Apparel manufacturing is a complex business, and to excel in this business as anywhere else one needs to avoid making certain cardinal mistakes.

The global apparel market was estimated at $1,800 billion in 2017, with India's contribution being about $67 billion-roughly 4 per cent of the global apparel market. India's apparel market has grown at a CAGR (compounded annual growth rate) of 10 per cent in the past decade and is expected to grow at a still faster pace of 12 per cent in the next decade. The industry is passing through an important phase. On the one hand, changing consumer trends and growing disposable incomes are leading to a high demand and shift from tailor-made to readymade clothing. On the other, Central and state governments' incentives for apparel manufacturing are making investments a lucrative proposition.

In spite of a favourable ecosystem, apparel manufacturing is one of the most complex businesses to run. It involves simultaneous functioning of multiple factors to make it a profitable business. Even small gaps in the supply chain can lead to a delay in shipment and result in serious losses to a company. It also involves cut-throat competition against cost-competitive countries such as Ethiopia, Bangladesh, etc. Hence, the operations of an apparel factory require a pre-emptive approach towards early identification and rectification of the problems and delays.

Sure, prevention is better than cure. But how?

Even with stiff competition, there are ways to excel a business. One such approach is to avoid making common mistakes which can seriously hamper a company's profitability. This article details the seven most common mistakes that an apparel investor makes.

1.      Flawed factory design and machinery layout

Creating a factory layout is one of the most critical parts in the setting up an apparel manufacturing unit. The layout is not just a representation of the shop floor in terms of infrastructure and machinery, but is also important for planning of material and manpower movement. With the ever-changing orders and requirements of buyers, manufacturers resort to changing line sizes, machines and material movement to suit the product being manufactured.

The development of an efficient plant layout results in a smooth workflow across production process, improved production efficiency and ensures 10-12 per cent space saving. A well-developed layout also incorporates international compliance requirements such as safety, health and environment (SHE) norms and is a visually appealing factory.

2.     Ignorance of industrial engineering, quality control methods

The primary benefit of modern industrial engineering (IE) lies in making work as easy as possible while keeping overall cost factors to a minimum. Once the work is simplified for workers, it has a domino effect on the entire organisation. Workers may be able to do more work in the same time as they did without the application of IE, thus increasing the overall productivity of work.