Dr Rams while emphasising that the development of the requisite skills was the key to productivity; showed us why and how institutional training of garment employees required the convergence of the industry and academia, followed up by the integration of these two segments to bring about necessary changes in pedagogy for improved supervisor training. In this concluding part of the series on Institutional Training of Garment Employees, Dr Rams discusses Convergence as a new Business Model for the Apparel Industry to evolve and create a Model Programme Schedule for trainers and trainees alike.
To start with, there are a few key questions that need to be asked. With the advent of Information Technology, did we explore the possibilities of integrating all-key players together into a seamless stream to make the right decision? Did we accomplish establishing this facility through a network to cover all stakeholders to accomplish Manufacturing Excellence? These questions have been asked because, when efforts are directed towards bringing all the stakeholders together under one umbrella using a Model Programme Schedule, the chances of success increase manifold. These efforts have been greatly simplified by the ‘net’.
Only when we have our answers can we think of convergence of the different stakeholders to the main hub of Garment Manufacturing.
Convergence: There are three types of convergence, which are sequential.
The First Convergence is between the various Functional Heads, the Top Management and Employees. This implies effective internal collaboration on the shop floor to track down the process from the time the Sign Off System (StitchWorld, March 2007) is delivered to the operational staff.
The Second Convergence is between Students, the Industry and Institutions. This is a critical area in the present scenario, in view of high attrition levels, absenteeism and difficulties in obtaining a knowledgeable employee with the appropriate skills and mind-set. Toward this objective, the Human Resources Department (HRM) has a major role to play in recruitment, continuous training and retraining consistently to form excellent team players, through networking with the Institutions and students. This will provide opportunities to create total awareness of the Industry requirements and the Industry oriented training process at all levels.
The third convergence is the extrapolation of the natural outcome of the first two, to create an architecture to enable the Industry to focus on business to gain a cutting edge in domestic as well as international markets. It may take some time and effort to hit upon the appropriate architecture, but once proved, it must become the governing doctrine for the Model Programme Schedule.
The Model Programme Schedule:
1) There must be a common syllabus for all the Institutions designed for the trainers as well as for the trainees.
2) The Institution must switch over to video-based training and adopt the latest software on theoretical and practical training methods.
3) The Industry must collaborate with the institution by providing various fabrics samples, finished style garments, spec sheets, operational sequences, etc., that is mostly prevalent in their local factories.
4) The Industry must provide videos of the shop floor and various critical operations for demos at institution level.
5) The Industry must admit faculty members of Institutions for regular updating of operational knowledge and latest technology. The Industry should depute guest lectures from the Organisation as well from Buyers’ representatives to impart knowledge on the importance of Productivity and Quality.
6) At the end of each batch, the Institution should showcase the full garments stitched by the trainees for critical evaluation by Industry representatives to share the knowledge.
7) The Institution should key in all information including family background of each trainee, their medical fitness, operational expertise, discipline, gradation, contact address, etc. in a computer with internet to facilitate the Industry to view, assess and select recruits to replenish their requirements or to plan for additional capacity.
8) Similarly, the Industry should provide their requirements to Institutions well in advance through the Internet to plan for group training and placements.
9) The Trainers trained in the Institution must work as a Trainer in the factory for a specific period before joining the mainstream, as a compulsory requirement.
When a new/ additional manufacturing facility is to be set up, there should be an MOU between the Institution and the Industry, giving explicit details of the fabric/style garments and machinery so that the Institution can focus training to fit the Industry’s needs. It will always be easy to bring new culture with freshers, including discipline, right from the commencement of operations. The Institution should get the Trainer trainees as well trainees ready simultaneously to facilitate the Industry to train/ retrain the employees through these Trainers. A well-planned effort will bring positive results to improve operational effectiveness.
The Training Modules:
The following parameters are considered essential :
1) Theoretical and Practical Training should be in the proportion of 1:3; i.e., if the total training period is 4 months (4months x 26 days x 8 hours = 832 hours) will be shared as 208 hours for theory and 624 hours for practical.
2) Out of 208 hours, 32 Hours (4 hours x 8 visits) should be provided for factory visits on Saturdays.
3) Video presentations on factory shop floor operations should be shown on 4 to 6 Sundays (two to three hours for all students) during the 4 month period.
4) There must be a guest lecture presentation of 1 ½ hours every Saturday morning. (4 x 4 x 1 ½ hrs : 24 hours)
Presentation for stitching and video presentation for right operational methods (wherever available): The Industry can provide a video presentation of their sample room to educate these trainees on full garment finishing. The emphasis must be on the right methods of placing the cut parts to the needle point, moving the limbs to handle different operations including turning for shapes and for non-stop finish, using ready patterns/templates, attachments, folders, guides, quality stitches (jump stitch, run stitch, broken stitch, joint stitch, etc.) and on self-inspection.
- The Institution should conduct Basic English education class during the theory period to enrich the trainees’ career plan. Similarly, simple operational procedures of the computer should be taught. This will enable them to study- through a PC- study material as well as effective operational methods with accuracy to enrich their knowledge.
- The Industry should assist the Institution to provide course materials/CDs /printed notes in regional languages/stationery free of cost.
- The Industry should provide facilities to conduct a medical checkup, eye-testing, colour blindness, dexterity test at the Institution before enrolling them as Trainees.
- The Industry should assist through creating a “Trainee Welfare Fund “ funded by the group of manufacturers in that area, from which the above facilities can be provided to the trainees at the Institution. This may be in addition to the subsidy provided by the government (around Rs 5,000/)
- The Industry should nominate their representatives to the Board of Advisors of the Institution to work cohesively to help the Industry with their requirements of manpower.
- The Institution should upload all details of the trainees through the Internet to facilitate the Industry to interact with them.
- The Industry and the Institution should conduct annual events for all student-employees to share their experiences and to give awards for the best performers.
These facilities will enable them to take more interest at the time of learning and make them to study at home to recapitulate and to reinforce the instruction for better understanding. This will also create a sense of belonging among the people while fostering initiative.
The additional specific training required for ‘Trainers’ Trainee’ will enhance their performances to nourish the concept of ‘Right First Time’:
Video presentations in training will have an effective impact on the trainees and their learning process. During practical training, their performance should be captured through video and they should then be shown the right methods, accuracy and speed to enhance their performance levels quickly.
It is the right time to rope in the software developers to standardise all these trainings modules with the guidance of domain experts and academicians to implement, in all Institutions throughout India (and to markets in other countries also) to help the Industry to reach the Government ambitious target of US$50 billion projected for 2010 from the current $8 billion. This will give a boost to our domestic players as well consumers to get a quality product at an affordable price.
This concept can be developed further for a “Distance Education Programme” to reach rural sectors or 2nd / 3rd tier cities since computers are making inroads to these areas and will soon be a part of home appliances of the people. Like China, the Industry should further plan to extend their operations to these areas, if cost of manufacturing is to be contained and to compete with China in pricing and quality.
What is essentially required for everyone is to wake up to the fact that there is a fundamental shift that is happening in the way people are going to do business. Every one is going to have to improve them and be able to compete. It is just going to be a global market. It is reported that even though Bengalooru is one of the export hubs for garments, when a quotation was obtained, it was a Sri Lankan who gave the best in terms of quality and the right price and the finish was great.
Every one of us must think deeply on this valuable information to make our product is no way lower than any other manufacturers of our neighbouring countries in terms of quality or pricing to sustain and grow in the global market. The more we focus on training the people with the right skill and mind sets, with collaborative participation of the Industry/ software developers, our opportunities will increase dramatically in the global market.