Garment industry is becoming increasingly competitive by the day. To stay ahead of the pack, we need to ensure we can offer our customers the best possible quality in the least possible costs. To achieve this optimal cost and quality balance, we need to identify and eliminate redundant activities from our garment manufacturing process.
One such redundancy is the fabric inspection system. The fabric is first inspected in the mill, and then again in our factory to ensure its quality. But do we need to conduct this inspection twice, or, can we trust our supplier for the quality promised and carry on with our process, without inspecting it again ourselves?
Starting with the basics here, we need to find reliable suppliers, quality of whose product we can trust without inspection. Such supplier relationships don’t come easy and overnight; it takes time and efforts from both the parties. To go that extra mile, we can indulge in conducts like profit sharing with the supplier, entering long term contracts with suppliers, ensuring prompt payments to them, etc. to make sure they maintain the quality standards we expect and pay them for.
Choosing the right suppliers
Before building a sound supplier relationship, choice of the right supplier is the primary factor. There are certain considerations that can help us in making this choice:
- At Factory Level:We can start with a grading system, especially for our fabric suppliers, based on the past inspection data. Say for instance, you receive a certain fabric from one of your suppliers. Then you can start by inspecting and grading that fabric, from that particular supplier over a period of time. Based on this data, we can go for an overall supplier grading. The process can be understood as:
- At Global Level: If all of our suppliers are following one standard inspection system, then our need to re-inspect reduces to a huge extent. So what we need is to follow a standard inspection system, which is followed for and by all our suppliers, and agreed upon by our buyers. The 4-point and the 10-point inspection systems are widely followed in the industry
- At Buyer level: Independent form the previous two methods, when searching for a new supplier, we can look for our buyer’s nominated suppliers. This reduces the factory’s need for inspection, as the suppliers are already attested by the buyer
Grading your supplier, knowing your supplier, knowing what quality to expect from the supplier is a big step towards elimination of inspection in your factory altogether. Inspection is costly and a time taking process, and any time and money saved in the process is going to add up to your bottom line. So start grading your suppliers, choosing the right ones, building strategic relationships with them, and then gradually eliminate the inspection process from your factory altogether.