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Fabric Supplier Tracking and Evaluation for Apparel Manufacturers

August 16, 2018 Ruchi Raj
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There is a continuous increase in competitiveness in the garment industry, demanding a need to ensure that we offer the best quality to customers, at the best price. To achieve this optimal cost and quality balance, we need to make sure that the raw materials for the production of garments should be sourced and utilized best. Fabric costs account for more than 70% of the total garment’s cost. Hence, it goes without saying how crucial, effective fabric sourcing and utilization is to the manufacturing process.

The only way out for best fabric sourcing is the selection of a reliable and proficient fabric supplier. The various factors which must be catered while selecting a supplier are: requirement, cost, and delivery time. And after selection of vendors for fabric procurement, the most important step is knowing about the quality of fabric which is delivered by each vendor in the long run. The tracking of fabric, supplier-wise will further help in their evaluation which will play a key role in maintaining the quality of fabric and even saving cost.

Now coming to the factory scenario, when we consider the processes, the major points for supplier evaluation are:

1.Damages – The damages occurring in the fabric are of various types, which incur extra effort and cost on production to cater those damaged parts of the fabric. For example, we can say that due to damages, panel replacement takes place which is a very time-taking and non-value added process. There is a huge time loss in laying the fabric, if damages are frequent in rolls or fabric lots. So, it is a good idea to record the real-time data of the amount of roll wise damages in the fabric. Now the cumulative data of these damages, fabric and roll-wise, will be the basis for evaluating the supplier. The evaluation and ranking of supplier based on damages in fabric provided by them will help the manufacturer to act and source best fabric.

2.Ticket length loss - Ticket Length Loss or Vendor’s Loss is the difference in actual length of fabric roll as opposed to the length mentioned in the fabric roll ticket. This is the reflection of the quality of your supplier. A good supplier will always give the fabric a few meters higher than the required quantity. However, a poor supplier might do otherwise. Supplier tracking metrics are valuable in controlling this wastage.

There is a continuous increase in competitiveness in the garment industry, demanding a need to ensure that we offer the best quality to customers, at the best price. To achieve this optimal cost and quality balance, we need to make sure that the raw materials for the production of garments should be sourced and utilized best. Fabric costs account for more than 70% of the total garment’s cost. Hence, it goes without saying how crucial, effective fabric sourcing and utilization is to the manufacturing process.

The only way out for best fabric sourcing is the selection of a reliable and proficient fabric supplier. The various factors which must be catered while selecting a supplier are: requirement, cost, and delivery time. And after selection of vendors for fabric procurement, the most important step is knowing about the quality of fabric which is delivered by each vendor in the long run. The tracking of fabric, supplier-wise will further help in their evaluation which will play a key role in maintaining the quality of fabric and even saving cost.

3.Grouping - Fabric grouping is the process in which the fabric rolls are segregated into groups with similar properties and specifications. There are 3 major parameters of grouping:

Shade – Fabric from different dye lots may have variations in the shade (lot to lot color variation). These rolls can be laid together if the variation is only slight and is acceptable to the buyer.

However, in case of evidently visible variation, the concept of shade grouping must be used. The number of different shades is determined and all the fabric rolls are divided into groups according to their shade. In the cutting process which follows, it is ensured that a single garment is cut from a single shade. This is the scenario when grouping is done and when it is not done then the result will be a final garment with shade variation which will be rejected by the buyer later.  Now, if this variation goes immensely high, then it will be another extra loss in terms of time and money for the manufacturers. So, tracking the vendor based on the shade variations in the fabric provided by them is a must need.

Width – Markers in production are made to fit the cuttable width of the fabric. Cuttable width can be defined as the usable area width of the fabric excluding selvedge. Now, fabric rolls may come to the factory in varying widths. These variations can lead to a heavy loss of fabric. The marker planning will ultimately be done on the smallest fabric width in this lot with a lot of to and fro on cutting time. So, width-wise variation tracking of fabric by each vendor is a helpful measure to minimize this problem

Shrinkage–Shrinkage is the most common type of latent problem which may occur after washing, relaxing or fusing. So, if a factory receives fabric with shrinkage it must take extreme care in segregating rolls based on shrinkage testing. If not taken care of, the difference in shrinkage will affect the dimensions of the components. A 30-size garment would end up being a 28 size. This will result in rejections, incomplete order quantity and ultimately huge loss in terms of both money and effort. So, to minimize this loss and effort vendors who provide least shrinking fabric will help the manufacturers

4.Variation between the information provided by the vendor v/s actual – Now the above-mentioned characteristics of fabric can be catered by fabric grouping to some extent but again if there is a huge variation in the information provided by the vendor and the actual data, it is a big problem. Let’s understand by an example:

These are the rolls with the information provided by the vendor:

Fabric grouping is the process in which the fabric rolls are segregated into groups with similar properties and specifications. There are 3 major parameters of grouping:

Shade – Fabric from different dye lots may have variations in the shade (lot to lot color variation). These rolls can be laid together if the variation is only slight and is acceptable to the buyer.

