The apparel and textile manufacturing landscape is changing and changing fast. With new and upcoming manufacturing hubs across South East Asia, manufacturers across the globe today face major challenges in the form of cost competitiveness, delivery efficiency and more than anything else quality management.
Quality and efficiency in manufacturing and delivery are the tipping points for long term sustained relationships with buyers.
We made a plant visit last week in India to understand the nitty-gritty of factory floor digitization in the industry and various factors for the success of a particular unit while failure in others. Combining that with our experience in information technology and manufacturing organisational setup we summarize here our prediction for sustained process improvement in the industry:
1. The Future of Tech Integration is Employee-centric
Gone are the days when technology integration and process improvement were only boardroom discussions in the industry. Today managers at different levels on the shop floor are looking for ways to improve efficiencies. These discussions often translate into technology interventions that need to be driven from the bottom up.
This translates to the simple fact that as a manufacturing setup grows, the top management gets distant from the actual inefficiencies on the shop floor thereby losing the opportunity for continuous process improvement.
The role of top management should evolve from everyday monitoring and process improvement on the shop floor to empowering the line and factory managers with tools that help them improve processes by being agile.
2. Mobile Integration and Localization are key to faster Information Discovery
Smartphone penetration is helping the un-digitized get digitized. Products like Facebook, WhatsApp, and Google have increased digital literacy and have made artisans and managers across the shop floor comfortable with using mobile phones for day to day data gathering, information sharing and management.
We have to keep in mind, even people who are not comfortable using computers and laptops are today comfortable using mobile phones to carry on day to day tasks.
This simply translates to the fact that data gathering on the shop floor and across the enterprise no matter how remote can easily be achieved on mobile phones. Leveraging mobile phones and language localization will be the key to faster digital information gathering and sharing across the management directly from the shop floor.
3. Moving beyond ERPs to Integrated Digital Ecosystems
The apparel industry has been heavily reliant on ERPs to capture, manage and share information with decision-makers. In the real world scenario, this leads to at least a 24-hour delay in sharing of information across the decision-making chain.
Extending ERPs using no-code/shop floor digitization technologies will help in faster information sharing, real-time feedback integration and reduced defects and rejections, thereby drastically increasing efficiencies.
It is becoming increasingly critical to think of information flow from the shop floor to management as a single real-time chain that helps save resources in both time and money.
Manufacturers today need to think about how to reduce the time taken to share information and data from the shop floor to the final decision-makers. Beyond that, they also need to think about ways to inform the frontline artisans in real-time ways to improve.
Integration of no-code technology built specifically to achieve these tasks into the information technology the infrastructure of Apparel Manufacturing and Supply chain delivery is a great way to enable your citizens to go beyond traditional manufacturing software and take steps towards continuous process improvement.
What is Grid and what do we do?
Grid extends the IT infrastructure of Apparel sources and manufacturing companies with a single no-code development platform. We empower your people to build transformational applications to improve processes and collaborate while doing so.
Please feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org for any comments or to understand how we can help improve the quality of apparels you produce or procure.