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A Journey of Transformation and Performance

COVID took a lot of industries on a wild rollercoaster of ups and downs, and one company is here to say it’s still possible to come out of it even stronger.

Navigating the tumultuous environment of the COVID-19 pandemic, Fabri Cote, a renowned figure in Michelin’s high-tech materials sector, is fast becoming as a model of resilience and adaptability. Recognized for its meticulous production of coated and laminated technical textiles, Fabri Cote’s precision in manufacturing has earned it an esteemed position within the aerospace and defense industry. Amidst unprecedented challenges, Fabri Cote is now charting a growth-oriented comeback journey, surpassing pre-COVID business levels. It is also carefully investing where needed to become a benchmark of resilience and dependability for customers in times of crisis.

Coming out of the pandemic, three key challenges that significantly impacted Fabri Cote’s aerospace and defense markets were a sudden surge in demand, a supply chain crisis, and labor shortages due to the Great Retirement. Combined, they created a perfect storm, generating considerable backlogs and stretching the company’s resources to the limits. A scarcity of raw materials, particularly silicon, added to that challenge.

As a result, delays had a ripple effect, causing disruptions not only within the company but also for its customers, and their end-users. At the same time, market and customer forecasts suggest increasing demand over years to come.
Given the critical nature of Fabri Cote’s products – materials formulated to thousandths of an inch precision that are especially valued in aerospace applications and increasingly important in the EV market – returning to and surpassing pre-COVID production levels has become a business imperative for many in the industry. Maintaining Fabri Cote’s hard-earned industry respect and meeting growing demand called for a swift and effective solution.

“We’re one of the very few companies that this market turns to for the highly specialized solutions we design for thermal and electrical insulation, vibration dampening, or compression management,” said Rick Williams, VP, High-Tech Coated Fabrics “We want to ensure our customers know that we are back stronger than ever and still innovating on their behalf.”

Back indeed. Fabri Cote continues to embark on an impressive turnaround journey. It is currently achieving a sustained 25% increase in product output, effectively eliminating its backlog. Crucial to its enhanced performance was stabilizing the business and optimizing efforts at every opportunity.
The company took a long hard look at where it was missing the mark and what it would honestly take to get things back on track. That meant initiating some tough conversations with customers around expectations. It wasn’t always pleasant, but in the end, customers understood the need to course correct and saw the benefits of collaborating on a new path forward.

Conducting an internal assessment was the very first step Fabri Cote took. In doing so it effectively recruited, trained, and unleashed a talented and motivated workforce to increase productivity. Maximizing the factory, the equipment, and its most important resource, its people, are making all the difference.

Fabri Cote is on a course committed to R&D based innovation, growth, and building out a more resilient and accelerated product pipeline – essential elements to scale operations ahead of future volume demands.

“You can really boil our notable progress down to a few things,” said Williams. “It’s leadership—up, down, and sideways. It’s strategic planning, fully supporting our teams, and leveraging resources in Michelin’s High-Tech Materials Group to meet or exceed our customer expectations.”