Globalization has been the primary driver of change in supply
chain structures of the global textile and apparel industries. Due to the increasing labour wage in developed countries, apparel manufacturing has been migrating from high wage developed countries to low wage developing countries (Bheda et al 2002). Even though the labour cost is cheaper in developing countries than in developed countries, due to the specific market nature of the garment industries, for example the short production life cycle, high volatility, low predictability, high level of impulse purchase and the quick market response, garment industries are facing the greatest challenges these days (Lucy Daly and Towers 2004). Before 1980, customers tolerated long lead times, which enabled producers to minimize product cost by using economical batch sizes. Later, when customers began to demand shorter lead times, the producers were not able to stand in the competitive market with their current production system. This is when the problem arose and companies started to look for changes to be more competitive. This pressure was further intensified with the elimination of quotas as of January 1, 2005. To stay competitive, many domestic textile manufacturers have sought to improve their manufacturing processes so that they can more readily compete with overseas manufacturers.
Garment industries in developing countries are more focused
on sourcing of raw material and minimizing delivery cost than labour productivity because of the availability of cheap labour. Due to this, labour productivity is lower in developing countries than in the developed ones. For example, labour is very cheap in Bangladesh but the productivity is poor among other developing countries (Shahidul and Syed Shazali 2011). Similarly, since the cost of fabric is a major factor of the garment cost, it is controlled by using CAD and CAM system for marker making and fabric cutting to save fabric consumption. So now the worry is about labour productivity, sewing process improvement and making production flexible. Even today, industries are getting the same or more volumes
(orders), but the number of styles they have to handle has increased drastically. Earlier, industries were getting bulk order so there was no need to worry, if the production line was set for the first time it would run for a month or at least a week or two. Now a days, the fashion industry is highly volatile and if the orders are not fulfilled on time, the fear for losing business is real. Due to small order quantities and complex designs, the garment industry has to produce multiple styles even within a day; this needs higher flexibility in volume and style change over (Shahram and Cristian 2011).
In some cases it has been observed that, in developing countries the garment industries are run as family businesses. They don’t have much confidence towards innovation over old processes. They are happy as long as they are sustaining their business. Since lacking of skilled personnel as well as sufficient capital to implement new technologies for improving productivity and flexibility, they are not moving towards new innovation.
Because of all these things the industries have been running in a traditional way for years and are rigid to change (Gao et al 2009).
The best way to cope with all these challenges is the
implementation of lean manufacturing. This will serve the purpose of flexibility and save a lot of money by reducing production lead time, reducing the inventory, increasing productivity, training operators for multiple works, and by reducing rework.
The sewing section in a garment firm is a most problematic section
as compared with other value chains .Most of the time, failure to meet delivery time is because of the sewing section. Sewing operations (with respect to cutting and finishing) demands high skill in machine...
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