The garment industry is implementing various IT solutions to bring in better efficiencies through improved communication. These range from ERP software for the integration of organization by bringing in all the processes together on one single platform for better management to achieve quick deliveries and reducing cost, more specifically the CAD software which help in the collaborative designing and quick fit approvals. While an ERP system covers the entire manufacturing process with details from raw material procurement to the dispatch of the final garments, the CAD system helps increase the efficiency by reducing the fabric wastage. Team StitchWorld presents a brief of the various companies at GTE’10 exhibiting such solutions for the garment industry.
ERP – An Efficient Enabler
ERP software provides the backbone for an enterprise-wide information system. With increasing parameters to be monitored, reducing lead times and need for real-time information, it is becoming increasingly important for apparel industry to implement ERP solutions
The desire of being able to complete a greater part of the work in lesser time is forcing all organizations to implement IT solutions to automate a part or its entire operations. This is keeping in view the fact that the competitive scenario does not allow for manual errors and hence manual intervention must be reduced to a minimum.
ERP software provides the backbone for an enterprise-wide information system. At the core of an enterprise software is a central database which draws data from and feeds data into modular applications that operate on a common computing platform, thus standardizing business processes and data definitions into a unified environment. The system provides consistency and transparency across the entire enterprise.
With increasing parameters to be monitored, reducing lead times and need for real-time information, it is becoming increasingly important for apparel industry to implement ERP solutions. All the management can be done manually; however with increasing competition, ‘time’ has emerged as the most important factor and hence to be able to manage tasks within specific time frames IT intervention is a necessary option. A 2% increase in productivity could be worth $ 80,000 to $ 1,60,000 per 1,000 sewing machines per year depending on the factory location. Planned production also covers up for delays due to missing raw materials and style approvals, hold-ups due to WIP shortages through centralized planning, better communication and prioritizing. The tangible benefits of ERP implementation are improved on time delivery performance, better load distribution and monitoring in departments, and even reduced stock holding of materials by 40-50% while improving the raw material availability as well.
Nowadays, more and more organizations are becoming aware of the benefits of computer – based technologies and are either already using them or contemplating their use to speed up their design and manufacturing processes
ECOTECH – Integrated Business Software for the Industry ‘STAGE’
Ecotech is a Chennai-based software company providing integrated business software for the apparel industry. Since 1994, Ecotech has helped leading organizations in the apparel industry implement management solutions that streamline production planning, activity and resource tracking, cost management and information analysis across the organization. Company’s STAGE ERP is claimed to be the best ERP software for the apparel industry by the company. The company has had great successes in India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Singapore and USA. The software specializes in handling the numerous variables in orders, items, events to be tracked, etc. with ease and ultimately helping apparel manufacturers accurately track their orders’ status. The latest development at the company has been the STAGE Web Exchange which seamlessly integrates information across all locations for manufacturers/exporters/ buying houses working at multiple locations.
Another offering from Ecotech is the Proman – Production Management Software – which takes care of all activities from time study and production planning till the garment is finished and packed. It integrates all operations and generates useful MIS reports to remove bottlenecks and improve productivity. It can integrate with STAGE ERP or work independently.
Some of the major clients of the company are Gokaldas Images Ltd., Bangalore; Celebrity Fashions; Raymond Limited; and Laguna Clothing.
Gerber AccuMark version 8.4 Pattern Design Software (PDS) has a translation library which enables users to create notes on piece and marker data in one language and deliver it in another seamlessly
CutPlan from OptiTex allows users to control their costs by reducing material waste and the amount of remnant pieces. It also controls production costs when handling smaller order sizes
ROYAL DATAMATICS – Track the Entire Product Life Cycle with APPS
Royal Datamatics is a leading provider of Apparel, E-Commerce and Warehouse Management Solutions. It is a 9-year-old software service company serving clients from across the world. Its parent company is a 35-year-old garment manufacturer which gives RDPL an in-depth understanding of garment industry – practices, processes and techniques.
APPS – the company’s flagship product is a full-fledged ERP application that tracks entire life cycle of product development right from design conceptualization to order fulfilment. Whereas most ERPs take months to implement, APPS customers are up and running with the application within a matter of weeks.
