In our previous blog, we talked about fashion design and new product development, so by now you are aware of the different stages, the garment undergoes before it moves into bulk production. Let us also peep into the manufacturing units where these garments are processed.
On order confirmation, the buyer gives a Purchase order containing style-wise booked quantity with a colorwise and sizewise break up, delivery date to the freight forwarder and Dc date, final negotiated cost at which quantity is booked, and mode of delivery.
The time and action plans are prepared based on the delivery date. This involves backward planning from DC date accounting for lead time for production (cutting, sewing, finishing, washing) based on quantity and capacity slot available at the production unit. Then fabric lead time is estimated depending on fabric order quantity. Lead time for value addition and embroidery processes are also taken into consideration while mapping the T&A.
Fabric consumption is calculated based on quantities booked for production by the buyer. Markers are laid out based on the sizewise requirement. Marker efficiency is optimized to minimize wastages in terms of fabric and cutting costs. Consequently, total fabric consumption is deduced colorwise and bulk order is placed with fabric vendors.
The process that was followed for vendor selection for garment, the same process is followed for fabric vendor selection. Similar samples are submitted to an apparel manufacturing vendor in the forms of desk looms and fabric swatches. If the buyer has nominated the fabric vendor, then the apparel vendor directly proceeds with bulk fabric order skipping the process of vendor selection.
The apparel vendor in turn sends the samples to the buyer nominated lab for testing to analyze if it is meeting all requirements and is devoid of any restricted chemicals. Fabric samples are subjected to physical and chemical tests. Lab dips are analyzed for exact shade matching as per the buyer’s requirement. Post this, bulk fabric order is placed.
Trims requirement is also calculated and the order is processed in a similar manner after a series of approvals. Thread consumption is worked out based on sample measurements and lab dips are submitted to ensure thread matching with bulk fabric.
Once the bulk fabric starts getting inwarded, it is washed at a pre-regulated temperature and conditions. Then it is spread on to cutting tables using automatic spreaders that piles the fabric depending on its nap. Automated cutters or laser cutter which are preloaded with marker, cut the garments.
With a pilot run of initial garments, the sewing line is set for bulk production. Garment manufacturing takes place in several methods: assembly line, modular, batch production depending on the garment under construction. The most suitable method is proposed by the Industrial Engineering team.
Assembly line in a garment manufacturing factory.
Image courtesy: http://goo.gl/onIaLp
Most common is the assembly line where different parts of garments are sewn by different operators and finally assembled into the final garment.
The simulation model preview of sewing line.
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There are several inline and end line checks that are conducted to ensure the accuracy of measurements and processes.
Garment construction it is a rigorous process that involves a trail of operators who work on specialized machines and give shape to the final garment.
The garments are scanned by the quality checker who checks each garment with the tech pack. In case of the slightest flaw, it is returned back to the line for rework.
Along with inhouse QC, external audits are also conducted.
Then the garment undergoes a series of finishing procedures from thread cutting to pressing, setting into right shape.
Finally, the garments are packaged as per packing instructions provided by the buyer and contained in cartons and made ready for delivery to freight forwarder (FF) along with all the documentation.
From FF, goods are shipped or aired depending on the mode mutually decided by buyer and vendor.
The story does not end here!!! Keep waiting for the next blog where we will talk about how this merchandise moves to our nearest retail outlet and what all planning goes into it.
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Supriya Ghurye is the founder of Fuel4Fashion, a Fashion Design Studio and Business Growth Consultancy helping fashion brands to tweak design collections and re-align business models to be sustainable and profitable during this global pandemic situation.