DuPont's Lycra Assured global supply chain management concept is being extended to the distributors of fibre products and leading yarn suppliers.

The first phase, which was launched earlier this year, involved setting up the Lycra Accredited Mills network, which now includes over 300 of the world's leading fabric mills. This network gives garment manufacturers and retail buyers a fast, efficient and low-risk sourcing facility for stretch fabrics enhanced with Lycra.

DuPont says that it expects the Lycra Assured Authorised Distributors network to become an increasingly important channel for Lycra products. The goal is to extend the reach and flexibility of the Lycra supply chain to meet the growing demand for quality stretch products at every level and in virtually every segment of the apparel industry.

Lycra Assured authorised dealers will commit to high standards of quality and customer service and have full access to DuPont know-how, training and technical support. The activities of this new network will be co-ordinated worldwide - mills, garment manufacturers and retailers will be able to access a single database to check fibre sources by geography, product type and segment speciality.

Steve McCracken, president DuPont Lycra, points out that the new initiative to have far-reaching implications for the apparel industry. He says: "Global dynamics are creating enormous challenges, but also compelling new business opportunities. The Lycra Assured concept enables key players in the apparel chain to work together to increase competitiveness and anticipate demand. It's the architecture for a world-class knowledge alliance, which can deliver benefits all the way to the consumer."

And in Europe, Dieter Siegel, vice president, sales and marketing, says it will help reduce the technical and cost barriers to making high quality stretch widely available.