Chinese clothing manufacturing recorded: intelligent, non-circumstances

- Mar 07, 2019-

 For a long time, we began to transform China's "manufacturing" into China's "intelligence." After shouting the "slogan" for many years, how much do we know about "intelligence"? What is the status quo of China's "intelligence"?

In fact, most companies have only a general understanding of smart manufacturing, and it is only a minority that can go deep into strategy and success.


Key features of "smart manufacturing"

So what exactly is "smart manufacturing"? The academic community and the industry have various concepts and nouns to interpret,

Take the apparel industry as an example. We often buy clothes at offline stores or e-commerce platforms. A version of a shirt usually has 4-5 sizes, about 4 different colors, so that one piece Shirts have a maximum of 20 options for customers to choose from. Manufacturers also need to schedule manufacturing, source raw materials, and produce according to these preset options.

In the era of intelligent manufacturing, customers will place orders directly to brand manufacturers through the Internet. Users can get accurate body size by inputting height, weight and some physical characteristics. At the same time, customers can also maximize the personal selection of collar, sleeve, pocket, version, threshold, embroidery and other configurations. Orders will go directly to the factory through ERP and will be produced and delivered to users in a short time. At the same time, customers can “try on” clothes that have not yet been produced in the digital world through Internet tools and VR technology. Each node is visible and customers can track production at any time after placing an order. Not only that, but the entire manufacturing process will no longer be completed by one vendor, but by a coordinated upstream and downstream “manufacturing alliance”.


Combined with the case, based on commonality, we can roughly summarize some key features of intelligent manufacturing:

1. From large-scale mass production to small individualized customized production (production flexibility);

2. Information transparency and rapid response (capacity digitization, process visualization, process Internetization);

3. From centralized production to coordinated production in different places (decentralization).


What is the final form? I am still not sure. After all, developing smart manufacturing is a long-term, gradual process. But there is one point to be certain: the cornerstone of smart manufacturing is to build an industrial Internet on a digital basis.

The bigger you do, the faster you die?

Around 2000, automated sewing machines, cutting machines, dyeing and other automated equipment began to be popularized in factories, and production efficiency increased rapidly. Along with the opening of China's foreign trade market, the days of the clothing factory relying on “foreign trade big orders” have been very moist.

Since 2005, the development of PC-side software and office software and hardware equipment has gradually improved. The factory has increasingly used IT solutions in the management process. Later, it has gradually combined with intelligent hanging, intelligent cutting, RFID and other hardware, and there has been a red collar. The pioneers of deep-renovation garment factories such as the Annunciation Birds, the stories of these reformists continue to this day.

The economic recovery after the financial turmoil in 2008 and the boom in domestic e-commerce have given survivors new opportunities: the fast fashion apparel supply chain represented by the wholesale market around 2013 has ushered in new prosperity.

During the decade from 2008 to 18, many factories shouted "transformation", which was actually "hunger and hunger": some were doing OEM, making profits on the surface of accessories, and some became the foundries of Amoy brand; some Directly to the "piracy" road.

Sino-US trade war, garment production returning to Europe, rising raw material prices, hard work, heavy taxation, environmental protection check.... Under the circumstance, it is really difficult to be a clothing manufacturing boss.


Consumers are changing, pursuing personalized consumption expression, and the mobile Internet has further narrowed the distance between brand owners and consumers, leading to the development of clothing in the direction of “fast iteration, small batch, multi-style”.

“In the past, an order of tens of thousands of items was normal. Now, many original designer brands that are just starting out, only one dozen or dozens of pieces. This list is not good.”

In the past, factories that made profits by scale could not maintain the balance of payments once the order volume fell.

In this context, the flexible supply chain that returns to the small workshop and small unit production mode has turned against the current trend, which has also spawned the “quick rejuvenation” represented by the “fast anti-factory” behind the wholesale stalls of the 13th line in Guangzhou. .

Guangzhou 13th Line is adjacent to Asia's largest fabric accessories market, Zhongda Fabric City, surrounded by a large number of “fast-reverse factories”. The stalls directly interface with these factories, from design, pattern making to production and delivery, average 3 The day is completed and will not exceed 10 days.

In this extreme supply chain, others can't copy your money, and basically no inventory, which is why the 13th line in the Chinese clothing industry can not stand.