Besides their main ERP application, other products from Royal Datamatics include APPS Supply Chain Management, a web-based solution suited for buying houses/liaison offices that have vendors spread across countries; APPS Wholesale, again a web-based solution ideal for importers/wholesalers of apparel/ textile products for back ordering, consolidation and shipping out to retailers/end consumers; and APPS Retail point of sales and back-end warehouse management solution for apparel/textile retailers. The APPS Retail application can also be integrated with e-commerce application for companies that also have online retailing.
DATATEX – Platform Independent Web-based TIM
Datatex was founded in 1987 and has ready solutions for both integrated as well as stand-alone single stage production companies. It is based in Italy and since its introduction 20 years ago, the Datatex platform has been extremely successful. It is now used by over 400 companies in 42 different countries throughout the world. Textile Integrated Manufacturing (TIM) is an ERP application by Datatex designed for textile manufacturers of all sizes whether vertically integrated or stand-alone single state manufacturing unit. Network Oriented World (NOW) is a relatively new version ERP from Datatex. It is a platform independent and a web-based solution for global kind of setup where data transaction is dynamic and origin of data is from multiple locations. It has a special ‘BOARD’ that allows higher management to view highly specific data relevant to them.
Functional areas currently covered by Datatex solutions are: sales and customer service; planning and scheduling; production order management-launch, schedule and tracking, inventory and warehouse management; purchasing: services, products, assets; costing-standard and actual cost; and the database-company and core manufacturing data.
AURIGA SOFTWARE – Exceeding 150 Installations in Northern India
Auriga Software Pvt. Ltd. is providing automation to exporters through their software Visual Texma. Auriga has been working with exporters especially for fashion industry like garments, home furnishings, made-ups, leather products, shoes, handicrafts, etc.
With more than 150 installations in NCR and in north Indian cities like Jaipur and Panipat, Auriga is now gearing to expand its base all over India and in engineering sector as well. Visual Texma has well documented and standard implementation procedures which results in quick implementation of the ERP software (1-2 months). Its various modules include buyer order, purchase, production and inventory management; sampling and marketing management; financial accounting management; export documentation; payroll management; and retail operation management. It has a high degree of integration among modules and high adaptability. Minimum level of customization is required because of the flexibility in the software and its unique core design. The software allows for online monitoring and integration of multi-unit operations and is a highly useful tool for planning and procurement managers. It helps in accurate status tracking and has data security and alerts for managers. The software claims a ROI by minimum of 10-15% saving on purchases and processing cost.
CAD “Narrow Gap between Reality and Imagination”
CAD technologies are increasingly becoming popular with more and more organizations accepting it because of its ability to save the most costly input in apparel manufacturing – the fabric. Initially, the industry was skeptical to accepting these technologies because of the high investment involved and there are still companies that are using manual pattern making, spreading and cutting which is highly time consuming and prone to manual errors. But now more and more organizations are becoming aware of the benefits of computer based technologies and are either already using them or contemplating their use to speed up their design and manufacturing processes.
Latest CAD technologies like 3D fit simulation result in portable ‘digital garment’ which retailers/buyers/manufacturers all over the world can view and patternmakers of all levels could use it as part of the development processes. While companies like Timex and Fergasam group from Sri Lanka reported an impressive 66% reduction of sample approval time resulting in improved on time delivery, Asmara International reported 50% reduction of fit approval time due to quick identification of problem areas.
LECTRA – Optimizing Collection Development
French CAD giant, Lectra a leading name in the field of technology solution provider to industries using soft materials – textiles, leather, industrial fabrics and composite materials – has always been committed to provide its customers with the benefits of value-added, innovative solutions. Its marker making software Diamino can create markers for all types of garments and fabrics easily and quickly, taking a large number of constraints into account. It accurately evaluates fabric requirements and helps increase productivity with interactive and/or automatic marker-making. The software claims of obtaining a return on investment within a few months. For pattern drafting and grading, Lectra’s Modaris is a time saving solution which helps in designing more patterns in less time and reduces the number of physical prototypes created. It helps generate initial products, runs faster with lower costs and guarantee the quality and fit of products in all sizes. The software optimizes the development of new collections and styles and capitalizes on pattern-making resources and best practices. It helps manage product engineering in a collaborative, transnational environment.
