Not long ago, we repeatedly struggled to plan and execute our travel time. For instance, if our office was 20 km away from the house, at 40 km/ hour, we would plan to reach office within 30-35 minutes. Nothing wrong with the plan, really, except that it never took any account of a possible road block or an accident or a slow traffic due to rain. Then came the GPS, and life was easier!
Do you miss this GPS for your factory floor – when the finest plan fail to transform into any respectable result?
Do you fancy a system that highlights a wrong turn (in our case – any fabric damage, roll excess/ shortage, roll cuts, width variation, incorrect lay length, incorrect patterns etc.) and automatically modifies the initial plan to adjust to the changing scenario?
Yes, you do. The up-market auto nesting or cutplan tools might give you a perfect plan but planning without feedback from the point of execution is meaningless. What is the purpose of a perfect plan if it can’t be followed on the floor, if it can’t respond to the changing scenarios? Also, no feedback from the floor results in delay and a potential short shipment.
Let us first understand the numerous possible wrong-turns of our factory floor-
Order Details: Change in target quantity has always been a subject to variable like:
- extra quantity to be cut as allowed by buyers
- fabric available in excess/ shortage
- vast variation in buying vs estimated consumption
Fabric Details: Whether you have a set process for 100% roll checking or not, fabric rolls never fail to surprise:
- high fabric damage/ roll cuts
- roll shortage or excess
- in-roll fabric variation (width/ shade)
- high shrinkage of length on relaxation (mostly in knits)
- odd cases of bowing/ skewing
Marker Details: Mainly concerned with any change in marker length, which depends upon many variable:
- last minute change in patterns/ a missing pattern/ a wrong pattern/ wrong placement of patterns
- change in cutting methods, say block cutting instead of ready cutting
- mismatch between fabric roll width and marker width
Laying Details: All cutting room plans ultimately depend on how you were able to execute them while laying, the day-to-day variable to record here are:
- disparity in planned vs actual plies (due to variation in roll length/ fabric damage/ human error in counting)
- disparity in planned vs actual layer length (due incorrect endloss/ bowing or skewing/ human error in measuring)
- disparity in actual end bits left from each roll on the floor
- disparity in actual rolls used in lay vs planned (due to unavailability of roll/ wrong practice on floor)
To overcome this basic nature of our industry i.e. the unwanted but unavoidable fluctuations on the floor, we need the power of a real-time material management system. We clearly understand that even a tiny variation in one lay results in the need to re-plan the rest of lays, then why not have the privilege of knowing what is happening and then acting accordingly? To achieve what you plan, you need to know every on-floor progress – if the operators are laying correct length; if every single piece of fabric is used judiciously; if recuts/ part changes are done from larger pieces of fabric when small end bits are available; if appropriate fabric rolls are used to ensure maximum width utilisation; if suitable fabric rolls are used for correct shrinkage and shade groups to ensure quality and many more…
With the power of a real-time material management system, you are empowering your factory to accept the challenges that our industry fundamentally holds.
– Order Details: routine regulation on your target quantity based on a combination of factors like allowed extra percentage + total fabric available + estimated consumption
– Fabric Details: system to capture every tiny deviation in fabric data (so you know the performance of your fabric store) + track every inch of damage in fabric/ roll excess or shortage (so you also know the performance of your fabric suppliers) + fine-tune the initial plan automatically for the changes
– Marker Details: allow any last minute adjustment in marker length + record it instantly + refresh the rest of the plan automatically to adhere to the variation
– Laying Details: capture every minute disparity + adjust automatically + generate spot-on reports (so you know your vendors better, analyse department wise performance, accurate reconciliation figures and more)
How to empower plans with on-floor feedback?
A simple format to fill lay details (like this) can be used to record real-time data. This data, recorded live can be fed to a system that immediately refreshes the entire plan as per the changes and generates conclusive reports highlighting any deviation from plan vs actual.
Replacing the hardcopy format with a tablet or a smart phone application, serves the cause better. An example of such an application by ThreadSol can be viewed here.
More power to you, when a smart phone applications allows you to access all accumulated reports and re-view real-time progress of your factory floor. IntelloMobile does this effectively.
Can you think of any tool or a service or a consultancy that works even close to such concepts?
Let us know.