The apparel supply chain wants to turn against the wind, and intelligence is a barrier that cannot be bypassed.

The design and development of apparel is a very cooperative work. A piece of clothing is often the result of numerous collective wisdom after the reintroduction. The communication cost is high in this process. Relying on the PLM R&D management system, Ju Niu Yun Factory systematically sets the design steps, pre-sets the approval personnel of each node, combines graphics and texts, communicates online, and efficiently collaborates, and can directly flow to the procurement and production links. The MDF commodity planning system can close the retail data, planning data and production progress to form a closed loop, and truly achieve sales by sales.

In the aspect of material management, through the MRP material management system, fast, intelligent (automatic) and accurate procurement can be realized, and the system can support multi-material/refueling BOM system.

In terms of actual production line management, the MES pipeline management system is undoubtedly a very important part. "To produce an ordinary cotton shirt, at least 54 processes are required. If a problem occurs in a small link, it will cause a big loss if it is not handled in time." A factory owner told us.

Entering the production process of the workshop, the data of each group will be collected into the MES system simultaneously, and the unique code can be traced throughout the entire process to reflect the quality of the production process (defective traceability and rework), cost (dynamic line balance and capacity efficiency), delivery time. (Public delivery, delay warning) and other issues, to achieve "factory transparency." “In the past, we only managed to get to and from the production line by hand, and now we have saved a lot of manpower and material resources,” the customer said.

Get rid of the "low-end" and also look at the mentality

Twenty years ago, apparel manufacturing quickly rose in the opportunities of the times, leaving the root cause of "big but not strong" and "opportunistic." Today, we began to reflect and start to upgrade and transform, and some companies have achieved initial results.

In the era of intelligent manufacturing, in addition to improving production efficiency, enterprises must break the connection limit between brand, consumer and manufacturing by driving data and technology, reshaping productivity and production relations with “consumer” as the core, and achieving high efficiency in industries. Collaborate and adapt to changing business models.

Since 2015, overcapacity has spread from the real estate industry, engineering equipment industry, and steel industry to apparel and textile manufacturing.


“The non-standard nature of the fashion industry leads to the coexistence of high inventory and out-of-stock situations. The fundamental way to solve the problem lies in accurate and fast supply of goods. Enterprises should not only focus on internal management, but also urgently transform the supply chain, focusing on retail terminals and The connection of consumers." Prophet first, in 2016, Regent Software officially launched the transition from traditional ERP to industrial Internet service providers.

“The cloud supply chain opens up the information flow and business flow of each node in the supply chain in a low-cost and high-efficiency manner, and realizes the efficient distribution of production capacity and raw materials through real-time reflow of actual supply chain data, and finally completes the production with process as the core. Reshaping the supply relationship.” At the Regent Software Financing and Internet Strategy Conference held in December, Jiang Xudong was proud to introduce the “cloud supply chain” to the industry elite and venture capital coffee.

It is undeniable that until today, more than 80% of the garment manufacturers in the industry maintain their traditional thinking. In the investigation, we found that there are still a large number of enterprises relying on "manual operation" and "human advancement" to maintain the operation of the factory, and like to "shoot the head" to complete the adjustment and command of business operations.

In the new manufacturing era of “small single quick reversal”, this “all-experienced” mode of operation has long been out of date: First, orders become smaller and smaller, delivery time is short, order quotation, workers' wages are difficult to measure; Second, category styles Increased, face and accessories management and design and development difficulties are upgraded; Third, the outward dependence is increasingly obvious, but the system management efficiency of the outbound factory is low.

The “cloud supply chain” is an easy-to-deploy, high-efficiency, low-cost transformation. “As long as a small unique code is added to the clothes, all the data can be summarized to the management staff in real time, helping us to realize the pre-warning and intelligent management of delay warning, over-alarming, and transfer time-out alarm. Even if I sit In the office, you can also use your mobile phone to check the production progress of each piece of clothing," said one factory owner.

In Jiang Xudong's view, the future manufacturing will link the upstream and downstream of the supply chain, retail terminals, logistics and warehousing, consumer services and other aspects, and through the establishment of digital models, the integration of artificial intelligence and big data, to enhance the demand supply and delivery experience to New height.

From “manufacturing” to “intellectual creation”, Chinese apparel companies can go further and better.


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