Production delays represent one of the largest financial black holes in the fashion and garment industry. Each year they cost brands and retailers over US$634 billion as well as strain resources, lose business for suppliers and vendors, and damage business partnerships.
Yunus Textile Mills, one of Pakistan’s leading textile exporters with an annual turnover of US$1.5 billion, has successfully deployed Inspectorio’s Tracking platform for quality management to solve the challenge of production delays. Yunus has been in operation since 1962, and today supplies many of the largest retail brands in North America and Europe with responsibly sourced, high-quality bedding products.
In a webinar hosted by Diego Pienknagura, Vice President of Growth and Global Operations at Inspectorio, and Muhammad Aijazuddin, who was Assistant Manager of Export Marketing at Yunus, discuss Yunus’ experience with Inspectorio Tracking and answers audience questions on how production tracking software has revolutionized the company’s ability to prevent delays and boost efficiency.
The impact of production delays
Beyond the immediate impact on company ledgers, production delays wreak insidious, long-term damage.
For brands and retailers, the reduced cash flow and lost sales are immediately followed by a need to stockpile greater inventory. This increases risk because stockpiling current products may not align with changing consumer demand, as we saw during the pandemic, and can affect competitiveness.
Vendors face their own unique set of damages. Production delays lead to a cascade of backlogged orders and a constant fear of losing buyers. Factory floor employees are overworked and the number of audits increases, creating fatigue and poor morale across the company.
Yunus’ strategic production delay solution
Because the costs of production delays are so significant, Aijazuddin says Yunus employed a strategic approach.
He said their first step was to set standard workflows and production processes and then to ensure that those processes are optimized. The only way to do this effectively was to adopt a complete, end-to-end supply chain management (SCM) system.
In choosing an SCM, Aijazuddin suggested focusing on its attributes and the pain points it addresses. “Supplier management is very important,” he says in the webinar. “We have to know where our suppliers are procuring the materials and raw materials from, and that it’s managed properly and certified by the appropriate organizations.” Inspectorio’s Sight platform helps Yunus coordinate the different aspects of production and supply, from raw materials to shipping the finished goods.
Aijazuddin then mentions digitalization. Because Yunus serves customers around the globe, a fully digital production-tracking solution with real-time analytics and data sharing is the only way to offer true transparency and oversight. Manufacturers and vendors like Yunus are closest to the end-product and to defects along the product journey, so it’s extremely important for them to be able to manage their inventory efficiently and predictably.
The discussion turned to the way COVID-19 underscored the importance of inventory forecasting, which allows companies to be more proactive than reactive in their stocking, and the fact that many vendors shed orders over the past year due to a lack of in-house inventory.
The revolutionary power of a centralized tracking platform
Of all the SCM features that Yunus has leveraged, Aijazuddin says that having a real-time, centralized production-tracking platform has been the most revolutionary.
When Yunus began using Inspectorio’s SCM, users weren’t even aware that they were using a cohesive platform — they were still working through a backlog of Excel spreadsheets, which made it difficult or impossible to handle data and to use it to make decisions.
Real-time data has become indispensable to Yunus over the past two years. In the past, Aijazuddin says it was difficult to locate a specific inspection report when needed. However, quick access to data and the platform’s tracking information makes this task trivial; he can view inspection reports for the past six months with a few clicks and provide timely answers to customers’ questions.
Digitalization makes the same data and analysis available across the supply chain, which allows decision-makers to pinpoint key issues and take the appropriate actions. The Yunus team updates milestones in real-time — no more waiting for the email or phone call to arrive. By centralizing and increasing the accuracy of data with Inspectorio, Yunus enables their stakeholders to address quality issues more effectively.
It's no surprise that more than 90 percent of respondents to a 2022 McKinsey survey of supply chain leaders worldwide report that they invested in digital supply chain technologies in the past year.
8 steps to a culture of supply chain efficiency
Based on Aijazuddin’s experiences, there are eight clear best practices for nurturing a culture of production-delay prevention within your supply chain:
1. Set KPIs
Setting clear, effective key performance indicators (KPIs) allows you to deliver results on time. Choose KPIs that clarify when processes are working and when they aren’t — this will help your employees get things done in the best way possible.
2. Ensure technical competence
Empower your employees to perform well by giving them the proper training materials, SCM technical tools, and more opportunities to take responsibility and make decisions.
3. Practice the ‘Four Cs’
Aijazuddin stresses the importance of practicing the Four Cs with your workforce:
- Consistent (reliable behavior and structure)
- Competent (high level of knowledge and ability)
- Concerned (empathy and kindness)
- Committed (dedicated to employee and customer excellence)
4. Sales & operations planning and execution
Understand the demands of your supply chain and prepare to be alerted about issues in real-time. Use these learnings to optimize the supply chain.
5. Nurture leaders
Bringing hardworking, diligent leaders to your teams sets an example for employees. From lower-level teams to upper management, you need solid leaders to lead cross-department projects.
6. Develop a minimum viable product (MVP)
Your MVP is a prototype that fulfills requirements in a simple fashion. By releasing it to focus groups or select customers, you can gather the proper feedback to help steer development. Invest in your MVP to focus your product-building efforts in the right direction.
7. Eager learners
Find eager learners in your teams to be responsible for gathering product feedback and ensuring your final product aligns with customers’ needs.
8. Sharing is caring
Sharing data is the first step toward transparency with your customers. By keeping all your data on a centralized platform that analyzes it autonomously, you set yourself up for transparency and rapid response to customer questions.
Questions from the audience
The following questions were posed by the webinar audience to Muhammad Aijazuddin:
Q: How often do you update your customers with container tracking information?
A: Inspectorio Tracking provides real-time data, tracks progress for different milestones, and provides the interlink in one platform. You need to keep the customer informed, so update the information at least once a week.
Q: Our existing ERP system is working well for me. Is it possible to integrate with Inspectorio and access data analytics?
A: Inspectorio could integrate with your existing systems to reduce manual workload and make the work much easier. It depends on whether you are talking about inspection, compliance audits, or tracking production milestones. Those can all be done through the Inspectorio system. That ensures data consistency, workflow standardization, and accurate collection and exporting of data. But if you need different information, Inspectorio can also export those data to other systems.
- What resources or techniques for teaching or improving team’s work habits do you use?
- Could you summarize the importance of digitalization provided by Inspectorio’s solutions?
Watch the full webinar to hear Aijazuddin’s responses to these questions and more.
Find out how you can improve on-time delivery performance with Inspectorio Tracking.