Earlier this year, Methods Workshop LLC announced that its President and CEO, John Stern, would retire after more than 40 years running the company. The news was bitter sweet in many ways — John has not only been a leader in the sewn products industry for decades, he was also one of the founding members of SPESA.
But the end of a chapter meant the start of a new one. With the announcement of John’s retirement, we learned that Methods Workshop LLC would become Methods Workshop International, LLC, a name that reflected the company’s global reach. We also learned that a new leadership team would be taking over company operations, including Arturo Rodriguez, Chief Executive Officer (also referred to as the “Chief Entertainment Officer”); Joshua Linker, Chief Operating Officer & Chief Technology Officer; and Kelly Riley, Director of International Implementation and Training. What’s unique about this new leadership team, is that they aren’t new to Methods Workshop at all. All three men have been a part of the company’s story for several years and thus have an important stake in its continued success.
To celebrate the transition and honor the legacy of John Stern (although we expect to still see him at SPESA events in the future), we felt like it was a great time to re-introduce our readers to Methods Workshop. With that said, we had the opportunity to speak with Arturo and Joshua a couple weeks ago to learn from them about the company’s history and its path forward.
About Methods Workshop International LLC
Since 1982, Methods Workshop, now Methods Workshop International (MWI), has been a leading developer and provider of engineering and costing software solutions for the global fashion and sewn products industries, providing more than 400 leading companies with the support needed to increase competitiveness and accelerate speed-to-market.
What is Methods Workshop International’s Product Offering?
The company has developed two software solutions: Engineered TruCost (ETC), the company’s legacy product, and Quick TruCost (QTC). Here you can learn more:
Unveiled at the 2002 Bobbin Show in Orlando, Florida, Engineered TruCost (ETC) serves as MWI’s legacy software solutions product. ETC is a Predetermined Motion Time System (PMTS) designed specifically for the fashion and sewn products industries that enables engineers and other manufacturing professionals to quickly and accurately determine the time and cost associated with both complete products and individual operations and tasks. With ETC, detailed cost analyses are accomplished in minutes rather than days.
Having been around for 20+ years, ETC has constantly evolved over the past two decades to keep up with new changes to programming language.
Quick TruCost (QTC) is the second product in MWI’s software offering and is unique in the World. QTC uses information on common construction details to calculate total manufacturing time and cost. By knowing true labor costs from the start, development teams can quickly determine target price points. Full product costing can be accomplished in less than 10% of the time of standard data systems with little if any loss of accuracy. Manufacturers use QTC to quickly and accurately quote and ensure profitability of production programs without relying on “guesstimates.”
This is the perfect tool for early-stage apparel design and development costing requirements. It can be used as either a stand-alone system or companion to ETC.
The Global Reach of Methods Workshop International
Over the past 40+ years, the company has expanded from the southeastern corner of the U.S. to the entire globe, with a particularly notable presence in the Western Hemisphere. You can find sales representatives for the company in the U.S., Mexico, Colombia, Guatemala & Central America, Peru, Argentina, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Portugal.
The leadership team is based in the southeast U.S. (Joshua in Georgia and Kelly in Florida), as well as Mexico (Arturo in Guadalajara). This offers the company a strategic advantage to understanding the different markets within North, Central, and South America.
When asked about future market expansion, Arturo and Joshua shared that they are working diligently to expand to Brazil, Turkey, Vietnam, and possibly Northern Africa.
Speaking with Arturo and Joshua about MWI shed some light on how the company operates and what makes it unique.
First and foremost, the new leadership team not only worked with John for years, they were also close friends with him. So as they carry on the legacy of a nearly half-century old company, they’re also keeping the professional passion of a friend and partner up and running.
Secondly, they have an outside-looking-in perspective on the team. Joshua didn’t come from a sewn products background. In fact, he’s a software engineer by trade which offers the crew an expanded viewpoint to better serve the company’s more technical components. These skill sets, along with his new (and constantly expanding) knowledge of the industry, help create the perfect scenario for the company to evolve.
Maintaining the Legacy
There’s a lot of love out there for John Stern. Across the industry, within the SPESA organization, and of course, amongst his friends and colleagues at MWI. We asked Arturo and Joshua how they intended to maintain John’s legacy within the company, and their answers serve as great reminders of how we should all operate in the workplace.
The first thing they want to maintain: keeping things simple. Or, as John’s father would say: “Keep it Simple, Stupid.” Arturo shared that this was always an important mantra of John’s and one that he intended to carry on.
The second thing they want to maintain: caring for their people. Joshua shared that John always put his customers first. He was a people-centric business partner who was determined to get to know and take care of the people in his life, both personally and professionally. The kindness and good-nature that John exudes is reflected in his extensive network of industry friends and colleagues. When John’s name comes up in a conversation, you know it’s going to be something good.
As a nod to John’s farewell, the MWI team launched a new feature for QTC that allowed its customers to share real-time feedback on the software. Joshua shared that this would allow the MWI team to better respond to its customers and identify ways to quickly improve the QTC software solution.
The new feature is a perfect example of how the company is evolving while still staying true to its roots and what works for the sewn products industry.
To learn more about Methods Workshop International, click here.
To read more about John’s time in the industry, click here.
*SPESA Trivia: Notice anything interesting about the article title? Those of you who have been around for a while, may remember that "Ahead of the Future" was once a tagline for Methods Workshop, before it was changed to "What gets measured, gets improved.”