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Decades-long complexity in style changeover: root cause and way out

The sense of individuality and uniqueness in fashion will continue to increase as our world ages. Everyone enjoys wearing clothing according to their taste. There are more companies that accept minimum orders of one piece and offer fast delivery as new fashion brands emerge every day. New concepts are arriving every day. Thanks to digitalization, the entire fashion industry has migrated to mobile devices, and it is now well-established that no design is preferred to be acceptable to every consumer.

Decades-long complexity in style changeover: root cause and way out.
Figure 1: Habibur Rahman, Consultant, Smart Factory 4.0 Initiative for Textile Apparel Industries.

Customers’ expectations of fashion are rising daily as they can view thousands of designs by scrolling continuously and can have items delivered to their homes in just four or five clicks.

Practically, every day brings new challenges for those of us working in the fashion industry as professionals and manufacturers. As order quantity decreases, complexity increases, deliveries are met on extremely tight schedules, people start trusting in C2M order management systems. Demand grows, and the range of customer requirements expands day by day. In fact, it appears that the entire thing is heading towards the most complicated process every day. In light of these realities, our frequent style changes have now become the norm. And we have to accept it.

In garment manufacturing companies, when we want to start production from one style to another style, from one color to another color, from one design to a new design in sewing lines, dyeing, Printing anywhere, usually, time is lost from 6 hours to 10 days (100 hours) in worst cases. And we have started to accept it as a normal occurrence. Because we have been seeing the same thing for the past thirty years and we are used to doing it. Apart from the garment industry, the situation is the same in all other manufacturing industries.

For three decades, we have struggled with this issue, but we have been unable to make any significant progress toward solving it. Instead, we have resorted to the lowest forms of justification, including negative mindset, indifference and rigid excuses.

We have tried to categorize this problem only as a technical problem and tried to solve it mechanically and see that there is no lasting solution to the problem. Because we misinterpret our systematic errors. Some psychological complications need to be solved before the technical issues, otherwise, this problem will not be solved.

Please remember all the technical attributes, failures and aspects discussed and practiced in our factory are not included in this article. We would like to highlight the things we have not taken into consideration yet. 

Unlearning the wrong things, we know and adopting new methods

Be confident in the learn-unlearn-relearn methodology, gradually letting go of the old techniques and placing your trust in new knowledge, all tested methods of the world and new people. The unlearn to relearn approach is the first step in accepting the flaws and embracing a new approach. And if you want to transform yourself and your organization in this way, the most important thing to focus on is a positive mindset.

Power of a positive mindset

If you want to achieve something, you must first believe that you can achieve it. If you don’t have the ability or the condition to achieve it at the moment – yet if you believe it – then you can achieve it. Because effort comes from belief, and achievement comes from effort.

If we believe that we can do it – we won’t give up even if we fail again and again – then we will eventually succeed by learning from mistakes and failures. Eventually, it will not be the same mistake again.

Positive thinking people see temporary failure as a challenge. While most people view failure as the end, positive thinkers view every setback differently. When faced with any difficult situation, they feel challenged instead of frustrated and see it as an opportunity to make themselves a little more efficient and powerful.

We must first agree that our first task is to approach it with a positive mindset before we sit down to do a root cause analysis of three decades of failure. It is possible if our subconscious mind keeps telling us that it is possible.

Think deeply about getting out of the comfort zone

The comfort zone is the environmental and behavioral position where people’s work activities are trapped within a certain safe and stress-free routine and schedule. It gives people a sense of emotional security. People caught in the middle are consistently happier, have less anxiety, and feel much less stress.

The last part is nice to hear but has a lot of bad effects. A person stuck in a comfort zone does not want to take even the smallest risk. Due to this, their development is stuck in one place. For most people, the thought of stepping out of their comfort zone makes them anxious. This excessive anxiety prevents them from trying new things. The fear of losing the present while doing something with the hope of the future is what keeps people stuck in their old zone.

