Client
The China general manager of a medium-sized apparel company sought solutions to improve quality control of their contract manufacturers and visibility across the supply chain.
Challenge
Quality assurance was a consistent pain point for a mid-sized European brand. Improving quality had been a priority for several years; however, their contract manufacturers were too small to explore new solutions independently. They needed to support their manufacturers in adopting digital technology to improve quality and contain costs related to product recalls. Yet any solutions that were adopted had to be simple to install and use and cost-effective to deploy in small facilities. A secondary challenge was to improve visibility across the supply chain. This began with submitting design files to suppliers and collaborating to convert them into production instructions. It ended with goods delivery from China to Europe and back-tracking to specific lots in the case of product defects.
Objectives
Approach
IoT ONE began conducting a high-volume analysis of technology adoption case studies in the apparel industry and in similar industries that include manual batch production. This analysis highlighted a set of use cases that were well-tested by similar companies. Next, we assess the landscape of suppliers in China for these use cases. It was important to identify suppliers with sufficient maturity to control risk, yet there was also a preference for working with SMEs since they tended to provide more affordable solutions and a higher service level for small manufacturers. A series of workshops were hosted with the China management team to support the prioritization of case studies and suppliers. During these workshops, IoT ONE also addressed operational questions related to technology infrastructure, workforce training, and ownership of assets and data for solutions deployed by our client on the production sites of their contract manufacturers.
  • Conduct a high-volume analysis of technology adoption case studies in the apparel industry and in similar industries.
  • Assess the landscape of suppliers in China for these use cases to identify mature yet affordable suppliers.
  • Host a series of workshops with the China management team to support the prioritization of case studies and suppliers.
  • Address operational questions related to technology infrastructure, training, and ownership of assets and data.
Result
  • During management workshops, 11 operational improvements related to quality assurance and supply chain visibility were identified, assessed, and prioritized for deeper investigation.
  • Seven use cases were prioritized for consideration by management based on solution maturity and expected payback period. Between two to three local vendors were identified for each use case and RFIs were issued to begin the vendor evaluation process.
  • Management signed off on investment in four proof of concept projects to validate technical feasibility and operational results.

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