Strong customer relationships are the hallmark of the uniform industry and are often built on the promise to deliver product on time and at the right price. Yet the manufacture of uniforms is notoriously labor-intensive, with much of the work on the shop floor done manually, without any real-time capabilities.
Aware of the need to become more agile in a competitive global economy, manufacturers and distributors are exploring technologies that can help better manage processes and respond faster to market needs. With many solutions available, which is right for your business?
On April 15, NAUMD will explore one such solution – Shopfloor Control MES – during a webinar presented by Extena. A NAUMD member, Exenta has a rich history of success across the apparel spectrum, and a growing list of clients that includes Carhartt, Propper and Healing Hands. Users of their platform report a 37% increase in productivity; a 26% reduction in employee absenteeism; and a 44% increase in quality improvement. Whether you’re a distributor, manufacturer or both, Exenta is a premier provider offering one-stop solutions for the uniform industry.
Intrigued? We were too. The Pulse wanted to give readers a sneak peek about what to expect on April 15. Over Zoom, we met with Exenta’s Alexis Borucke, vice president, marketing, and Anthony Mele, vice president, sales, to gain their insights. The following are excerpts from the conversation:
It’s easy to understand how sewing by hand impacts productivity, cost and quality. How does Shop Floor Control technology change that?
Shop Floor Control MES software tracks the progress of production throughout the sewing operation, giving supervisors, managers and workers real-time information and notifications regarding work in progress (WIP) and many aspects of workforce management such as employee productivity, labor costs, and pay rates.
What type of equipment will I need to utilize the technology?
The technology is cloud-based; the only equipment required are tablets that are attached to machines. Employees then can scan barcodes on pieces or garments rather than writing everything down in a notebook or using gum sheets. This results in an immediate efficiency improvement, along with enhanced decision-making capabilities.
Not everyone is tech-savvy. What’s the learning curve for this?
The interface is easy to implement and adopt. Operators adapt quickly, generally within a couple of weeks.
Any pushback from employees? I would think there would be some apprehension in a product designed to reduce my labor hours.
Actually, it’s seen as a win-win. Employee hours can be reallocated to more strategic tasks. And once operators develop trust for the system, they no longer spend time making notes about the pay they are owed. Instead, their garment total increases each time they scan a new piece. Scanning is easier, faster and more accurate than maintaining notebooks full of peeled stickers and hand-scrawled notes.
Stress levels are lower too, because operators have gained time during every shift, allowing them to sew a few more pieces—boosting their own paychecks and the manufacturer’s production levels. Shop Floor Control MES enables sewing operations to experience productivity gains from 11% to more than 40%.
You state that the solution cuts down on absenteeism. How?
The technology gives managers access to complete time and attendance information. Reviewing patterns of absenteeism helps identify employees who do not meet attendance expectations. Managers can also see if certain stations or lines are overburdened by too few workers or too many temporary workers. This data can reveal areas where cross-training operators may improve coverage of stations when workers are absent.
Any final thoughts?
Using Shop Floor Control MES can help uniform industry executives fine-tune production to meet customer expectations and improve the way the workforce is managed and paid. Manufacturers can optimize efficiency, offer opportunities to earn incentive bonuses, increase productivity, and improve product quality – all while increasing productivity, profits and customer satisfaction.
Learn more about Exenta and its platform by visiting https://www.exentago.com/fashion-soft-goods-erp-plm-sfc/
Not yet registered for the webinar? What are you waiting for? Register now.