Decades-long complexity in style changeover: root cause and way out.
Figure 2: SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats, and so SWOT analysis is a technique for assessing these four aspects of your business.

SWOT analysis

SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats, and so SWOT analysis is a technique for assessing these four aspects of your business.

The real purpose of SWOT analysis is to find out the strengths of something and to find the opportunities in which these strengths can be used in any context. Also, to find out the weak features as well as analyze the harmful effects of these weak features. Later, arrange to remove these features. You need to have a clear plan to eliminate or to take control of all weaknesses. The whole team need to see what was missing.

It is an approach that will empower any company to face any challenge and help it survive in any tough environment. But not only in business, but also in the spiritual development of people, the results of this strategy are amazing. It is possible to use this method to face practically any kind of challenge.

Parkinson’s Law of Time

‘Parkinson’s Law of Time’ is the method or strategy that one can practice to get more work done in a certain period of time. Become a master at setting deadlines for any task.

We usually start rushing towards the last days of production for shipment. We strive to meet targets at the end of the deadline. One thing to note is that we can finally complete the shipment even if we put in a lot of hard work. So, if we had started a little effort earlier, then we could have arranged the shipment through a better arrangement than before. This is the main theme of Parkinson’s Law of Time, which is that we delay this work by a few hours, or even days, and do it under control at the right time.

Some steps on how we can get out of these wrong policies or confusion –

  • Practice very tight deadlines for a few days without thinking ahead.
  • If we have done this kind of work before, how long did it take?
  • How much did we cheat in the previous assignments?
  • What steps did we take last time in a hurry?

You will not succeed in hitting the deadline right the first time. Don’t worry, keep practicing. Success is inevitable.

Decades-long complexity in style changeover
Figure 3: ‘Parkinson’s Law of Time’ is the method or strategy that one can practice to get more work done in a certain period of time. Become a master at setting deadlines for any task.

Team building

Team Building is still missing in our industry. Building a genuine team with all stake holders including worker, employee, factory, machine, order, entrepreneur, is the biggest control of any kind of sustainable development. If we could have turned our team building into a culture, the complexity and impenetrability of our mysterious chapter in the name of style changeover for three decades would have been eliminated. We do nothing about this, so we cannot ensure proper utilization of capacity due to this complexity in our style changeover.

To us, team building means some outdoor activities and posting pictures of smiling faces on Facebook. But the matter is much deeper and very sensitive. We have to be more careful. We have shown great indifference in this matter. And yet there is no change in this matter among many of us. Please remember all sufferings are only created by us.

Preparatory phase

Before going to the technical matters, one more important thing we need to pay attention to is the preparatory phase. Basically, we stumble because we cannot manage our preparation for a problem properly. Our production people are the victims of this stumbling block. We begin to blame them for our failure by putting pressure on them at the very end of the play always. We are all office people responsible for making it happen.

To control the style change over complexity, the Secret is proper preparation.  Technical preparation is secondary until the full team is whole heartedly and mindfully involved with this challenge. Until they accept this as their very own problem, this problem will remain for a few decades long.

Conclusion

In a European Facility, this style changeover is part of the usual process flow chart of Day-to-day activities. And they can make it happen easily these days, because of those psychological approaches and best practices are practiced decade after decade. They were also not doing perfectly at the beginning. Until the psychological issues are addressed, there will be no far-reaching and sustainable solution to the complexities of style change. There is no technical solution to this problem unless the mentality of every micro-process owner and employee of our production factory changes. Solving any issue temporarily does not bring any effective achievement. This problem will not be solved if we do not undertake special projects to change the mentality at the very production floor level.

The loss of our style changeover is equivalent to thousands of crores of dollars. Because even on those non-productive days, all our expenses are the same.

It is a hidden waste we all know but it is trying to solve in a wrong way. So, thinking outside of the box to see the problem from a different angle may provide the window of opportunity to get a sustainable elimination of Style Change over Complexity. We always see tangible things and ignore the power of intangibles.

If anyone has any feedback or input regarding the published news, please contact: info@textiletoday.com.bd

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