We are living in times of uncertainty and instability which affect every facet of our lives. For the apparel industry, constantly changing market dynamics mean companies who want to survive must be ready to implement frequent and rapid changes in order to overcome endless challenges which will only intensify in the coming years. Over the past two decades, every time the apparel industry is faced with new hurdles, factories think that initiating Lean manufacturing or adapting the Toyota Production System (TPS) into their operations is how to drive competitiveness. But the way they undertake these programs is outmoded, something like continuing to use an old version of an iPhone that ignores all the evolutionary developments of the later models. Those efforts have resulted in very few apparel groups who are able to answer the constantly changing dynamics of market trends and customer demand. Companies who think they have “gone Lean” have mostly limited their improvement programs to specific manufacturing areas, particularly the sewing department, and have achieved modest improvements at best. Certainly they haven’t really improved the company’s overall profitability. The key to understanding how to stay ahead is to study the changing dynamics of global business trends. This can yield important insights on how to stimulate change practices and processes at all levels of the organization. Unless we recognize the changing dynamics affecting every aspect of the business, the industry will continue to struggle. Defining the changing business dynamics will help create sustainable opportunities for new and competitive engagements.

Tomorrow’s successful organization requires a wholly aligned and talented management team to drive change by constant and effective adaptation in the below areas:

  • Accelerated product development
  • Planned, targeted and allowance costings (Toyota cost management)
  • New worker skillsets enabling zero order changeover, flexibility and balancing
  • Unified management system supporting value producers
  • Integrated management concept enhancing internal time response
  • Value engineering enabling zero waste and accurate unit cost
  • Single-handling cutting process rather than multi-handling thereby eliminating retention Centralized unit cost and profit control rather than shared profit centers
  • Agile cellular manufacturing driven by product family
  • Shifting supervisor role to workplace leader
  • Attach support staff to product family cellular units to eliminate deviations
  • Shifting work studies to true engineering
  • Implement four levels of integrated key indicators to core objectives
  • Four-level performance policy enabling continuous improvement orientation
  • Sharing standards and results in real time through digital technology
  • Aligning 5S daily activities with primary and secondary standards
  • more.......