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Indian apparel exporters lean on Toyota production model
04
Sep '12
The European order slump is forcing Indian apparel producers and exporters to adopt innovative models to keep up with new expectations of their buyers. The latest is the ‘Lean Manufacturing’ principle propagated by Japan-based automobile major – Toyota.

According to ‘Lean Manufacturing’ – Produce goods of the highest quality, what, when and in quantities needed by the customer, within minimum amount of time, with minimum labour using least floor space at the lowest cost.

European buyers and retailers have reduced order-delivery period from 13-15 weeks to just 8-9 weeks in order to reduce stocks at their end. To meet these new deadlines, Indian garment producers adopted ‘Lean Manufacturing’ and in turn have been able to reduce waste, increase efficiency and margins.

Mr Amit Gugnani – Senior Vice-President at Technopak, a consultancy which guides textile and apparel producers in adopting the principle says, “Lean is all about doing more with less. Lean is a focused approach towards cutting down non-value adding activities in a process and hence increasing the value-adding activities from resources available.

“In the Indian apparel sector, the gradual increase in operating and material costs is putting strains on profits. Complexity of orders in terms of multiple SKUs, style variability and small order sizes require production centres equipped flexible and quick response manufacturing practices.

“In this situation, application of lean could be a greatest weapon to make breakthrough towards maintaining the profitability and sustainability”, he informs.

Mr Gautam Chakravarti – Chairman of Gokuldas Exports, one of the biggest clothing exporter from India, which has adopted the theory explains, “We have implemented principles of lean manufacturing in several functional areas like, cutting, sewing, order processing, industrial engineering, sourcing, etc.

“The ‘policy deployment’ approach has been used to align the initiatives in different functional areas with the overall business goals. A ‘Kaizen Promotion’ team was created and trained to address business problem solving using ‘Kaizen’ methodology across different units of the company.

“Action plans arising from the Kaizens conducted were implemented and monitored for effectiveness. KPIs were identified for all critical areas of operations and actuals were measured against time bound targets on those parameters”, he reveals.

Revealing the benefits that can accrue by adopting the model, Mr Chakravarti says, “There is an increase in use of visual management tools, improved cleanliness and organization of the place of work, lower work-in-process, higher efficiencies and focus on meeting customer demand with minimum waste of resources, time and effort”.

According to Mr Gugnani, implementing the theory results in reduction of internal failures such as repair and process / material loss, increase in productivity and utilisation of machines & equipments, faster response towards complexity of orders, reduction in lead time and improvement in ‘On Time Delivery in Full’ (OTIF), increased return on assets and improvement in morale across the process.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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