WFSGI: World Manufacturers Forum Summary – Day 1
Moving on to a digital and automated business of the future.
Taking the theme ‘Moving on to a digital and automated business of the future,’ the fifth WFSGI World Manufacturers Forum kicked off with a glimpse into the future of robots and artificial intelligence.
Redesigning the apparel supply chain
“E-commerce is not eating retail; it’s crushing your supply chain,” is the view of Rajan Palaniswamy, chairman and CEO at SoftWear Automation. “That’s because you want shorter lead-times, you want zero inventory – but your supply chain is not geared for this.”
Instead, the reality is that in 200 years, lead times have got longer, thanks to offshoring for cheaper costs.
So how can your business become uncrushable? he asked. “The solution we propose is to create a local automated supply chain which gives shorter production cycles of 1-3 days (compared with global lead times of 12+ weeks). We call this ‘SewLocal’.
SoftWear Automation’s patented technology for a digital T-shirt workline has the potential to produce a T-shirt every 26 seconds using a combination of Sewbots, SewTables and Budgers, with one operator carrying out the work currently done by 10 in a traditional production line. A 60% increase in output is claimed, as is a 10% reduction in CO2 emissions per T-shirt. It also supports the zero inventory goal by enabling a manufacturer to start making a finished product only when an order is received
A local supply chain has to have comparable production or quality with an offshore supply chain, Palaniswamy explained, adding: “To be truly uncrushable you need a balanced supply chain catering to your different customer needs. It’s not all local or all global: you need both. You’re still going to have a lot of business that still operates the traditional way.
The T-shirt line is set to go into production in 2019; but all the technologies are already being deployed.
Read the full summary here.