Since most of the processes in an apparel factory take place on the shopfloor, which constitutes the highest process costing after raw material, what is essential for the factories is to pay a serious attention to control and monitor these processes – production and quality in particular, in order to save direct and indirect costs. In this case, software technology can be of great help.
Maintaining affordable prices to customers over an extended period of time has always been a goal and principal challenge for manufacturers in the apparel and textile industry. Post-COVID, as markets recover, the basic to mid-level price-point products are expected to remain in demand. But, with disrupted supply chains due to the disappearance of key material vendors, reduced manpower availability and potential inflation as the industry seeks limited supply, this challenge will be even harder.
So the question arises – how to address this challenge and find out solution? Since most of the processes in an apparel factory take place on the shopfloor, which constitutes the highest process costing after raw material, what is essential for the factories is to pay a serious attention to control and monitor these processes – production and quality in particular, in order to save direct and indirect costs. In this case, the software technology can be of great help.
Vaēso LIVE – Digital shopfloor execution system for apparel and footwear sector
Asia has become the world’s manufacturing hub due to the availability of low-cost labour and the factory owners have built a shopfloor culture of ‘throwing’ more labour at quality issues or simply changing management when solutions are not readily found. COVID-19 has now amplified the demand for better QUALITY and VALUE as most retailer-brand owners have seen their e-commerce sales increase by 200 per cent, 300 per cent or more. This will dramatically increase the Cost of Poor Quality for the apparel and footwear industry as consumers are much more discerning of poor quality products when they arrive at their homes versus simply asking for a replacement when they are trying on a product in a retail store. Thus, a massive paradigm shift in quality and the required product value has occurred in our industry because of COVID-19.
Building a zero-defect culture where every artisan controls their quality before passing it on to the new workstations is the only means to meeting e-commerce’s demand for a logarithmic improvement in the quality of the products. “Retail-brand owners are looking to build much tighter partnerships with factories who understand this seismic shift and those who are able to transform themselves will see their market share increase dramatically. Those who do not, will most likely not survive,” told Amit Gupta, Regional Director, Impactiva regarding the organisation behind Vaēso digital manufacturing execution system.
Vaēso has built a digital shopfloor system that places a digital device on each workstation so that each artisan/operator becomes responsible for their own quality. With the resulting dramatic improvement in shopfloor quality (from 40 per cent ‘right the first time’ quality to +80 per cent, 90 per cent…), factories will see significant improvements in productivity and material waste reductions that will generate 4x to 12x return on the cost of shopfloor digitalisation.
Adding to this, Amit said that, as an industry, we need to decouple system discipline from having a few key leaders who are the only ones responsible for their execution. “We need to create a bottom-up culture where systems generate engagement of the entire shopfloor so that regardless of the personnel churn rate, process discipline drives a continuous improvement on a month-to-month basis,” asserted Amit.
But, how does one achieve such bottom-up discipline and accountability, digitalisation? It is the fastest and lowest cost way of implementing and maintaining such best-in-class processes and procedures. How many times have factories implemented an important new process and/or procedure and 6 months later it is no longer being followed simply because of a lack of process discipline-ownership or because a few key managers have departed? Digitalisation enforces process discipline via the raising of timely alerts and escalations if the designed processes are not being followed. Furthermore, for some important processes, the software can be designed and configured to stop production if a procedure is not followed. In this way, digitalisation prevents undisciplined shopfloor teams from trying to ‘skip or game a process’.
As far as the core features of Vaēso LIVE Technology are concerned, it uses a cutting edge RFID-enabled technology which captures accurate data on shopfloor automatically eliminating any chance of human error. It then enables the artisans and supervisors of the shopfloor to take responsibility for using the data when manufacturing quality, cycle time and hourly output alerts are generated to take immediate corrective action. It helps to build a culture of accountability and responsibility where an entire Factory Team is engaged to produce defect-free products in the targeted daily output.
Vaēso LIVE also allows factories to provide real-time order status and WIP visibility to buyers eliminating the need to be answering constant requests for such status information. The ability to provide buyers with real-time visibility to the shopfloor data is a competitive game changer for factories.
Farida Shoes Pvt. Ltd., one of the leading exporters of footwear from India, has been using Vaēso LIVE for the past 14 weeks. The improvement in quality and productivity is impressive:
- Right the first time quality: +30 per cent
- Productivity: +30 per cent
- Reduced product and component recuts-replacements: -47 per cent
“I am sure that going digital is the present and future of the industry. At Farida, we are very happy that we started with Vaēso and are thus 2 months ahead of the rest of the industry by having visibility of our manufacturing shopfloor and being able to share relevant real-time information with our customers. We believe Vaēso to be the bridge for our industry’s digital future,” commented Irshad Ahmed Mecca, Managing Director, Farida Shoes Pvt. Ltd.
Source: Apparel Resources