Year 2020 has proved to be the nightmare for business fraternity in apparel and textile industry which has caused a long-term dent in the expansion capacities of the factories. Though the industry is cautiously making its efforts towards uplifting the lost business scenario collectively – with the help of key stakeholders in entire supply chain and technology partners being one of them – the revival seems to be a farfetched goal.
However worse the market is for the technology suppliers, the fact can’t be denied that many of these are overshadowing the negativity with the unusual and unique approach to keep manufacturing industry motivated and encouraged. China’s Jack Stock, a leading sewing technology group, has been laying strong foundations for over a decade in order to remain sturdy during the unwanted mayhems that abruptly disturb business sentiments and one example of the same is COVID-19.
Victor Kim, Vice General Manager, International Trade Department of Jack Stock, in conversation with Apparel Resources, stated, “2020 is a forgettable year for all of the world and, of course, Jack has also been affected in the export market; however we remained strong in the Chinese domestic market which is not severely impacted like other countries. The export market of Jack had a greater impact, especially in the second quarter (April-June ’20), the consequences of which could be seen in the subsequent quarters.”
Despite a difficult year for businesses, Jack Stock has made some commendable developments that include helping build new factories, installing automated solutions, recruiting new employees, empowering its suppliers and making efforts to build a complete set of solutions service provider for garments intelligent manufacturing through new acquisitions. It’s worth mentioning here that acquisitions have been a great business approach for Jack Stock ever since it acquired Germany’s Bullmer back in 2009. The company acquired LINTSENSE in 2020 to open up new areas of intelligent cloth inspection.
Over the years, the cloth inspection machine has become a necessary special equipment for the inspection of fabrics before production of the garment takes place as it replaces manual labour, automatically inspects and classifies the fabric, and counts the defects of the inspected fabric before storing the entire detailing for future access. After accumulating data, self-learning ability is formed, and finally the ability to inspect clothes is further improved, and cloud data service is provided to customers. The acquisition of LINTSENSE focuses on advancing this cloth inspection process to help apparel industry save enormous cost.
There are three core factors that make LINTSENSE a different technology:
- Continuous self-evolution in fabric inspection with patented AI-based Deep Model Self-Learning technology! In the complex fabric environment, the machine can learn to be more and more intelligent, automatically.
- According to the operation of trillions level characteristics, millisecond response can be achieved using this technology. It integrates a variety of image processing technologies and the world’s most advanced line scan uses an industrial camera to ensure the stability and anti-interference of imaging and detection.
- It is the first ecosystem for textile industry that includes fabric defects, types and industry information using big data platforms.
“After initial setback, the epidemic entered the normal state and the market has recovered a lot. We are still very optimistic about the garment industry and extensively making our efforts in a direction wherein we can help manufacturers of apparels to use automated solutions in low cost to help them achieve long-term sustainability. Apart from this LINTSENSE acquisition, we have a clear planning for high-level products such as IoT technology which can make a huge difference in traditional manufacturing industry,” commented Victor.
Jack’s role in setting up Alibaba’s ‘Rhino Intelligent Manufacturing Factory’…
At the beginning of the preparation of the Alibaba’s ‘Rhino Intelligent Manufacturing Factory’ in China, the cutting division of Jack Stock – Bullmer – started cooperating with Alibaba team. Bullmer has not only provided high-precision and high-speed spreading machines as well as auto cutters for the Alibaba factory, but has also assisted Alibaba to get through the data download and realise the remote control of the equipment.
The cutters and equipment of Bullmer are connected with Jack IoT functions, such as real-time display of equipment utilisation, output, status monitoring, work efficiency analysis, consumable status analysis, fault diagnosis, remote order dispatch, bed management and seamless connection with the factory MES system. These can help them analyse production capacity and equipment efficiency, and arrange production reasonably within the new factory.
“Alibaba has a very deep understanding of advanced technologies such as digitalisation, Internet of Things and new manufacturing, which has greatly inspired Bullmer. We are also very optimistic about the ‘Rhino Intelligent Manufacturing Factory’ and will participate wholeheartedly to build a future of smart manufacturing together,” informed Victor.
All eyes on two biggest markets – India and Bangladesh…
All through this pandemic, one thing is certain that Chinese domestic market of manufacturing is on a rise, owing to increasing consumption because China’s epidemic control is relatively good than other Asian counterparts. China is homegrown market for Jack Stock but two other export markets which the company massively built over last 5 years or so are India and Bangladesh; however both these countries have taken a hard hit due to COVID-19.
One positive aspect that has emerged amidst this pandemic is the change in factory owners’ mindset as they are more openly talking about intelligent technologies across departments especially the traditional export manufacturing markets like India, Bangladesh which are facing stiff competition from other countries, emphasised Victor.
“Automation technology that can reduce labour for factories and increase efficiency has become a more concerned part of manufacturers in post-COVID era. So the products such as auto cutters, spreaders, big size template machines and new generation SNLS/Overlock machines are becoming more and more relevant now than before in these countries,” asserted Victor.
But, is convincing factories in this tough time that easy? Obviously no! Having a turnover of around US $ 75 million in India and US $ 35 million in Bangladesh, Jack Stock finds it immensely necessary to find out ways to convince factories for the use of such technologies. That’s why its entire team is involved in doing digital marketing on a daily basis and communicating with the industry through WeChat, Facebook Live and WhatsApp; and holding virtual meetings through ZOOM and similar apps in order to provide product and service training as well as conducting promotional activities and launching new products during live shows.
“These efforts and activities are becoming fruitful for us and we have been successfully convincing a bunch of customers to adopt technology at a time when they really need to adopt it to counter the market woes with increased productivity that can help them save direct and indirect costs,” mentioned Victor.
Victor Kim has also informed Apparel Resources that Jack Stock is actively researching and developing new products through the IPD (Integrated Product Development) system and the industry will see these advanced products at CISMA 2021 in Shanghai.