London Fashion Workrooms (LFW) came to us because they needed to increase their manufacturing (processing) output and provide management information as to when customer's orders would be ready for delivery.
We undertook extensive systems analysis and worked closely with the management team at LFW to develop a Workflow Systems Management Application (WSMA) to provide this information. LFW's tailoring staff had previously worked on a salaried basis and one of the design goals of the WSMA was to introduce a 'piece-rate' payment model for their on-site tailoring staff to make working faster (whilst retaining quality) financially worthwhile.
In addition to the increase in staff productivity LFW expected to make gains in Management information; by computerising the processes LFW operators can login to the computer system and look at a particular clients item and determine where in the factory process the item is located and at what time the order will be fulfilled and despatched back the clothing store.
LFW is a tailoring company. They produce alterations for items of clothing (e.g. Trousers, Suits, Dresses etc). They operate from a location within the central London area.
Their clients are typically high-end London clothing shops. These shops sell an item to a customer and the customer will require some alteration to the item or items. LFW also deals with walk-in customers.
In order to best explain the developed application please browse the following screens which highlight the systems strengths.
The computer system runs on a server located at LFW’s premises. It is a webbased, browser based system, but is only available on the companies internal network. There are a number of terminals throughout the premises.
Manager terminals with run the application in a normal browser, allowing them to use other applications on their computers.
The use of browser based deployment means the application runs on lower-cost hardward, is centrally stored which means backup and security as well as upgrading the application is extremely easy.
A package that arrives at the factory is termed an Envelope (this is an LFW internal expression). An envelope maps to the package that arrives at the factory. It can contain one or more items of clothing. The envelope will be broken apart into its component items of clothing for alteration and be reformed and sent has a single package in Despatch at the other end of the factory.
The package/envelope is opened in the Booking In area of the factory. Here the envelope is hung on separate hangers – one per item of clothing. E.g. Skirt on one hanger, Jacket on another, Tie on another.
Each hanger has a Tag fixed to it. There are 1 to 5000 numbered Tags on hangers. Tag is another internal LFW term. Tags are the way that items are tracked around the factory. Once an item has been completed the Tag become available again to identify another item at a later date.
:This is the heart of the factory. Currently 8 - 16 or more tailors work in this area at any one time.Each tailor has his own desk. From here he walks to a Terminal and sign in (by pressing a Function Key, or by entering his initials and password). The system will immediately jump to his Daily Work Program (DWP).
The image on the left shows a typical DWP screen for a tailor. He can see all the tags that have alteration that he has been assigned too. Since some tags will have alterations that require special attention more than one tailor can be required to work on any particular tag. The booking in order and the tailor will himself know if one alteration must take place before another. The tailor will be able to scroll down the page and select a different Tag if this first one is in use by another tailor. Once a Tag is available he can drill down into the tag and see the full detail of what needs to be done to the item of clothing.
This area of the factory is where packages (Envelopes) are reformed from their various paths through the factory. They are checked for the quality of the work done. If necessary sent back onto the factory floor if the work is not of sufficient quality and finally logged and dispatched to the customer.
Once all the tags for an Envelope have arrived in the Quality Assurance and Dispatch area of the factory the item will be displayed as green. This means the Manager can look of those Tags and package them for the van to take it back to the client.
This colour coding system should be used throughout the system on items (red meaning important).
The system uses standard manufacturing ‘working weeks’. If the site calendar states that the factory is closed for any particular time/date then no work will be queued for that period. Tailors also have calendars and can control their available working hours so that jobs are not allotted to staff that cannot perform the required alterations within the required time.
The system contains various screens to manage and estimate tailor production and customer (client) management. These include default times for alterations e.g. these are used to calculate the work queues for each tailor until a tailor himself has done 10 of these alterations himself. The system records how long it actually takes the tailor to be better able to forecast how long it is going to take him. The use of the default or of the Tailors custom time is controlled from its own screen.
The system generates invoices for clients and payment totals for tailors. This is exported to the payroll software automatically for the correct payments to be made.
The History Section is a section that records all activity by time/date and user. This is non-editable and will provides a transaction record. This data can be used by management for further analysis of their business e.g. to determine which products provide the best ROI or trends in the industry.
We have show you some of the overall functions of the LFW system - it is a complete system that covers most aspects of the company's operations and we continue to work with the LFW team and have many plans to grow the system e.g. with a Customer facing module where the designer shops whose clothing is altered can log on to the LFW website and view their current items expected delivery times and past invoices and billing history.
The LFW workrooms system took 6 months from inital enquiry to first installation.
A company implementing a system such as LFWs can expect to see a massive improvement in terms of their operational efficiency and profitability as well as increased client and staff satisfaction and moral.
In order to determine how much a system like this will cost please use our Online quotation system.
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