Tuesday, March 31, 2009

How Many Garments on a Container?

How Many Garment on a Container?

OK, Here’s my cheat sheet for Dozens of packaged garment on a regular 40 foot container. Yes, it can vary greatly, but you got to start somewhere. Remember this is DOZENS of packaged product in cases ready to ship to the retail customer.

Men’s Woven or Knit Boxers 7,920 dozen
Men’s Briefs 10,800 dozen
Golf Shirts 3,100 dozen
Tee Shirts 4,200 dozen
Fleece Top and Pant 1,700 dozen
Jersey Shorts 3,500 dozen
Jersey Pants 5,000 dozen
Ladies panties 14,000 dozen

Yarn 4320 cones around 30,000 pounds

When you’re starting out and it’s LTL (Less than Trailer Load) and SKU (Stock Keeping Unit) mixed product, you’ll not get this much. When you big and consistent, you’ll figure out how to maximize and get much better cube utilization.

I used to ball park Ocean Freight rates at $3,500 for China to West Coast and $5,000 for India to East Coast. I haven’t checked lately.

All for now.

The Underwear Maven

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Ocean Freight - How Long and $$$$

Ocean Freight – How Long and $$$$

This post has taken more time than I expected. It was easier in my Corporate Days to ask the Transportation Manager plus we had long term established rates. But a main purpose of this blog is to provide links to free information on line as it relates to Supply Chain.
1. Normal container sizes include a 20 ft, a 40 ft and a 40 ft high container. We don’t require any temperature control (Although I had a quality nightmare with melting wax on a yarn shipment.)
2. Check this site out for the dimensions and cube sizes of standard containers.
3. This site is loaded with information about all types of international shipping. I found the calculator to be too complex for my estimate purposes but it was a great refresher on shipping basics. http://www.shipping-worldwide.com/help.htm
4. It’s common in the Caribbean to use a Ro-Ro and not a container. That means the trailer is Rolled onto the Vessel and sails to the destination country where it is Rolled Off. Containers don’t have wheels. The containers are put on a chassis.
5. I registered with Maersk to gain access to their Rate Schedules and Routes. http://www.maerskline.com/appmanager/ They appear to screen potential users and issue a “Certificate” that must be downloaded before access is allowed on many parts of their site. Not sure if you need to be a potential customer or if they’ll allow the general public. Again, there’s a lot of information and I haven’t decoded all the references. I did stumble on the Schedule and corresponding days In-transit.
a. From Qingdao, China to LA, USA it’s only 14 days. Departs Qingdao on Saturday and arrives LA on Friday. (Qingdao the home of a great GREAT beer in China. http://www.tsingtaobeer.com/ )
b. From Chennai, India to Newark, NJ it takes 27 days. It shows the Vessel stopping in Oman, Jordan, Egypt and Spain before continuing it’s West Bound route to the east coast of the USA.

More later this week!

And this reminds me, it’s pretty cool to cross the international date line. I’ve actually gotten in discussions with folks that don’t believe it’s a 24 hour time different. Maybe they were consuming to much Tsingtao beer. Or maybe China’s famous Dynasty wine http://www.dynasty.com.cn/index.asp which we nick named Duh Nasty …it’s not really bad we’re just being immature Americans.
Gan BAY ( http://matadornights.com/how-to-say-%e2%80%9ccheers%e2%80%9d-in-50-languages/ )

The Underwear Maven

Monday, March 23, 2009



I just returned from a week long vacation with my daughter during her Senior College Break. We had a blast!

I want to skip over to Trademarks for this post. The government free site is fairly easy to search. It’s called TESS which stands for Trademark Electronic Search System. Here’s the link for the home page http://www.uspto.gov/index.html Navigate to the left hand tab called Trademarks, then go to tab 3 called Search TM data base (TESS).

1. Under Select the Search Form choose New User Form Search (Basic)
2. This brings your curser to the Search Term Box. Leave all the other settings alone and type in your Trademark Search Word.
3. Let’s try my brand and type in Key Largo.
4. Now look at the listing. Go to the third Key Largo item and you’ll see my application and note that it’s abandoned. That was The Underwear Maven filling out the form directly and I wasted my money.
5. Now hit the back button and look at Key Largo number 8. It’s me again and this time the application is still active and I used a lawyer. It’s still far from a done deal for me but I’m still hanging in there.
6. My problem with the first application wasn’t so much about filling out the form. It was later in the process - I couldn’t understand the questions the examiner was asking so I couldn’t answer them. It was a safer and better value to reapply with some adjustments and let my lawyer answer the follow up questions – while I took lots of notes.
7. You don’t have to have a trade mark for your brand. The trade mark is to protect the brand owner from others using your brand.
8. The government doesn’t go around trying to enforce trademark rights. If you own the trademark, you need to let others know if they are illegally using your trade mark. If they don’t stop, then you have legal recourse.

