Top 5 Challenges Fashion Manufacturers Face and How You Can Avoid Them

Challenges faced by fashion manufacturers

Garment manufacturing has existed and evolved for centuries, but today’s clothing factories and the fashion industry at large continue to face large-scale problems that hamper economic development and create inefficiencies in production lines. As fashion and clothing become more accessible to markets, these supply chain delays and resource-hogging road bumps become even more apparent and disruptive to creating consistent revenue and a capable workforce. 

Technology may be leading end-consumers to the future of fashion, but the truth is that manufacturing arms around the globe still lag behind. With the value of worldwide apparel markets expected to rise significantly in Asia, the need for intelligent production management becomes more necessary than ever.

 
What are these challenges that prevent manufacturers from scaling up, even in this day and age where barriers to the adoption of technology can be eliminated? Crucially, is there an answer that’s proven to work effectively without breaking the bank? Let’s find out. 

Lack of real-time production data

Traditional clothing factories tend to rely on a mix of past performance and guesswork to measure expected production output on a daily basis. The glaring lack of big data and predictive business analytics often lead to inaccurate output projections that contribute to over- or under-production quantities. Couple that with no clear monitoring practices in place, and you have a factory that is unsure of its capabilities. 

Owners of such factories have little choice but to take a reactive approach to operations. That often means making big decisions on the fly, which typically doesn’t bode well for businesses running on limited capital.

Manual reporting: A time-consuming process

The more linear the supply chain of a clothing manufacturing facility is, the more manual and laborious it is to move things along swiftly. A factory that engages in the ways of old will often be caught up with having verbal or printed reports passed along from manager to manager, and this antiqued method creates a “lost in translation” effect that adds up the turnaround time needed before products successfully leave the factory.

 

Source: McKinsey
A report by consulting firm McKinsey shows that on average, garment manufacturing requires an average of at least 18 weeks for production and delivery. Imagine being able to reduce that and use the time saved to service additional clients. 

Zero worker accountability

In any given factory, there can be hundreds of employees working on sourcing, cutting, sewing and finishing stations, as well as packaging and quality control (QC) zones. These workers are spread across the factory floor and tend to work in silos, keeping interaction to a minimum and within their teams. 

As a result, there’s no information-sharing or big-picture thinking within the organisation, which reduces efficiency and contributes to weak working culture. Workers are unmotivated, left to feel dispensable and concern themselves only with the task at hand. The call for greater transparency, accountability and working conditions is real, and the truth is that people want to feel like they’re a part of something biggerer. 

Increased production defects

What do delayed production data, manual reporting and zero worker accountability lead to? You guessed it — more production defects than tolerances would allow. Without real-time data and a proper means of problem identification and escalation, production issues go undetected for stretches at a time. Wasted raw materials, extra manpower used for sorting and unforeseen downtime due to tedious rectification will inevitably lead to excess costs that eat away at budgets and profits. 

Risk of obsolescence

Industries across sectors are all in the race to futureproof themselves, and fashion is no exception. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning have become differentiators in this automated and tech-led environment, and why shouldn’t they be? The industry has seen AI used in fabric pattern inspection, colour matching and other applications. A manufacturer that sticks to outdated systems limits its potential for the brands it services and has a higher chance of shutting down. 

The solution: Zilingo Production Software

If you’re facing any of the above challenges, know that you can take immediate action and transform your business today. Zilingo, a technology and commerce platform that’s re-imagining the fashion industry, offers a powerful and unique production management software that resolves all of the challenges mentioned earlier, with no changes to any factory’s physical structure or downsizing of workforce. 

This enterprise resource planning software empowers workers, managers and factory owners in the production process by unlocking access to real-time data. First, workers can input product defects data into tablets conveniently located on the factory floor next to the production line. The software interface uses accessible colour-coded buttons that make tagging a cinch. As the number of products that have passed or failed quality checks increase, the software aggregates production output and even uses visualisation tools to show exactly where defects appear on clothing silhouettes.

A simplified view of how workers can tag errors using the software’s “traffic light” system
The data is summarised and displayed on a central dashboard on the production line alongside key indicators such as production targets, current progress and operating efficiency. Key personnel can view this summary and make adjustments to improve production flow instantly. 

An analytics app then tracks this data over a period of time and automatically generates reports, putting to rest the days of tedious spreadsheet work behind a desk. These reports, directly accessible on any device, produce actionable insights for upper management to make high-level decisions without having to be physically present at the manufacturing facility. Talk about performance tracking that’s truly on the go.


Analytics does the job of finding out what works and what can be better


Zilingo Production Software is designed to be scalable, easy-to-use and mobile-friendly, with manufacturers seeing efficiency improvements in just weeks. Production outputs rise by up to 12%, while defects see a drop of up to 50%. Get started today!

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Learn More on the Zilingo Production Software - Click HERE. This article is written by Zillingo Team.

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