How to shun late shipment of products and avoid penalties? Let’s start with fabric manufacturers’ and apparel exporters’ advice. Fabric delivery delays that result in air shipping of garment export orders are a nightmare for both fabric suppliers and the unlucky apparel exporter. Supply Chain Management The integrity of the garment industry is strongly reliant on timely fabric supply. Even yet, most fabric and garment makers run into this problem now and then, leading to purchasers demanding that the product be shipped by air, or worse, canceling the transaction and charging a heavy penalty. This article will share more ideas on how to shun late shipment of products and avoid penalties. Keep reading.
The expense of shipping by air is excessively high. One air shipment can wipe out the profit from numerous additional orders, resulting in increased profits for air freight businesses! The cost of air freight can often be as much as 40% to 50% of the cost of the clothing. Furthermore, all three participants in this supply chain—the fabric supplier, the garment exporter, and the buyer—have a strained relationship, making future business difficult. Is there a failsafe answer?
After many years of working in the textile industry in Asia and the Far East, and witnessing hundreds of incidents of late shipments and timely shipments, I was able to identify a more or less well-defined pattern that predicts whether a fabric shipment will arrive on time or late.
Most intriguingly, fate is chosen sometimes at the order’s finalization and, in other circumstances, during the order’s development. Unlike common assumptions, the earlier an issue arises, the more difficult it is to manage timely delivery.
In many respects, each textile fabric order goes through a lengthy and distinct procedure. Here are a few examples:
* Almost every item is produced to order, according to the customer’s individual needs, which vary from order to order, even for the same product.
* Raw material specifications change over time. The same process/methods/technical circumstances may not always provide the same outcome.
* Quality approvals for numerous factors, such as colors, hand-feel, surface appearance, and so on, are frequently subjective and conditional.
* The behavior of textiles within even the most contemporary machines cannot always be predicted, and outcomes may vary owing to even the smallest change in the internal and external ambiance, even within the same process control route.
How to shun late shipment of products and avoid penalties?
These are just a few of the issues that might throw an order out of whack, necessitating revisions and re-processing, which can cause delivery delays. The list goes on and on and is far too extensive for this post to cover. However, a few quality safeguards may assure minimal variances throughout the way, as well as reduced resource and time waste on both sides. As a consequence, deliveries are made on time and costs are reduced. Here’s a rundown of each crucial stage:
1. Placement of Fabric Orders – The Most Crucial Stage
Fabric, like buttons, labels, and interlining, is considered a raw material component by many clothes merchandisers. The fabric is THE most significant and intricate component, which should be taken into account. Even with only a week’s notice, a faulty button or thread can be replaced. It’s quite tough to fix or replace a faulty cloth in such a short amount of time. The fabric maker, on the other hand, should have a clinical understanding of the demand.
A fabric order is often concluded by a field sales representative or a sales manager and then placed by an apparel merchandiser or a fabric buy manager without first reviewing the feasibility and all other criteria with the production point. That is a surefire recipe for tragedy. Only the order should be taken by a fabric manufacturer if everything, including the delivery lead time, appears to be doable.
Customers are not guinea pigs for research, and the consequences of poorly managed orders hurt everyone. It is advisable to decline orders that cannot be taken with 100 percent assurance. Buyers admire suppliers who decline orders with which they are uncomfortable.
The importance of price quotes cannot be overstated. Traditional costing methods are outdated and should only be used as a guideline. Pricing should also be determined in accordance with market prices for a given quality. When the volume is big or the potential is exciting, it’s best to offer a competitive rate and cut expenses by increasing efficiency and improving RFT (Right First Time), which determines the real prices in most circumstances.
Before adding a supplier to their vendor list, the fabric purchasing agency/buyer should undertake an audit of the fabric production facility based on their requirements. The following are some key audit points:
- The fabric production unit’s quality policy/accreditation.
- Testing lab, including color matching system, color dispenser, fabric pilling tester, fastness tester, strength meter, and abrasion resistance meter, as well as a documentation system.
- Infrastructure and capabilities for creating pre-production samples.
- Sample presentation and labeling quality
- ERP management capabilities.
- Machines and general shop-floor cleanliness.
- Order process flow documentation, from pre-order through completing and packaging.
In general, a recognized Quality Assurance Certification, such as ISO 9000-2000, addresses the above issues, however, in certain circumstances, the system is followed more on paper than in practice. A good buyer’s audit should be able to see through the flaws and provide confidence that they will be fixed.
The Next Most Critical Stage is the Fabric Manufacturing Plan
Several orders would be under progress at any given moment. PPC (Production Planning & Control) is extremely important. Many times, I’ve seen changes in production plans implemented at the request of those at the top, without regard for the negative consequences of such actions. This method, which does not evaluate the whole impact, is inept and should be avoided.
3. Plan for Raw Materials
The cheapest raw material may not be sufficient to preserve the company’s interests. However, in many cases, either to save money or to make more money, raw material quality is sacrificed, resulting in low manufacturing efficiency, sub-standard output, re-processing, delays, quality complaints, and ultimately a loss to everyone, not to mention order cancellations or penalties imposed by buyers.
4. Process Management
In order to save money, many textile producers modify the process control settings without first ensuring quality. As a result of the undesired output, there will be delays and quality claims. Textile fibers are extremely delicate, and even a minor adjustment in the processing procedure might result in drastically different results.
It’s also crucial to have a well-maintained record of all process conditions for the various results obtained.
5. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP): The Business Navigator
In the long term, ERP-based management pays off. It saves a lot of time and money by preventing costly mistakes, delays in shipments, increased follow-ups, and a robust documentation basis.
Fortunately, Indian textile businesses see the value of ERP, however, progress must be made faster.
6. Internal Communication—An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure
Everyone involved in the sales process should read and follow the documentation obtained from the customer for compliance with the sales process guidelines. Fabric samples for proto-garments, sales samples, correlation test yardages, and other purposes are vitally important, and deadlines are strictly adhered to. Late deliveries are less likely when these points are well-managed by a competent workforce. This necessitates impenetrable internal communication among all departments involved.
7. Maintaining Trust and Relationships Through External Communication
Last but not least, in the textiles industry, an open and trustworthy exchange of contact with clients is essential. I’ve seen it numerous times when, if an order goes wrong, the production side refuses to notify the consumer for fear of upsetting the buyer. In reality, such “quiet” makes the customer more concerned.
Despite taking all measures, things may and will go wrong in the manufacture of textile materials. In such instances, it is advisable to notify the customer as soon as possible and give an alternate choice.
Yes, being upfront with clients when a calamity occurs takes a lot of guts and love on the part of the business. But, at the end of the day, integrity builds a link of trust, which is essential in today’s difficult business environment.
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