GERBER TECHNOLOGY – Automated Production Solutions for Sewn and Flexible Goods Industry
The world leader in automated CAD solutions, Gerber Technology provides design and automated production solutions for the sewn and flexible goods industries, adds portability and user-friendliness in its software. Gerber’s V Stitcher which is a powerful 3D design and visualization software, enabling a fast and easy transformation of 2D patterns into 3D garments. It accelerates the entire product development lifecycle and integrates seamlessly with AccuMark pattern design, grading and marker making software.
The latest version of V Stitcher is V4.3 which allows for simulation of fabric edge thickness. It has a drag and drop from Adobe Illustrator and support from industry standard colour libraries like Pantone. For pattern designing, grading, marker making and pre-cutting operation, AccuMark version 8.4 Pattern Design Software (PDS) has a translation library which enables users to create notes on piece and marker data in one language and deliver it in another.
The new AccuMark focuses on the customers’ need for collaboration, regardless of location or native language. “Enhanced communication improves efficiency and reduces errors,” said Bill Brewster, V-P of Gerber Technology and Head of the Gerber Software Systems Group. “In order to make our AccuMark user experience easier and more efficient, we improved the integration between AccuMark and other applications, as well as provided several new tools to support collaboration.”
Currently available in 26 languages, AccuMark 8.4 sets the standard for pattern design, grading and marker making/nesting in the apparel, transportation interiors, furniture and industrial fabrics industries. Customers with software subscription contracts can also download the version free of charge from company’s internet-based customer service portal for software updates.
In addition, for the benefit of customers exploring new markets, Gerber has introduced the Pattern Wizard feature which generates various patterns simultaneously to different body and fit specifications for different geographic markets.
ASSYST BULLMER –Fresh Energy with Management Change
Established in UK in 1987 and operating both from UK and Ireland, Assyst Bulmer was recently jointly acquired by German leather cutting solution provider Topcut and Chinese sewing machine manufacturer Jack. The company is now known as Topcut Bullmer. Apparel.assyst is a WINDOWS-based CAD offering from the company which is specifically tailored to the needs of garment industry. Its application ranges from product conception till it reaches the cutting room table. It allows for visualization of ideas, product data management, 2D cut design with extensive automatic features, real-time 3D fit checking and marker optimization. The suite is made up of various modules which ease the pattern designing operation. A newly added module to the Apparel.assyst is the Vidya which opens up the way into 3D real-time simulation via a direct link to the 2D design. It helps in control of the patterns and the fit in different sizes, alterations to patterns, check and stripe adjustment. Vidya allows for positioning and dimensioning of pockets, dividing seams and accessories without producing samples. Elaboration of the details for compiling the processing directives for the producer can be done on the basis of screenshots of the simulation. It helps in reducing dispatch times for samples and leads to improved communication between pattern, design, producer and customer. Vidya provides for presentation of virtual models in online fashion shows or 3D presentations and can be used as sales support in online shops.
Optitex – Better Planning for Cost Effective Cutting
OptiTex, an Israel–based apparel CAD/CAM solution provider has always been ahead with its continuous developments and updations of 3D modules, avatars and morphing technologies. OptiTex unveiled the latest module to benefit the fashion industry, CutPlan, which allows users to control their costs by reducing material waste and the amount of remnant pieces. It also controls production costs when handling smaller order sizes.
CutPlan provides production with detailed spreading information for multi-colour plies and a superior nesting engine for maximum market efficiency. OptiTex CutPlan software compliments OptiTex’s already existing Marker and Nesting modules. Nest++2 drastically increases material efficiency, elevates overall nesting standards and reduces time and labour.
“By broadening our software range to accommodate multi colour plies, we make the world more colourful by allowing users to produce accurate cuts for more of their lines”, says Ran Machtinger, CEO of OptiTex.
The CutPlan software helps the users define fabric quantities, properties, size, cost and weight. The software then provides accurate cost production calculations in the form of real time Excel and XML file for all the stored data and nested MRK files.