A concurrent engineering framework for apparel manufacture
The purpose of the present study was to develop a concurrent engineering (CE) apparel framework. Sequential manufacturing is the traditional production method for apparel manufacture. Sequential design and product development impact manufacturing more than any other process because design decisions...
|Summary:||The purpose of the present study was to develop a concurrent engineering (CE) apparel framework. Sequential manufacturing is the traditional production method for apparel manufacture. Sequential design and product development impact manufacturing more than any other process because design decisions can have costly production implications. To improve this process, other industries have implemented CE. CE is the concurrent design of products and their related manufacture and support processes. Reported CE benefits are time, cost, and quality improvements. A review of CE literature showed no application of CE for apparel manufacture.
The present study was an interpretational qualitative case study of apparel manufacturers with two phases: Phase One was a descriptive documentation mapping the <i>as is</i> environment. Phase Two was the development of a <i>to be</i> environment that integrated apparel design with product development. The apparel manufacturer sample was located in U.S. representing multiple merchandise classifications. Sample size for Phase One was 72 subjects and 36 subjects for Phase Two. A triangulated data collection method combined interviewing, reading company documents, observing, and giving questionnaires to focus groups.
Phase One results and discussion narrative are 101 IDEF₀ analytic graphic diagrams and identification of process performance weaknesses for the <i>as is</i> environment. IDEF₀ diagrams include: create apparel line, develop colors and prints, implement fabric and special operations, set production specifications, and produce samples. Findings documented the <i>as is</i> environment as a sequential process with rework cycles occurring in all functional areas. The <i>as is</i> environment had time-to-market delays, excess cost, and decreased process quality.
Phase Two results and discussion for the <i>to be</i> environment was the development of a CE apparel framework. The findings are illustrated in 80 IDEF₀ diagrams with reorganization of apparel activities, inclusion of multi-disciplinary design teams, and use of enabling technology. The <i>to be</i> environment findings show apparel activities did not remain sequential. Apparel activity movement supports the CE design maturity curve concept in which apparel design decisions moved later, and manufacturing and costing decisions are made earlier. An apparel associate focus group indicated that the <i>to be</i> environment could improve moderately for time-to-market, excess cost, and process quality. === Ph. D.|