A Smarter Apparel Factory

“H ONE, THE IT ARM OF HIDARAMANI GROUP, WANTS TO MAKE DATA ACCESSIBLE FROM THE C-SUITE DOWN TO THE SHOP FLOOR”

Robotic sewing machines are still a long way off. Automation may signify an impending doom for most manufacturing jobs, but in the making of clothes, machines are not yet a match against the dexterity and nimbleness of human hands.

“We are in an industry where the man-to-machine ratio is one-to-one,” says Samath Fernando, chief of H One, the IT arm of one of the country’s largest apparel manufacturers, Hirdaramani Group. Labour intensity is an embedded facet of the apparel industry. With fully automated factories in the likes of automobile and aerospace industries far out in the horizon, apparel manufacturing companies have ventured into the domains of supply chain efficiency and labour productivity enhancements.

H One recently launched a product, RES.Q, that digitizes quality inspection records. Its aim is to increase the cut-to-ship ratio, an indicator that represents losses incurred from the point of fabric cutting to final shipment, to the retailer. The average cut-to-ship ratio of local apparel firms is 98%. “For a $4.billion industry, that is a loss incurred in millions,” says Fernando.

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