Critical Path Method in Apparel Industry.

Apparel Supply Chain is all about ‘deadline’ management. Learn the Critical Path Method and how it can be applied to the multi style and multi PO environment of the apparel industry.

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Case study – A merchandiser’s workday at XYZ co, An apparel manufacturer and supplier to reputed brands and retailers of US and Europe.

Sam is a sincere hard working merchandiser associate at XYZ Export House.  He is handling approximately 35 styles each season in men’s woven bottoms division. At a given point of time Samir has to work on three season’s work simultaneously. For one season he is engaged in doing prototype development, costing negotiations etc. For the second season he is doing the pre-production follow up like lab dip approvals, fit and PP sample approvals etc. For the third season Samir is making sure that the styles that have gone into production are shipping on time and there are no major surprises for the US team, like short shipments, colour mismatch approved standard in bulk etc.

Sam has to wear multiple hats during his work day and juggle different sets of tasks, each seeming equally critical to get done. However he finds it difficult to create a balance, and often during costing and development times, due to high pressure from buyers for timely costings and proto sample deadlines to be met, he tends to ignore the critical tasks that need to be done for the previous seasons. For example due to excessive time that he was having to spend to cope with SP 10 costing and development deadlines, he was not able to ensure that all short shipment notices were sent to buyers in a timely manner for his SU 09 shipments this month, and he could not keep proper track of fit approval deadlines for FA 09 styles and he was not able to ensure his lab dips, color approvals and fabric / trims purchase orders were on time for his HO 09 styles.  All the effort related to SP 10 developments seemed to suck up all the time.  Sam is now totally stressed and often finds himself in a ‘crisis management’ mode, even shouting at his vendor / other department associates. He regrets screaming later on, but at that point of time it feels easier to blame the vendors / other department associates for not taking proper responsibility of their jobs.  This is causing a strained relationship with his vendors and colleagues. It need not be like this. After this training module things will change for him.

Go to the next tab to see the learning outcomes.

After this training session Sam will learn –

  1. How to use and apply basics of project management tools like WBS and CPM to approach his work in a multi-style and multi-season scenario.
  2. How to identify the critical tasks, which if not attended to will impact delivery schedules for his styles across all three seasons.
  3. How to build effective review and problem escalating mechanisms so that mistakes are not hidden for too long, or surface too late in the game
  4. How to have an overall view of all important activities that he needs to do spanning across all seasons, to make sure that one season’s work is not done at the cost of other seasons.
  5. How to prepare detailed time and action plans for all his styles / seasons, and enlist partnership and support from other stakeholders within his organisation as well as his vendors to stick to the deadlines created and set to keep POs on schedule.
  6. How to build regular review systems to track progress of all the POs and seasons and ensure important milestones are achieved on time.
  7. How to find the ‘extra’ time to deal with contingencies without impacting day-to-day activities.
  8. How to cope with the work pressure and stay in control even in overwhelming times and days.

Apparel Supply Chain is all about deadline management.

An interactive discussion on the subject on why it’s so important to track and manage deadlines in the fast paced dynamic world of apparel and fashion.

Project Management – Basic tools and techniques.

A discourse on what are the basics behind the science of project management. What is WBS and Critical Path Management. How can these be applied to a merchandiser’s day to day life.

Back to the Basics

A quick conversation to go over the entire supply chain process from research and development to pre production, production and post production stages. A practical discussion on the understanding of lead times available for various tasks and activities prevalent in the industry.

Critical Path – understanding and applicability to a merchant’s workday.

A discussion and practical exercise in preparing a detailed critical path for an average Purchase Order that a merchandiser tracks, followed by identification of critical activities that emerge which have the potential of delaying the delivery if not maintained as per plan.

Case study and simulation exercise.

To strengthen the learning, participants will be given a role play and case study exercise, where they will be asked to prepare a detailed time and action plan for the given case as a supplier and justify the same to their buyer.

Practical tools and tips.

A discussion on useful formats and templates that can be used to track the daily work of a merchandiser. Sharing of practical examples and best practices gathered from various successful organisations in the field.

Merchandiser’s Calendar.

A weekly calendar to remind the merchants of their important priorities and enable them to track their progress.