For effective garment project management, modern fashion companies need many skillsets to stay on top of their game. The pressure to deliver better clothing faster means improving their operational and supply chain efficiencies constantly. Here are a few tips:
1. Set KPIs
Before you can successfully execute a garment order, you need to ensure that you know where you are going, when you will get there, and how much it will cost. Ensure you set KPIs and milestones for the project from inception to review post-delivery. Digital dashboards can automate the process for you, keeping you on track while saving you time.
2. Catalogue Your Inspiration
During the first phases of development, the designers will hit the stores, trade shows, and catwalks for inspiration. They’ll take photos, create mood boards, and experiment. They may combine a few different styles from the past, incorporate embellishments and prints from garments they’d worked on a few seasons ago. Some designers pull in graphic designers to help them sketch their ideas to get a better feel for the style.
Unfortunately, these elements can get lost. Designers shelve ideas or follow different paths. That doesn’t mean the knowledge isn’t helpful and can’t be repurposed. When you are sent back to the literal drawing board, you might want to revisit your original train of thought.
Using a Style Builder tool, you can create libraries that catalogue all your components, embellishments, ideas, and prints. These can be cloned when creating a product line, and you can share your original inspiration with the broader team for additional inputs.
3. Use the Right Tools For the Job
Historical data is essential in every project, and the fashion industry is no exception. By digitizing your fabric and trim library, everyone can access information in a timeous and valuable manner. If you followed the first step, you could review colour and print trends from other designers and show more ideas. Your designer can drop the prints you select into CAD for feedback and collaboration with suppliers.
4. Practice Solid Time and Data Management
Data is also critical once the fabric has to be sourced. Cataloguing your existing and newly sourced fabric data sheets will save valuable time and effort. You’ll be able to view sample lead times, bulk minimum order quantities, bulk pricing and validity dates, and unique finishes and treatments available with the click of a button. This will help your team with budgeting and deadlines. The right tools will also enable you to set reminders and create schedules accordingly.
Project Managers work according to deterministic schedules – the fastest a project can be completed based on the delivery of various elements. If your project is based on prints being produced or fabric delivery, you can plan your deadlines according to when they will arrive.
5. Collaborate with Your Stakeholders
Your tech pack will become the blueprint of your garment. It will tell the factory everything from the fabric to use down to the colour of the thread to use in your sewing machines, where to hang labels and tags, and how to ship a garment.
Accuracy is key. Ensure that you and your suppliers are working from the same structured tech pack to manage all requests and approvals. Keep track of your RFQs, price negotiations and purchase orders to avoid delays and disputes.
6. Map the Entire Project in the Cloud For Cost Savings
When your designs and tech pack is out with the manufacturers, you should get preliminary costings once the photos are done. If the cost is out of line with your budget, keep the lines of communication open.
The beauty of collaboration is that you can work with your manufacturers to redesign a garment to fall within your budget. Don’t delay communication until the development stage or negotiate after sampling. If you cannot reach an agreement early, having a complete view of your project will make it easier to cut costs elsewhere.
7. Don’t Think Local
Pattern-making and manufacturing can be expensive. Thinking globally can give you access to multiple sustainable companies and talent from around the world. India has some of the best pattern-makers in the world at highly competitive rates. Digital tools make it easier to collaborate with companies from all over the world.
8. Have a Single Source of Truth
A single source of truth (SSOT) is vital when putting together a garment order. Your SSOT isn’t a system per se, but a state of being, ensuring that all your essential information is stored and can be found via a single reference point. During the entire design process, you’ll have garment designs, redesigns, adjustments, sample sizes, photo samples, production samples, and many other vital portions of information bandied between manufacturers, retailers, and marketers.
If even one person in the chain of information misses an email or works using the wrong version of a file, you could lose valuable time correcting the error. For effective project management of garment orders, keep your information up to date and use as few file-sharing apps and messaging tools as possible.
9. Quality and Compliance Checks
There are numerous quality and compliance checks to be followed during an order. Communicate and log every requirement. Ensure that all of your compliance certificates and other crucial information are stored in the cloud, where anyone you need can access it. Similarly, if any packing requirements and quality checks are to be carried out, ensure it’s documented and accessible to all. It’s not unusual for brands to receive chargebacks because they didn’t follow packing orders, which confuses the warehouse, slowing down the rankings and resulting in penalties.
10. Stay Agile
Successful fashion brands have to produce fashion faster, better, and more sustainably to gain an edge. Your processes, supply chain management, garment project management, and administration have to evolve to get to market quicker and more efficiently than the others. Automation, collaboration and access to information can give your business the edge it is looking for and help project management of your garment orders more effectively.
If you’ve ever wished you could have more hands-on-deck or more project managers to help you execute your garment orders, perhaps it’s time to invest in the right tools instead. Using Product Lifecycle Management Software can revolutionize how you manage your garment orders.
Set your goals and research how software can help you achieve them. You may be surprised at how much you can automate and improve upon by simply installing the right tools for the job.