Quality has emerged as a leading concern for the apparel and footwear industries, as executives have come to recognize that defects and remakes are a drag on both timelines and bottom lines.
Historically, brands and retailers have been responsible for ensuring factories are working up to snuff. But the model is costly, time consuming and focused on surfacing problems rather than solutions. The inefficiency largely stems from the manual way quality issues have been tracked.
Inspectorio, a quality control software-as-a-service company, leverages machine learning to create systems for quality and sustainability monitoring, connecting factories, vendors, brands and retailers on one platform. Digitizing the inspection process means the industry can not only track issues but also analyze the potential causes, which is critical when attempting to make long-term improvements.
The real-time nature of assessments on the Inspectorio SIGHT platform also allows factories to conduct self-inspections, which alleviates the burden on brand and retail partners while also empowering these product facilities to determine the best corrective and preventative actions.
“With manual processes, factories use pencil and paper, which is a lot of paperwork, and there’s no analytics on what inspectors and factories are doing and no opportunity for improvement,” said Fernando Moncayo Castillo, managing director at Inspectorio.
Armed with information about recurring issues, factories are better positioned to determine how to avoid making the same mistakes in the future. Without this information, Moncayo said the focus is on delivering each shipment, a siloed approach that doesn’t allow for a holistic look at the factors that impact quality.
With the typical inspection model, “vendors and factories were in compliance mode. They had to pass inspections so they could ship the goods,” Moncayo said. “Inspectorio allows them to shift to empowerment, where they embrace the technology to improve their internal quality inspection. If they can identify their problems, then they can improve them so their conversations with the buyers will be easier.”
For instance, loose thread issues over time could mean the stitching department needs more training. Using pen and paper, it would be harder for management to recognize a systemic problem whereas the Inspectorio SIGHT platform makes the information apparent. Not only would that refresher positively impact the current products leaving the production facility, it would also lessen the likelihood that the subsequent jobs would be held up due to the same errors.
“It creates a whole loop for them to control their quality from start to finish,” Moncayo said.
To use the platform, the factory simply schedules an inspection with the brand and retailer that empowered it through the Inspectorio operating system. During the inspection, the factory manager can monitor the progress to ensure it’s being carried out correctly, and at the end, all stakeholders receive an immediate report, which cuts out the 24-48 hour wait time often associated with inspection reports.
Using the platform, vendors and factory owners can assess each of their facilities and also identify the top performers. Further, the tools also make it clear if there are issues with the inspectors themselves. The system tracks the product categories they’re most experienced with, monitors the average time they spend on each inspection and provides alerts if there are issues with an inspection, like if it were conducted too quickly.
“The vendors and factories that have multiple inspectors use it to standardize their processes and inspections,” Moncayo said. “It also allows them to determine the training and coaching needed for the workers at the production line.”
To learn more about Inspectorio SIGHT, visit inspectorio.com.