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Eton helps meet technology challenge at garment unit
Apr '13
In one of the most dynamic fashion markets in the world, Brazilian apparel companies have many opportunities in front of them. But along with rapid growth comes challenges. The national appetite for fresh fashion is requiring retailers to offer more variety, frequent style changes, and higher levels of quality and value.

To meet growing demand for its fashionable jeans and sportswear, family-owned Macklife Confecções turned to state-of-the-art technology from Eton Systems to transform its Maringá-based factory into a model for retail-driven manufacturing.

From factory floor to store shelf

Since opening with a jeans line in 1988, Macklife has experienced solid sales growth that today includes a variety of tops and bottoms under the For Boys and For Girls labels targeting a 15 to 40 year old fashion audience. The company sells only through its own stores, which now number 15 in Parana, 2 in São Paulo, and plans to open at least one more in 2013. The company’s 400 in-house production workers make about 80% of the 900,000 units it sells each year. 

“We believe that selling through our own stores is our most important competitive advantage”, explaines Macklife Co-Owner and Director Petterson Nabhan. “In addition to offering excellent quality and value in our products, we carefully choose the store location and then pay very close attention to making sure we stock the products that our customers want.”

To create a more responsive production process, the company installed the Eton 5000 computerized conveyor and production management system to speed garments through the assembly and finishing processes in a fraction of the time required for the industry standard progressive bundle system. This ability to respond quickly allows Macklife stores to communicate sales trends to the factory and get new or replenishment merchandise faster than their competition.

Responsive and efficient manufacturing

As Macklife has added new styles and stores to seize market opportunities, the factory has adapted to the changing realities of today’s fashion industry. Large orders of a single product stretching over long periods of time have given way to more frequent and smaller individual production orders.

To simplify day to day management in this challenging environment, Eton Systems keeps work-in-process inventories very lean to limit the number of orders on the production floor at any given time. The ETONselect real-time shop floor computer system helps Macklife concentrate their efforts on fewer orders as each quickly flows through the production line in a more orderly and manageable fashion.  

Since installing 60 high-tech Eton workstations in late 2010, the vertical retailer has significantly increased its production capabilities. By eliminating most of the non-productive handling, the new system enables workers to produce more with less effort. The computer controls help team leaders focus on processing the right orders quickly and completely for delivery to the stores.

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