All for now! Sincerely,
The Underwear Maven

Friday, March 13, 2009

Social Compliance WRAP

Social Compliance WRAP

I admit that I’ve changed my mind about Social Compliance by 3rd parties. They do add value and work. I now like and support WRAP or Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (It used to be Worldwide Responsible APPAREL production.)
http://www.wrapapparel.org/ (The site has a list of certified factories in case you need some contacts.) It’s nice to only ask to see the WRAP certificate and not send your internal team to audit and report. Plus, it prevents your customers from auditing your facilities which could open the door for them to go direct to your factories for future orders.
1. Ask to see the WRAP certificate and check that it’s signed and up to date.
2. WRAP requires compliance to the laws in the Country which can get complicated if there are old and never used laws on the books. Be patient and work with WRAP and the various governments and it will work out. Let’s face it, there are still old crazy unenforced laws on the books in USA too.
3. RUN as FAST as you can from the Factory that failed compliance and claims that they failed because they wouldn’t pay the WRAP inspector a bribe. I know the factory owner claims to be your “buddy” and confides this in strictest confidence. Don’t be a chump and fall for this scam. (I am aware of Pass/Fail Quality Assurance Bribes.)
4. If you are fortunate enough to visit the factory, use your senses to verify social compliance. My learning preference is auditory and I can listen to a knitting room or sewing factory and learn a lot.
5. Remember, any person that visits a factory on your behalf like an IT programmer or a Quality Auditor should be educated about compliance and actively alert and in a “compliance audit” mode while visiting.

6. And if you have the time, ask the factory manager or person giving you the tour, to open the First Aid Kit. Too many times, I’ve found these empty or filled with unusable stuff. If your IT guy ask to look inside the First Aid Kit, I assure you they’ll make sure to fill it before he leaves.

7. Fire Drills are another way to check up on the spot. Do those buckets of sand really work?

8. And I love the ponds in the front of the dye house filled with fish swimming in the cleaned up water.

All for now,


The Underwear Maven

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Compliance - Broken Needles

Broken Needles

Sewing machine needles will break. Horror of Horrors if a broken needle ends up in the garment. Customer returns with a broken needle in the garment make corporate lawyers panic. Make sure your factory has
1. Written and signed Broken Needle Policy.
2. Policy should state that sewing is stopped until all parts of the needle are found.
3. The actual broken needle should be taped to Broken Needle report with other pertinent information.
4. Ask to see the reports when you’re in the factory. Needles will break so no broken needles on file would be a red flag.

It’s also common for factories to have a Metal detector that screens for broken needles in the finished garment. It’s a requirement for many European countries (and I think Japan).

All for now,

The Underwear Maven

Monday, March 9, 2009

Quality Tests – Appearance and Durability After Washing

Quality Tests – Appearance and Durability After Washing

Test Method: AATCC 135/150
Requirements: % Lenght x % Width
Knit Jersey Cotton: 7x6
Knit Jersey Cotton Blend: 5x5
Knit Jersey Synthetic: 4x4
Rib Knit 1x1: 8x1
Rib Knit 2x1: 10x10
Woven Cotton: 5x5
Woven Cotton Blends: 3x3

I have a lot more requirements for different fabrics. Just let me know if you would like them.


The Underwear Maven

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Common Tests on Apparel FABRICS

A list of common physical tests on apparel fabrics

The test methods can be found with the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC) http://www.aatcc.org/ and with the American Standard Test Methods (ASTM) volumes 7.01 and 7.02 http://www.astm.org/ . If you need to have something tested, there are several commercial certified laboratories like Intertek http://www.intertek-labtest.com/services/testing/apparelperformancetesting/?lang=en and Wal-Mart’s Consumer Testing Laboratories (CTL) http://www.consumertesting.com/

Test: Fabric Weight
Method: ASTM D3776
Requirement: +/- 5%

Thread Count
Test: ASTM D3887 (knits) ASTM D3775 (wovens)
Requirement: +/- 5%

Pilling Resistance
Method: AATCC 135/150
Requirement: Minimum class 3.0

Colorfastness to Crocking
Test: AATCC 8
Requirement: Dry Crocking Min class 4.0
Wet Crocking Min class 3.0

Colorfastness to Washing
Test: AATCC 135/150
Requirement: Shade change: Class 4.0

Colorfastness to Light
Test: AATCC 16
Requirement: Not needed for underwear

Colorfastness to Perspiration:
Test: AATCC 15
Requirement: Shade Change Class 4.0


Test: ASTM D3787
Requirement Lt-Med wt. 20 lbs
Test: ASTM 5034
Light Weight min 25 Warp/15 Fill

Fiber Content
Test: ASTM D629
Requirement: +/- 3% stated on Label

Test: 16CFR Part 1610
Requirement: Class 1

Fabric Defects
Test: ASTM D3990
Requirement: No major defects

And remember, an approved certified lab should stay within the standard conditioned setting of 21 degrees Celsius (+/- 1) and 65% (+/- 2%) Relative Humidity. So if you’re about to pass out from the heat in the dye house, go to the lab and cool off – that’s where you’ll find me!

Next we’ll look at tests for “Appearance and Durability After Washing”.


The Underwear Maven