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Apparel Processing Automation: Critical Technologies for Complicated Times

apparel-converyor.jpgFor apparel companies, the benefits of apparel warehousing automation are pretty well known: Lower costs. Fewer mistakes. Faster speed-to-market. And, perhaps most important, the ability and flexibility to keep up with rapid changes in consumer tastes and apparel market demands.

The benefits don't just apply to the apparel industry. Indeed, according to The New York Times, across a wide range of industries, productivity and savings gleaned from robotics and other forms of automation can be startling :

"One robot arm endlessly forms three perfect bends in two connector wires and slips them into holes almost too small for the eye to see. The arms work so fast that they must be enclosed in glass cages to prevent the people supervising them from being injured. And they do it all without a coffee break — three shifts a day, 365 days a year.

[…] In one example, a robotic manufacturing system initially cost $250,000 and replaced two machine operators, each earning $50,000 a year. Over the 15-year life of the system, the machines yielded $3.5 million in labor and productivity savings."

But there are several aspects that are specific to the modern apparel industry that are making garment warehousing automation increasingly important. Here are two:

Global Supply Chains

garment-on-hanger-rail-system.jpgModern technology has made it increasingly easy for apparel companies to drive down costs (and pass those savings onto consumers) by building out parts of their apparel supply chains in distant corners of the globe. But outsourcing apparel creates an abundance of new apparel supply chain management challenges.

It's simply unaffordable to keep shipments to the United States small, which means there are multiple opportunities for sorting mistakes that would — at best — significantly slow down the process or — at worst — lead to significant product losses and missed market opportunities. Garment logistics automation can significantly reduce mistakes while handling large shipments with unparalleled ease.

E-Commerce

apparel-til-tray-sortation.jpgThe meteoric rise of e-commerce affects just about every aspect of apparel logistics. For example, shoppers are more likely to buy clothes without trying them on, making returns far more likely. Apparel companies need to be able to handle surges in returns quickly and accurately before consumers lose interest in the original product. Automation can help.

Moreover, e-commerce places higher demand on maximizing supply chain efficiency. Online shopping has made it easier than ever for customers to price compare products and hunt for bargains and discounts, requiring retailers to charge less and less for their products. The savings unlocked by garment processing automation can help make up for this loss in profit margins

Of course, it's by no means cheap to invest in a bunch of robotics and other modern equipment. At The Apparel Logistics Group, our Dallas-area 158,000-square-foot apparel distribution center features a full range of cutting edge automation equipment, including conveyors, tilt-tray sortation, pick-to-light, and a garment on hanger rail system.

Check out this virtual tour of our fashion logistics facilities or contact us to learn more.

Posted: 11/19/2012 10:19:52 AM by Global Administrator | with 0 comments


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