Innovator,entrepreneur and outspoken Head Coach of Los Angeles based CAD/CAM supplier TUKATECH Inc., has been recently named among "The Influential 20 of 2004" by the prestigious California Apparel News (CAN).
What is apparel automation technology and how does it make operations more efficient and effective for the textile industry?
"You can roll down the window of your car with a crank taking 60 seconds or press a button in 1 second to roll it down electronically, the choice is yours. Similarly, every job can be done manually, but the question is, ""Do you have the time, the manpower that cost money to do it?"" and still stay competitive, profitable or better, in business or do you go out of business. The technology is to make repetitive operations, automatic. Everything is measured in Standard Allowed Minutes (S.A.M.). Automation allows us to reduce time, which translates into money or costs, and by reducing costs, one becomes more profitable. Technology provides consistent quality, a must in any mass manufacturing business unless you are making ""HAND MADE"" ROLLS ROYCES, even they could not stay profitable and were sold to engineered companies. Ever since the sale of RR, the quality is much better; the automobile is reliable and less expensive with more safety and performance feature. Automation Technology is not limited to machinery; it is technical knowledge, application of the knowledge and machines to follow those technical instructions.."
How do you see the textile industry in the quota free world?
"It is the ""survival of the fittest scenario."" Those who are ready for expansion, can control cost and deliver quality product on time, will survive. The buyers are going to consolidate their suppliers to reduce their own cost of managing. Since buyers do not have quota restrictions, they need not worry about dividing quantities into countries where they could obtain quota. Now that they have a very good HISTORY and they did keep a SCORE CARD of each supplier, they will choose the best and help them expand to take care of total supply for that category.I have seen a Billion dollar retailer in California go from 98 vendors to 26 vendors in first three months of this year. POOF and 72 suppliers disappeared in a heartbeat. The relationships will be built, joint venture will take place and profitability will shared among most efficient groups. There is no room for error, there is no excuse for delays and most certainly there will be no tolerance for wastage of any kind. "
What kind of services does TUKATECH provide for its clients?
"We focused solely on PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT AREA; without a product, there is no business. The entire manufacturing process and logistics of moving goods from factories to retailers is pretty well defined. Of course, we can save some time in those operations but getting the product approved and released to production needs major attention. It is the dream of every buyer to buy only on the day they are going to sell, so they know what to buy, and will be guaranteed the margin of profit. Buying too far in advance is too risky, and every buyer is managing their RISK factor by reducing the time of approval. The problem is too severe to handle as the distances between buyer and suppliers are oceans apart, communication and language problems and as demand for more styles grow rapidly, the shortage of Pattern Makers, Technical Designers is felt across the globe.The demand of our services through www.TUKAWEB.com for outsourcing pattern making to sample making has grown three folds in one year. We now have over 1,200 companies from 49 countries using our services.Our TECHNICAL TEAM has helped many retailers and large importers by developing their MASTER PATTERNS / Blocks / Slopers. We HOST these blocks for the vendors of these retailers who buy them from TUKAWEB to develop new styles based on the fit of their customers. We have been able to shave off many weeks in sample development and approval process.Our alignment with FedEx has saved 4 out of 5 days in sending patterns and markers to Asia from Europe and North America. So many suppliers do not have any CAD system, hence the buyers now upload the CAD file electronically to www.TUKAWEB.com from any CAD system. We convert the data to standard plot data, and plot it on our high speed plotters installed in FedEx distribution center in Philippines, all within TWO HOURS and deliver in 24 hours to any destination in Asia. Now, that is SPEED TO MARKET!If any vendor needs to send hard copy of final patterns, even they can use TUKAWEB portal and upload the file, choose any of 1,248 FedEx-Kinko's locations and have it plotted/delivered within 24 hours. Our engineers and consultants have been really busy streamlining the process at both buyers and suppliers alike. "
Who are your major competitors? What is your share in the market?
"TUKAWEB, TUKAcenters, FedEx, Kinko's, engineers, pattern makers, graders, marker makers, sample makers" and easy to use totally open systems - NO ONE HAS THAT INFRASTRUCTURE. There is no competition. We compete with several individual services but none offer ONE STOP SOLUTION. Being the first to start outsourcing of these services via Internet, we have been able to control costs and offer quality at affordable prices. With our Pattern makers in India, USA and many other countries where we have TUKAcenters for design and development, we have experts in almost all areas. From SUITS for J.C.Penny to Dresses for Chico's, from outerwear for Patagonia to outdoors products for Woolrich, from sportswear for Rampage to many patterns for Kohl's, we cater to all products globally.
Published on: 26/07/2005
DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.
Fibre2Fashion has a diverse global readership, and delivers unique, authoritative and relevant content. Drawing on the expertise and credibility that we have built over the years and contextualising them with our in-depth research studies, we produce authentic news, articles, reports, interviews and interactive explainers through the F2F Magazine and compendiums, among others, which help readers stay abreast with the industry trends.