How Properly Leveraging Technology Helps Maintain Profitability in Rapidly Shifting Global Landscape
Updated: Aug 19, 2020
2020 thus far has challenged sewn goods manufacturers in ways that may have been previously unimaginable. First, the pandemic closed down factories, reduced access to raw materials and sparked wide-spread order cancellations. Then, manufacturers that had the capacity to pivot, shifted production to personal protective equipment (PPE). Now, as manufacturers are evaluating how to move forward, one thing is certain: technology is essential to the industry’s ability to adapt to rapid change and to thrive in a competitive business climate.
Unfortunately, many sewn goods manufacturers have been slow to adopt to the technology that would enable efficiency and productivity in their plants. The world of textile manufacturing is ever-changing. Trends and styles are constantly evolving year after year, yet many manufacturers around the world still find themselves using pencil and gummed sheets and keeping track of daily production on white boards or outdated software systems that just can’t keep up with the pace of the twenty-first century.
At Exenta, we’ve continued to invest in the development of our Shop Floor Control solution, bringing needed efficiency and productivity boosts to our clients in the industry. Shop Floor Control software offers apparel and soft goods manufacturers the ability to boost output and increase flexibility, all while creating a safer work environment for employees. Companies that don’t have modern manufacturing execution systems lack important checks and balances in their operational processes and struggle to track work in process accurately. As a result, many impactful decisions are made on the production floor by operators, carrying the likelihood of mistakes and errors that can cost manufacturers time and money. Companies that implement a shop floor control solution can track machine up and downtime, identify and manage quality control, and deliver worker performance feedback, all of which help increase productivity and profitability by streamlining data collection processes and providing actionable intelligence
Manufacturing execution systems like Exenta’s Shop Floor Control also contribute greatly to the safety and wellbeing of operators and others on the factory floor. Because workers access the system via an Android tablet and app, the system can support a contactless WIP tracking process. Only one worker touches each tablet, reducing contact points for viral transmission on the factory floor. Recently, an Exenta Shop Floor Control customer utilized the functionality of the system’s worker identification QR codes, in combination with inventory management features of Exenta ERP, to set up contactless ordering and payment in the factory’s cafeteria, supporting the company’s need to maintain social distancing while still operating as normally as possible in areas where the pandemic is spiking. The aforementioned example is a perfect illustration of how powerful and flexible technology can be an organization’s best ally in challenging times.
In a time when every manufacturer needs maximum productivity from operators and when operators are also experiencing the impact of global economic contraction in their personal lives, shop floor control technology has the ability to make a difference. Incentive pay for heightened worker productivity is an effective way to speed up work on important orders and also provide the feedback operators need to maximize their earnings. However, an effective implementation of a performance pay program is dependent upon giving manufacturers flawless real-time access to operator performance metrics. Exenta customers enjoy access to an incentive pay system that is easy to implement and, more importantly, easy for end-users to navigate.
In addition to rewarding strong employee performance, shop floor control solutions can help lower absenteeism by giving managers easy access to time and attendance information. Reviewing patterns of absenteeism can help managers recognize both workers and stations who are underperforming, as well as workstations which may be overburdened by either a lack of workers or too many temporary workers. This data can help managers recognize where additional workers and/or training may be necessary to maximize productivity.
On average, manufacturers who adopt solutions like Exenta’s Shop Floor Control experience an increase in output of 37%, delivering them a fast ROI. With the increased efficiency that Exenta Shop Floor creates, manufacturers also become more apt to pivot during extenuating circumstances. 2020 saw many manufacturers switching to the production of masks and other PPE, and the companies who were the fastest at making these switches reaped the biggest benefits. Furthermore, during times of crisis, when shortages of goods (such as masks) are widespread, production efficiency and speed become ever more important. Shopfloor control technology can also be an asset in times of supply chain disruption. Manufacturers can more easily transition production from one factory to another or ramp up production in a new facility more quickly.
While many providers to the industry may have experienced decreased demand for their solutions due to the anticipated impact of the pandemic on apparel and sewn goods manufacturing, at Exenta we experienced the opposite as clients asked to speed up implementations to accelerate their access to essential productivity tools. In fact, through the expertise of an implementation team that collectively brings hundreds of years of experience to client onboarding, we were able to bring several clients live virtually during these unprecedented times.
At Exenta, even as our marketplace faces some initial contraction as a result of the pandemic, we’ve continued to invest in and develop our technology because we recognize the importance solutions like ours will play in the survival of sewn goods manufacturers. The newest release of our solution brings both managers and factory workers the best working experience possible. We’ve recently rolled out a new, powerful interface and improved management dashboards, and manufacturers can utilize our cutting edge MES solution more effectively than ever before.
Our improved management dashboards replace outdated in-factory whiteboards and allow access to vital production data in real-time, from any location. Our newest release also includes a robust seasonal planning tool that will be invaluable to our customers as demand continues to gain momentum in future quarters. As the most modern, end-to-end provider of supply chain manufacturing technology, Exenta’s productivity tools extend beyond the shop floor to include ERP, PLM, Innovation Lifecycle Management, Vendor Portal and Warehouse Management solutions.
The pandemic has really exposed the weakest links in the textile and sewn goods manufacturing supply chain. There’s no question that the adoption of technology like shop floor control is the only way forward for manufacturers seeking to weather the current global storm and emerge on the other side as a strong, viable player in the industry. To learn more about how shop floor technology can transform your operations, download this white paper on workforce optimization for the fashion and sewn goods industry.
Exenta is the pioneer in global, cutting-edge, transformative ERP, PLM, Innovation Lifecycle Management and Shop Floor Control solutions designed specifically for the fashion, apparel, footwear, accessory and home goods industries. Exenta is positioned to be a single solution partner for brands and manufacturers in every stage of business maturity and can support multiple languages and currencies. Exenta delivers high touch, 24/7 service to over 40,000 happy users of our solutions in 14 countries around the globe.
Engineered and developed by a team of experts in the fashion, apparel and manufacturing industries, Exenta offers deep domain expertise in design, sales, production, sourcing, warehouse management, Shopfloor, EDI, omnichannel and finance. With implementation support that continues long after the go-live date, Exenta continually shares best practices developed over years of experience and works with clients to adopt change and increase accuracy and efficiency, both through the use of Exenta solutions and in processes that go beyond the software to improve and accelerate operations. To learn more visit www.exentago.com.