Overcoming the challenge of improving product quality while increasing production performance is revolutionizing every area of apparel retailing and manufacturing. Mobile platforms are leading the revolution in inspections, quality, and compliance workflows by making a richer, real-time data stream available for the first time from the shop floor to the top floor. They’re fueling a new type of supplier ecosystem, one that thrives on real-time insights and quality-driven analytics that deliver the knowledge needed for accomplishing quality and performance gains at the same time.

Mobile Inspections Are Digitally Transforming Apparel Retailing & Manufacturing

The key to succeeding at digitally transforming any manufacturing business is to put the customer at the center first. Starting with goals, roadmaps and what success look like needs to be based on customers’ expectations and standards for quality and speed. It’s the fuel that drives manufacturers succeeding at digital transformation to make the change permanent. The urgency to excel for customers is what keeps the most competitive, fastest growing apparel retailing and manufacturing companies on top of their game, always improving quality and time-to-market.

Mobile inspections are delivering a rich, real-time data stream that enables quality and compliance ecosystems to thrive globally. They’re also delivering new insights that enable manufacturers to become more efficient, transparent and productive. The following are the five ways mobile inspections accelerate quality and improve production performance:

  1. Mobile inspections and the real-time data stream they provide are the foundation of digitally transforming apparel manufacturing. The first step to making quality changes in any production center permanent needs to begin with a reliable, real-time data stream. By providing inspectors with a scalable mobile platform, the core manufacturing processes of cutting, sewing and finishing can be continually monitored, and any anomalies in product quality immediately discovered. Attaining Right First Time Quality levels and reducing the Cost of Poor Quality are attainable in any digital transformation strategy when customers are always kept at the center.
  2. Mobile inspections enable real-time collaboration and communication between suppliers, vendors, and retailers further improving quality and production performance. The VP of Operations for a west-coast based apparel manufacturer says that real-time collaboration and communication increased scheduling accuracy by 52%, improved inventory levels 48% and improved production plan performance 40%. Knowing the outcomes of inspections per lot, designs and products also made it possible to streamline and make inventory reconciliation more efficient. The VP also mentioned that real-time data from inspections also helped to find which machines were slowing down production and in need of further fine-tuning and preventative maintenance. 
  3. Mobile inspections are helping apparel manufacturers more quickly find out why certain fabrics, production methods, and items drive higher-than-average scrap levels and rejected items. Inbound data from inspections is being aggregated and also analyzed in real-time to determine which factors most contribute to high scrap and reject rates and why specific processes including cutting, sewing, and finishing lead to rejected garments. The dataset generated from mobile inspections is invaluable in tracking quality performance for apparel retailers and manufacturers across their entire production and supplier networks.
  4. Combining mobile inspections’ real-time monitoring with the trending data aggregated from months of mobile inspections creates a roadmap for passing compliance audits. The highest-performing apparel retailers and manufacturers have engrained internal audits into their DNA. It’s core to who they are, and the insights they gain are revolutionizing every aspect of their compliance and quality strategies today. One of their best-kept secrets for excelling at apparel production and retailing is to look at internal audits as the most valuable source of internal data there is. Mobile inspections are integral to these internal audits and become part of the core DNA of a manufacturing operation. Having an intensity regarding internal audits also makes those undertaken to attain regulatory standards easier to pass.
  5. By designing in usability and workflows customizable by inspectors, quality and compliance teams, mobile inspections are gaining greater adoption and permanently changing how apparel retailers and manufacturers improve quality. The key to making any new workflow permanent is providing teams who use them ownership and customization of platforms and tools to match how they work. Instead of forcing quality and compliance teams to change how they work, the best mobile inspection platforms are customizable to how teams and production centers operate. The cornerstone of all successful digital transformation efforts start with customers’ goals and provides teams the freedom they need to excel.

Conclusion

When the urgency to excel for customers and improve the product quality delivered to them is at the center of digital transformation efforts, they succeed. The fuel that energizes these efforts is the rich, real-time data streams generated from a mobile inspection platform. Mobile inspections improve scheduling accuracy, provide better levels of inventory controls, enable manufacturing centers to improve production performance and also contributes to streamlined order-to-fulfillment cycle times. Using mobile inspection, it’s also possible to capture data invaluable for completing track-and-trace queries to catch textile materials and garments before they reach the customer becomes possible when real-time inspection data is available.