Lean Management Program and PMTS System

This is a guest contribution from Charm Rammandala. Charm, a lean management expert, has shared his experience with apparel lean management programs using PMTS across South Asia.

Mainly there are two PMTS systems available for the apparel industry at the moment in the market. Most famous among practitioners is of course GSD. The next option is SewEasy.

Before starting I Strategy (www.istrategyusa.com), I used to work for George Sourcing, the apparel sourcing arm of ASDA, UK which is a subsidiary of Wal-Mart. I was in-charge of the LEAN management program for Apparel and Home Textiles in George across South Asia.
Lean management program
Our lean project was designed to align suppliers to future pricing challenges they might face. As you know manufacturing cost is ever increasing yet the price that buyers are willing to pay is same or constantly decreasing. This decrease is due to the competition in high street, where the buyers are not in a position to pay more and risk erosion of their market share. I could buy a formal shirt with a tie for $6 in Wal-Mart and a printed round neck T shirt for $5 at GAP. We all wonder how they do it, as we can’t buy a shirt of the same quality for such low price in our own manufacturing countries.

We have noticed that most apparel and Home Textiles manufacturers suffer due to lack of understanding the work flow and bottlenecks during the final volatile and time sensitive stages of the process. As a result they need to increase the factory gate price to sustain the business. Some are now beginning to learn that companies like Wal-Mart, Nike and Adidas do focus on helping manufactures to get their act together. This is what LEAN management program does.

SewEasy is a tool we took onboard after some extensive research; we waited till Capturing the Gains white paper was out. As you would agree what we need is a tool that can be implemented to get tangible results. It’s not about presentations, graphs or seminars. We needed a system where associates could be trained in relatively short periods of time, easy to implement and not complicated to benchmark the products by calculating the SAM or SMV as you would call it. Process benchmarking could follow this stage. Obviously cost also is a deciding factor. As you know in the apparel industry, employee turnover is high and every time a new analyst joins in, we need him trained and ready to give the efficiencies the previous analyst gave. Otherwise it's a waste.

We found GSD to be a great tool but it was a challenge for floor level associates to handle, took a long time to train and the costs were astronomical. SewEasy has only few steps, easy to understand and ready to go the moment you buy.

We found a real difference in the efficiency and the productivity after installing SewEasy in our corporate office and linking it with our supplier partners. More importantly friction between the sewing machine operator (SMO) and the work-study analyst was greatly subsided and in fact it sort of became a partnership, simply because the SMO knew exactly what the time study analysis does and how it helps SMO to earn higher pay through production incentives.

Hope my experience and above comments help you in Lean Management of apparel manufacturing.

About the Author: Charm Rammandala is the founder & CEO of IStrategy USA. He counts over two decades in fashion supply chain in diverse roles as Lean Manager and Model himself. He is an expert in rolling out programs in Lean apparel manufacturing and Sustainable labour costing. His former positions included being the first Lean Technologist at George Sourcing Services UK Ltd.

Prasanta Sarkar

Prasanta Sarkar is a textile engineer and a postgraduate in fashion technology from NIFT, New Delhi, India. He has authored 6 books in the field of garment manufacturing technology, garment business setup, and industrial engineering. He loves writing how-to guide articles in the fashion industry niche. He has been working in the apparel manufacturing industry since 2006. He has visited garment factories in many countries and implemented process improvement projects in numerous garment units in different continents including Asia, Europe, and South Africa. He is the founder and editor of the Online Clothing Study Blog.

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