Winter 2012

The value proposition and positioning of TenCate

Financial stakeholders view TenCate more critically when it comes to the company’s positioning. In addition to a clear strategy, investors are increasingly demanding focus. What unifies the company?
TenCate performs well when it comes to its corporate strategy. The strategic framework, based on the value chain management model and consisting of the four cornerstones of the strategic policy (technological innovation, cost management, product differentiation and end-user marketing) is well understood.
Nevertheless, in practice the unifying factor of TenCate appears to make less of a lasting impression. This can be ascribed mainly to the various manifestations in which the knowledge and skills of the organization are recognized. These vary from the heat shield and structural components for Mars landers to new turn-out uniforms for the Amsterdam fire brigade.
Unifying factor
The unifying factor of TenCate is expressed in its mission, vision and strategy.
The mission of TenCate provides an answer to the question: Why does TenCate do what it does?
In a meeting with an R&D team from Philips it was stated: ‘In the past we used to take care of our clothes. In the future our clothes will take care of us’. That is, in fact, exactly what TenCate wants to achieve: to develop and produce technical textiles that protect people and indicate when we are at risk, etc. In other words, smart textiles.
Many professionals run great risks every day. Because these professionals deserve the best possible protection in their specific working environment TenCate is constantly engaged in developing materials that do exactly what is expected of them and are tailored to the specific needs, requirements, standards and specifications of user groups. 
The TenCate R&D departments are therefore constantly looking for improved protection, greater comfort and economically sound products with a sound price-quality ratio. To that end attention is devoted to institutional and other customers, who often have to equip large structures with such materials. How can these customers cut costs by for example using multi-risk products that offer other practical benefits, produce environmental advantages and reduce CO2 emissions.
The search for solutions to ensure the safety of people and their environment forms the unifying factor within TenCate’s mission. Every day employees try to make a difference through the use of TenCate materials. Sometimes these materials turn unintentional events into a lifesaving experience. Materials that make a difference.
Material science has gone through a rapid process of development. New technologies create new solutions. Nanotechnology, developments in chemistry and biochemistry and innovative fibre technology for example have turned the technical textiles sector into a high-tech industry.
The vision of TenCate, or rather the question: ‘How does TenCate put its mission into practice?’ is therefore based on the development (Buy & Build) of a broad and advanced technological base. In the technical textiles sector TenCate is a company that worldwide occupies an unrivalled broad and innovative technology position, including patent positions. This enables the company to develop materials that are optimally suited to individual market needs within the chosen market themes of safety and the protection of people and their environment.
The vision of the market is that ever increasing attention is being devoted to the management of safety risks and that this will result in the specifications and standards of materials at higher levels. It will also become increasingly important to be able to offer sustainable solutions that cover a wide range of benefits for both the end user and the institutional customer.
The technology core as a key core competence will create market leadership in a diverse portfolio of specialist products, targeting niche markets. 
The strategy is based on the consistently implemented business model, related to value chain management. The four cornerstones of this policy mentioned above have been frequently described in recent years, in for example the annual reports and on the TenCate website.
The strategy forms the basis for developing plans of action in order to meet these objectives. The strategy shows what TenCate as a company does to create value for its stakeholders in the long term.
In the present day network structures have appeared that can bring about acceleration in our ambition to grow. Acquisitions and shareholdings are no longer always desirable or feasible. Network structures give a new dimension to the concept of value chain management. Entering into alliances is not only important in relation to suppliers in order to ensure delivery of the correct raw materials, competitive prices or ready availability. Cooperation with related technologies also ranks among the possibilities, as witnessed for example by the GreenSource system (see page xx). This system combines synthetic turf sports pitches with water storage and water filtration. Even closer cooperation with strong international sales organizations is another possibility.
Thanks to its established technology positions TenCate is a reliable party for cooperation. The recent announcements regarding the structure of the business unit which is to enter the field of automotive composites (BASF) and the composites tooling business (3M) are good examples.
The market positioning of TenCate as a ‘materials company’, specializing in personal protection and the safety of our environment through water management and environmental solutions, is the unifying factor. Technology positions are the cement of the TenCate organization. The result of the company’s efforts is the ability to Protect People.
The diversity of the solutions offered does not detract from the company’s focus; TenCate products must be reliable. The heat shield in the Mars lander (see page xx) must function at the critical moment, just as a fire-fighter’s uniform. There is too much at stake and TenCate is aware of this each and every day.
Blue fabric (Tecawork Blue 65287)