In a recent article on FINANCE 24, it was highlighted by the SA clothing and textile workers’ union that despite significant investment and government support in recent years, the industry is struggling to move from survivalist to expansionist mode.

Best Practice Factory Tours

In light of this, it is imperative to learn from industry leaders through collaboration and sharing of solutions to help companies flourish. Factory tours provide manufacturers with a unique opportunity to learn from other production environments and offer insight into improvement opportunities within their own factories. 

On the 2nd and 3rd of August, The Cape Clothing and Textiles Cluster visited three firms in Kwa-Zulu Natal from the automotive (Hesto Harnesses), textile (Gelvenor Textiles) and clothing industries (Sentinel Workwear). 

Key observations from the tour included the importance of:

– visible performance measurement systems to drive performance and

– the role that senior management play in driving Lean improvements on the factory floor.

Workshops that Work!

During this tour, a workshop was held on implementing TAKT time – the process of setting an average rate of production equal to that of customer demand. This is important to understand as it assists in identifying and factoring in potential bottlenecks within the production process (e.g. stations that need more time than planned) and making sure that product delivery occurs on time.

This workshop provided a conceptual understanding of many key “Just in Time” (JIT) principles that attendees observed at Hesto Harnesses, who produce highly sophisticated wiring harnesses for the automotive industry. TAKT time, as well as other JIT principles, has been used to create an even flow throughout Hesto’s factory, while factoring in all of the complexities inherent in their production.

It’s been wonderful to see how this tour has helped various companies within the Textile industry improve in their knowledge and understanding.

In a challenging economic environment there is no better time than the present to come together within industries to help one another become more effective. We are better together!