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Uncorking a front-end bottleneck

September 1st, 2009 / By: / Uncategorized

Well-designed shops make every effort to locate production bottlenecks and eliminated them. But there’s one bottleneck they can’t do anything about: the holdup at the front end, when clients are slow in submitting art and specs.

“Art is usually the last thing coming from a client,” says Vincent Marler, executive vice president of operations at Moss Inc. “We might be ready to go, but we’re waiting for final art or a final CAD drawing. We have to respond very quickly.”

As a result, Moss sometimes has times when it has to ship double the volume of end product that it did the previous day. So the company has organized its shops in Elk Grove Village and Salt Lake City to accommodate large or small work crews depending on the situation.

“What we have done at the plants and at Moss as a whole is to try to produce an environment that is very flexible and very scalable,” says Jason Ahart, plant manager at Salt Lake City. “We’re saying, ‘Here’s what our crew needs to do today, here’s what we’re going to need to do tomorrow, here’s what machines we’re going to need to use, and here’s how we’re going to try to get this out.’”

For example, John Cooper, plant manager at Elk Grove Village, says his shop has high-volume and low-volume stitching lines.

“In our high-volume lines, the cutting tables are all on wheels so we can move them up close to the sewing machines when needed, and the room can move around,” he explains. “We’ve set up sewing machines on wheels so we can push them out into the setup floor if we’re working on a large structure and we need to have a machine next to it. And then on the printing side, we have a two-shift operation here, and Jason has a two- or sometimes three-shift operation in Salt Lake City. That’s how we expand.”

Jamie Swedberg is a regular contributor to Fabric Graphics.

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