Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Product Liability Insurance

Product Liability Insurance

Even Cotton underwear needs product liability insurance. Most of the big guys require this before placing a PO. I ended up getting mine from Scottsdale Insurance Company through my Nationwide agent.


2. The cost is based upon estimated volume.
3. At the end of the year, they did request and require that I send all sales information
4. In my corporate days, there were some complaints and maybe suits against the product. Most was from elastic rubber irritation that was coded “Itch, Rash and Burn” complaints.

All for today,
The Underwear Maven

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Development Responsibility Matrix


This post makes me chuckle and think back to my corporate days. There were so many departments and everyone wanted to be in charge but no one wanted to do the work. So, we hashed out and assigned names to the person “Responsible” or the doer and the person "Accountable" or the doer's boss and probably the decision maker, the person "Consulted" would be the department head of the Doer and Accountable folks and the person "Informed" would be other departments that need to know but won't have a say in the Go/No Go decision.

Development Responsibility Matrix

1. Receive concept ideas from front-end
2. Research Concepts and send info back to front end
3. Receive product information on (Request for Product) RFP and samples (if available) and send to Suppliers with out target costs
4. Samples and RFP received by Suppliers
5. Quotes and prototypes received from suppliers- negotiate w/targets
6. Preliminary costing calculated and distributed
7. Production and shipping lead times confirmed
8. Supplier selected (back up suppliers if new) see Supplier Selection
9. Color targets sent to suppliers
10. Lab-dips from suppliers approved
11. Attend line close
12. Fabric elastic and labels (physical) approved
13. Garment patterns developed w/supplier and/or sent to supplier
14. Fit approval
15. Fabric submitted to CTL or other customer as appropriate
16. Pre-production samples approved (optional)
17. Top of production sent to Quality
18. Packaging information and artwork given to supplier
19. Packaging approved for production
20. Casing and shipping requirements sent to supplier
21. Adoption notice started/amended/finalized
22. Complete product specification prepared and filed
23. Patterns received and filed from supplier
24. Final Prices confirmed
25. Any Routing or Authorization to cut PO
26. Cut PO- Production begins
27. Production tracking (knit, dye/print, cut, sew, ship)
28. QC compliance (exception) inform program
29. Schedule adherence



Sourcing Department Head

Sourcing Director or Manager

Technical Support

Program Manager

Quality Manager

Administrator or Data Steward

Merchandising-Marketing Manager

The Underwear Maven



It’s actually easy to get UPCs and the software they send you is also easy to use.
1. Here’s the link for the official site.
2. Europe uses EAN and it’s the same link as above.
3. You pay every year based on your sales volume
4. Got to love Wikipedia here’s the UPC scoop
5. Wikipedia EAN facts
6. Some retailers require that you have a UPC.
7. Amazon “likes” for apparel to have UPC but they have work arounds too.

The Underwear Maven

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Sourcing Time Lines

Sourcing Time Lines

1. How long will it take for the factory to make your order? The standard answer is “Exit factory 90 days after issue PO and All Approved.”
2. Here’s the real deal. You almost never can wait until everything is approved before you cut the PO. Yes, I lived with “line freeze” and all the other “death if you change something” commands but if the customer changes their mind, you jump through hoops to deliver or go home defeated.
3. The time line is determined based on what supplies are standard and available and the Quantity of garments needed in the PO.
4. What the factories REALLY LOVE is to base load a sewing line. For example have a team of 9 sewing operators sewing the same style 24/7 for years. It’s possible with larger volume brands but for most of us, we’re in the “spot” order business.
5. With Base Loaded volumes, every week you would order and the supplier would ship the same volume of a given style. Think of a line graph and the base load is a straight line of safe volume below the actual volatile retail sales orders line.
6. You can cut your “Make to Order” cycle time by committing to a safety stock of supplies like Yarn, Greige Fabric, and Dyed Fabric.
7. For example, always keep x pounds of panty fabric in White, Nude, Black and Pink. In week One, PO is placed to cut 2,000 pounds of White fabric and to Sew and Inspect it in Week Two and Ship in Week Three. Now instead of 90 days, it’s only 3 weeks but you’re committed to the fabric and other supplies like packaging.

All for now!
The Underwear Maven

Friday, April 3, 2009

Trailer/Container Basics

Trailer - Container Basics

1. Trailers will leak. On a sunny day grab a flash light and go inside a trailer or container. Turn on the flash light and shut the door. Turn off the light and see if there’s any light coming in from outside. Be safe when you do this and don’t get locked in.

2. Check to see that blocks are used to brace the wheels of the trailers when it’s at the dock door and being loaded or unloaded. It’s a simple thing to do and adds a safety feature. Plus it gives you another thing to look for when you’re taking your tour through the facility.

3. Be smart when loading the trailer. Fill the front section closest to the driver stacked as high as possible. Then tier the rest. You can experiment with nets.

4. The distribution warehouse is going to insist on having the cases stacked on pallets. I’ve never seen this work out economically for long ocean hauls. You can make cubes with a bottom of cardboard and stretch wrap around the cases. Use a squeeze attachment on the fork lift.

5. If your moving full containers, have a seal procedure in place and ask to look at the books that note the container number, seal number, date, vessel and voyage when you visit. This way you will know if anyone has opened your container. Customs knows about this process and will alert you if they open and change a seal. It’s best to have the heavy duty seals that must be opened with cutters.

6. In my experience with factories in Jamaica and Colombia (and that’s Colombia with and O and not Columbia as in South Carolina), drug dogs were brought in to inspect every out going shipment. The trailer would be loaded, locked and seal applied. It sounds like a hassle but they had it down to a fast science and filmed every action.

7. And if you’re driving on the road and are around a lot of trucks and trailers, give them a lot of room. If it’s a heavy load and their gaining speed, it’s hard for them to stop. But you’ll be the one most likely hurt if you attempt road rage games. It’s the law of the biggest moving vehicle on the road and this is religiously followed in developing countries today.

Pakistan wins my prize for the best decorated trailers and buses in the world. (I’m serious, there are many beautiful intricate painted designs on the buses and trucks.) But I’m also fond of the red and green painted ox horns in India.

Be safe and have fun!

The Underwear Maven