Here at Coloursmith 2015 has begun and we are making plans for a new range of training courses to deliver to the textile industry. 2015 is the year that we move the focus of Coloursmith to a more training and consultancy based organisation. There are many reasons for doing this and I do not propose to go into them here, but it got me thinking how was 2014 for you ? what would you change in 2015 to make your organisation better and your work day more efficient, less stressful. The Coloursmith Introduction to dyeing and finishing course begins with a section called “tell me your headache”. The purpose of this is to have the delegates bring along some of the issues that are facing them on a daily basis. These issues can be quality related – poor colour fastness or dyeing related issues with different colours across a garment. These are just two examples but quite frankly the list is endless. Whatever the technical nature of the issue, there is one consistent problem whether you are a high street retail giant, or a small fashion label with 2 shops. It seems your overseas supply base is not very technical and when problems occur even less helpful and communicative. The interesting thing about the high street retail giants is that several of them are using the same suppliers and have similar issues with these suppliers. From our experience you can almost predict the conversation when there is an issue :-
Retailer Y – “we asked for Grade 4 on this garment – we are getting grade 2”
Supplier – “we tested it here and it was ok”
Retailer Y – “we are getting grade 2 and that is not acceptable – what will you do”
Supplier – “there is nothing we can do, that is the best you will get”
Supplier – “retailer X accepts similar”
Retailer Y – “oh ok I will have to see if this is a COMMERCIAL DECISION”
Supplier – “The goods arrive in UK tomorrow”
Retailer Y – “Commercial Decision it is then…”
The above may be an exaggeration, but I do not believe it is too far from conversations that are happening as I write this blog in the headquarters of retailers across the UK and do not be fooled by price and perceived quality these types of issues occur whether the garment you sell is £5 or £500.
The main problem is that these types of discussions always seem to take place when the order is finished and it is the poor garment technologists who have to try to solve the problem. With proper discussion and specification at the buying stage, many issues could be resolved, by choosing reputable knowledgeable suppliers and subjecting them to a proper audit procedure before they are appointed. These are issues that could be minimised and even stopped. As I said we did several training courses in 2014 and already have some lined up for 2015, my hope for what will change in 2015 is that the buyers and designers, as well as the Garment Techs will attend the course so that they can fully appreciate the steps required and minimise problems and make the product and procedures better and more efficient.
So if you are a garment technician or a buyer whether you work for a huge company or a small boutique type company what would you like to see change in 2015 and how will you make it happen…..