Things to Consider for Changing Apparel Product Line

Product line changing in apparel manufacturing

One of the biggest challenges to most apparel manufacturers is finding orders with familiar handwriting. Many manufacturing plants that are performing well and achieving decent efficiency are the ones that managed to secure similar product categories with similar standard minute value ranges (SMV). This inevitably helps the production floor as well as the whole organization to run smoothly with minimum disruptions.
Here are some of the most important advantages of specializing in one or a few product lines.

Benefits in merchandising and material sourcing

It will help to build a relationship with a few mills who are specializing in the quality mostly used in the production. This will help to negotiate better prices and ensure high quality. Further, it will have fewer disruptions in deliveries as the mill and the manufacturing plant have a good understanding. Essentially this will help to save money and time

Advantages in apparel production

1. The biggest savings are made on the production floor. Firstly, by being able to maintain the layout of the machines in each production line. Most factories with no or little lean management exposure spend a minimum of two days getting the layout right. Efficiency reduces to as much as 20% in the first two days. It is almost impossible to post a decent average on efficiency due to early losses unless it’s a long-run order.

2. Learning curve is also an important factor to consider when deciding whether to accept product categories that are not familiar to the machinists. The duration it takes to train, machinists to acquire the skill, and other employees such as quality checkers to learn the critical points are important areas to think about. 

All these factors affect productivity and efficiency. 

3. Another important area where most manufacturing plants lose money is when they need to rent or hire machinery to accommodate new styles. 

Most companies do not give enough thought during the planning stage to calculate the total cost of machine hire when considering new product lines. It is noted that in overlock machines a number of lower loopers breakage is higher in knit production than woven. Each looper cost an excessive $35 and if the factory has more than 3 loopers damaged during the day, most of the profit is wiped off.

4. Machine parts are also another critically important area to focus on when deciding on unfamiliar product lines.

For example, a factory specializing in woven products notices there are many new orders in the market for polo T-shirts. Merchandising Manager feels it is wise to tap into that market and convince Factory Manager to open up one line for it. Let’s say the team is cautious and calculate low efficiency and prepare the team accordingly to train relevant employees on the new product line to avoid surprises.

However, it is noted that many decision-makers forget to calculate the specific costs associated with each product category. The most knit fabric needs needle changes every few hours to avoid damage to the fabric. buyers insist on using ballpoint needles which are considerably more expensive than normal needles. Some technical managers insist on using plastic pressure foot whereas woven can do with the metal ones. 

Fabric relaxation and cutting procedures are totally different in knit compared to woven. It’s more time-consuming and needs the expertise to ensure due consideration is given to fabric shrinkages and laying procedures.

These are just a few examples just to highlight that there are many hidden costs that are not visible unless conduct a detailed study when making an important decision such as changing product categories.

More articles from this author:
Business development tips for apparel manufacturers
5 Tips on conducting buyer meeting
How to find new apparel buyers and retain them?
How to Enhance Your Career in Global Apparel Supply Chain

Charm Rammandala

Dr. Charm Rammandala currently works as the Sustainable Program Manager at Apple Inc. USA. He has over 20 years of international management experience and previously contributed his expertise at Tesla, George Sourcing, and Vomax LLC.

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