However, in case of evidently visible variation, the concept of shade grouping must be used. The number of different shades is determined and all the fabric rolls are divided into groups according to their shade. In the cutting process which follows, it is ensured that a single garment is cut from a single shade. This is the scenario when grouping is done and when it is not done then the result will be a final garment with shade variation which will be rejected by the buyer later.  Now, if this variation goes immensely high, then it will be another extra loss in terms of time and money for the manufacturers. So, tracking the vendor based on the shade variations in the fabric provided by them is a must need.

Width – Markers in production are made to fit the cuttable width of the fabric. Cuttable width can be defined as the usable area width of the fabric excluding selvedge. Now, fabric rolls may come to the factory in varying widths. These variations can lead to a heavy loss of fabric. The marker planning will ultimately be done on the smallest fabric width in this lot with a lot of to and fro on cutting time. SoSo, width-wise variation tracking of fabric by each vendor is a helpful measure to minimize this problem

Shrinkage – Shrinkage is the most common type of latent problem which may occur after washing, relaxing or fusing. So, if a factory receives fabric with shrinkage it must take extreme care in segregating rolls based on shrinkage testing. If not taken care of, the difference in shrinkage will affect the dimensions of the components. A 30-size garment, would end up being a 28 size. This will result in rejections, incomplete order quantity and ultimately huge loss in terms of both money and effort. So, to minimize this loss and effort vendors who provide least shrinking fabric will help the manufacturers

4.Variation between the information provided by the vendor v/s actual – Now the above-mentioned characteristics of fabric can be catered by fabric grouping to some extent but again if there is a huge variation in the information provided by the vendor and the actual data, it is a big problem. Let’s understand by an example:

These are the rolls with the information provided by the vendor:

For such kind of fabric lots when there are variations in width, fabric groups are made taking a maximum and minimum width limit. The difference between the upper and lower limits of this width is called range. The groups made in this example for varying widths, if range taken is 0.5, will be

Group 1 – 55-55.5: Roll 1, Roll 2, Roll 4

Group 2 – 53.5- 54: Roll 3, Roll 5

Now the markers will be made based on the cuttable width of Group 1 and Group 2 fabric. Let’s say, that the actual width given by the vendor of Roll 2 was 54.5, then this will be a problem for the cutting floor, again losing time and fabric.

This variation in actual v/s information by the supplier in all the three fields- shade, width and shrinkage should be minimized to make the process more efficient, which can be done only by right vendor selection.

Understanding the above parameters, it is clear that fabric vendor tracking and evaluation is a strict need to run with the pace in everyday increasing competition in the garment industry. But, if we take the factory scenario, it is a very difficult process if the roll-wise data is not tracked for all the parameters.

intelloCut tracks all the information of each roll, which is captured by the real-time data on the floor. The damages, grouping done by the software roll-wise and the actual data capturing of each roll gives a clear picture of the fabric and it’s quality. intelloCut captures all the roll data as the roll allocation (lay-wise allocation of rolls) is done by the software and when the real time entry is done by the floor people, the details of every roll is captured including damage, original length, shade, and width. The software generates roll-wise reports giving a detailed information about the roll and it’s usage which can be the major tool for tracking the quality. This will solve the problem of supplier tracking and evaluation.

With the features supported by intelloCut, the fabric supplier tracking and evaluation can be a very simplified and transparent task which will minimize all the problems by:

•    Giving transparency to the loss of efficiency as there will be correct information of the process loss and fabric loss

•    Maintaining quality of fabric in the long run, by efficient fabric supplier

•    Minimizing the loss of time and money incurred on non-value added processes due to the problems in fabric

•    Real pain area will be highlighted so that actions can be taken at the right point.

 

Click here to check out more on how intelloCut works and how it is capable of saving time, effort and, money by fabric vendor tracking and evaluation.

 


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