India: Gerber Technology helps apparel manufacturers solidify their cutting room operations
Apparel industry works on one simple principle: intelligently reduce the cost of operation to improve profitability. However, it depends on the apparel manufacturers’ willingness as to how they can effectively step up in order to reduce the cost, improve efficiency and provide the desired quality to their customers. Automation is the solution and Gerber Technology, a USbased technology provider of highly flexible and automated cutting solutions, is serving the purpose of the industry since long. Recently the company participated in GTE, Bangalore in association with its Indian dealer IIGM and garnered attention of visitors not just for automation, but also to know the actual direction of the industry especially in Bangalore and how Gerber can help them improve to sustain for a longer term. “By integrating cutting rooms with software systems, the chances of error and cost per human input can be minimised,” quoted Sajith Kumar, Vice President, IIGM.
Since cutting room is one of the most important areas in an apparel manufacturing unit, cost can be and should be controlled to the maximum in this area only rather than waiting for the cut pieces to go on the sewing floor and then putting enormous efforts in cost saving. According to Sajith, Gerber educates the apparel industry a lot apart from providing them automated cutters and, therefore, the traditional way of working is getting obsolete gradually.“CAD was basically a two- dimensional solution and everybody used to say that pattern designing, grading, marker making, automatic nesting and saving fabric were the only roles it plays. Now, the customers are thinking one step ahead in planning which means when an order comes in, the cutting room distributes size ratios to make multiple marker not after buying the fabric, but before they buy the fabrics as our customers are realising that there is no point in buying the fabric first and then saving it,” asserted Sajith.
Explaining a key technical point, Sajith further added that notches are very important guiding factors for the sewing process. “If you have an internal or external notch, you will not be able to have zero buffer against touching an adjacent piece. But, Gerber Technology is intelligently handling it with its Accumark software and it's called ‘dynamic buffering’,” explained Sajith. When a pattern is made, a little bit of dynamic buffer is given either on one side or the other ( based on the quality requirement) and then it goes to the auto nesting and will generate an efficient marker for automatic cutting without compromising quality in critical pieces.
Markedly, a lot of changes are happening in product development too and GERBER PLM is the best example of this. Most of the customers are looking to streamline their concept to pre- production digitisation and this adaptation is termed as ‘embracing the digital reality’ by Gerber. Sajith elaborates that advancements in PLM are helping the users to secure and organise the digital designs in such a way that they can retrieve and use them at the later stages or use the past information for future. “Previously, the data was kept in distorted filing structure, but now Gerber has solution to collaborate between Adobe illustrators and Corel Draw. Also, merchandisers mostly use Microsoft Excel which has also been upgraded to PLM forms,” boasted Sajith. According to him, Gerber’s YuniquePLM helps companies work at a faster pace than ever before and have control of the full product development process from concept to production.
However, technology and innovations have always been there. The thing is who is showing interest in it and how Gerber is convincing the customers to invest in its products. Bangalore is one such city in India which is not very reluctant when it comes to adopting technology. “When we look at our business in India, it's not that bad as it is perceived and talked about in the market. Business is growing actually as far as Gerber is concerned,” said an optimistic Sajith.
Notably, though exporters are shifting towards remote areas, cutting needs skilled manpower and acute shortage of skilled masters is always there in new locations. “Since the business is moving to the surrounding areas, relocation of skilled manpower is somehow difficult and so this scenario is actually helpful for Gerber as people are looking for more automation not just from fabric saving point of view but also in terms of productivity and consistency of cutting,” commented Sajith.
It’s worth noting here that Gerber sold 25+ cutters in India in 2017 out of which 60 per cent cutters were sold in South India alone. “The number of cutters we are selling has not fallen since last 6 years and we are hopeful to increase our customers’ base in 2018,” concluded Sajith.
Sajith Kumar, (3rd from right), Vice President, IIGM with his team. Sajith believes Gerber’s customer base will increase in 2018