledge that new challenges will require our prompt attention. Robust and constructive discussions are the bedrock of sound decision-making. Our team's effectiveness will be gauged by the tangible impact and measurable results we achieve. I eagerly anticipate working closely with Dr. Neyers and the entire team to contribute to ETSA's success in the years ahead.
To find out more about our members including suppliers, national associations and research institutes click here.
To find out more about our members including textile rental companies, national associations and research institutes click here.
To find out more about our members including textile rental companies and suppliers, click here.