Monday, October 1, 2012
Indian apparel exporters going Lean
Indian apparel exporters are forced to adopt to lean manufacturing model due to the demands of European importers. European apparel importers have reduced their order-to-delivery time from 12-15 weeks to 7-8 weeks in order to reduce inventory on their end.
What is Lean Manufacturing? Lean Manufacturing is a production practice derived from Toyota Production System. The principle of lean manufacturing is that; spending of resources for anything other than value creation for the customers is a waste and has to be eliminated. Value creation depends on whether customer is willing to pay for a particular action or process.
Lean Manufacturing has two main concepts; Just-in-Time(JIT) and automation. Toyota approach ensures less or no inventory; effort is more concentrated on what customer values the most. Automation is achieved by human touch; where humans wouldn’t participate in the normal production but focus on abnormalities or faults.
Lean Manufacturing principle improved efficiency, increased profit, reduced time and cost and there always is room for improvement. Owing to its tremendous success many organizations and industries had adopted Toyota philosophy.
To meet the deadlines kept by European buyers and retailers; Indian apparel producers have adapted to ‘Lean Manufacturing’. This led to reduce in waste, increase efficiency and margins.
Mr Amit Gugnani- Senior Vice-President at Technopak, a consultancy that guides the textile industries in adopting these principles says, “In the Indian apparel sector, the gradual increase in operating and material costs is putting strains on profits. In this situation, application of lean could be a greatest weapon to make breakthrough towards maintaining the profitability and sustainability ” 
Implementing the Lean Principle alone wouldn’t be enough. There should be an established organization that supports continuous improvement. A Kaizen team has to be created. Mr Gautama Chakravarti – Chairman of one of the biggest clothing exporter from India reveals that “A ‘Kaizen Promotion’ team was created and trained to address business problem solving using ‘Kaizen’ methodology across different units of the company.”
Lean Implementation is followed across industries as well. Food service operators are applying the approach to their operations. Due to adopting this principle; a particular operator eliminated waste by 40%; labor cost by 15%, service times improved by one-thrid and sales increased by 5%. This led to employees spending time influencing customers.
Can you think of a small business/ industry that could benefit from Lean Manufacturing?
Do you know any industry that has impacted from adopting to Lean Production process?