Over the last 20 years there has been a dramatic technical development of machines and software in the production of knitted fashion garments. This development has made it possible to rationalize design and production of knitted garments so that today it is possible to make a knitted garment, almost ready made, directly in the knitting machine, with a minimum of processes, such as cutting and sewing.
The objective of this paper is to explain and give examples of how this new knitting production technology could be implemented in a fast fashion logistic system. The method for this paper is an inductive approach based on a literature survey.
The new technical achievements have not meant the great breakthrough that was expected. Why? Many companies moved their production to development countries where the costs of production, mainly labour costs are lower than in western countries. Another reason is that it is not enough to invest in new machinery and then use the machines in the same production system as before. To gain the benefits of this technique the production processes in the company have to be changed and adapted to these new conditions. The lack of knowledge in supply chain design and a one-sided perspective on production costs, instead of a customer orientated one, is one explanation. This, in a business (fashion) where the demand is changing day by- day and the short time to market is vital to a companys ability to be competitive. This article describes the integral and complete garment knitting techniques and the advantages that they open up, both from a logistics and a technical point of view. An integral knitted whole garment technology implemented and adjusted to the production and business system in a company, can reduce lead times dramatically and respond quickly to the rapidly changing fashion market.
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