In June 2023, Cotton Council International (CCI) launched the COTTON USA Mill Performance Index™ at the ITMA (International Textile Machinery Association) show in Milan, Italy. The COTTON USA Mill Performance Index™ is a benchmarking tool that allows spinning mills to evaluate their performance vis-à-vis their peers and definitively shows the positive impact of U.S. cotton. After the show, more than 50 spinning mills have inquired about joining the program, which is available only to mills that consume at least 10,000 bales of U.S. cotton. CCI’s participation at the ITMA show was funded by the Market Access Program (MAP).
Every four years, the ITMA show brings together textile and garment manufacturers from around the world to explore and discover new technologies and innovations that will help grow their businesses. CCI’s participation in the show aimed to persuade this audience about the advantage of partnering with U.S. cotton for their future success. At the CCI booth, visitors had the opportunity to learn about COTTON USA SOLUTIONS®, the world’s leading cotton consultancy, which educates mills and manufacturers on the technical benefits of using U.S. cotton. Although U.S. cotton is often priced higher in many markets than cotton grown in other regions, COTTON USA SOLUTIONS® technical experts demonstrate that U.S. cotton’s superior quality actually results in higher yields and greater productivity, effectively eliminating the price disadvantage. In post-surveys of the show, 86% of visitors to CCI’s booth agreed they learned a lot about COTTON USA SOLUTIONS® and 77% are likely to use COTTON USA SOLUTIONS® offerings.
But the highlight of the show was the launch of the COTTON USA Mill Performance Index™ (MPI). The MPI collects data from participating spinning mills and gives performance measures across five key cost drivers: material yield, machine productivity, labor productivity, efficiency management, and energy management. This new benchmarking tool enables mills to compare their performance relative to their competitors and gain valuable insights to optimize and improve their operations. The MPI also quantitatively demonstrates the advantage of sourcing U.S. cotton. A pilot program involving 47 mills across 13 countries showed that using U.S. cotton resulted in increased labor productivity, improved running conditions, higher yields in combed and carded yarns, enhanced machine productivity, and higher spindle speeds. After learning about the MPI at the CCI booth, an impressive 71% of visitors indicated their interest in joining the program, a clear acknowledgement of the value they believe the MPI would bring to their businesses.
In the future, the MPI will not only help mills enhance their operations but will also play a crucial role in increasing U.S. cotton exports due to its requirement of a minimum consumption of 10,000 U.S. cotton bales annually by members. Demonstrating this impact, a notable 55% of visitors said they expect to increase their purchases of U.S. cotton over the next year after visiting the CCI booth with expected future purchases totaling115,000 bales of U.S. cotton valued at approximately $44 million.