By way of introducing a new head-hurting series (sorry), let’s start with a quiz. If you want to cheat or optimize your chances at acing the quiz, sneak a peek at Size is nothing but a number. You can also review pages 114-120 in The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Sewn Product Manufacturing. Here’s the scenario:
You want to place an order for style 1001. Style 1001 comes in 2 colorways, white and black. I’m going to give you the order quantities per size -an example that a customer sent me in real life- and you’re going to tell me how to make the marker.
Your crash course in marker making: Ideally, a marker is designed so that all garments can be cut at one time. If that is not possible (this example is not), you plan as few cutting jobs for the customer’s order as is possible because each additional cut is expensive (double, triple, depending on the number of cuts planned). If there is more than one colorway, you can cut them both together provided the cuttable width is the same for each color. In this example, black and white can be cut together. Lastly, you want the longest possible marker because each fabric layer or ply must have a 2″ buffer on each end, so longer lays are less wasteful than shorter ones. Without further ado, here is the order that the customer sent me to make the markers:.
Details needed to solve this challenge:
1. Yardage needed per size:
2. The maximum length of the contractor’s cutting table is 20 feet.
3. The contractor can spread no more than 30 layers of fabric.
4. The white and black fabrics are the same width so they can be cut together.
Your challenge is to analyze the variables to come up with the cut order plan so markers for this customer’s order can be cut and sewn -and at the lowest cost (fewest markers) possible.
Bonus points will be awarded for calculating the total yardage needed for each marker, by color.
PS: If this is too much work (and I’m with you on that) or too confusing to solve, realize that this difficulty is a key reason that contractors don’t want small orders. We can only charge so much for making a marker but since small orders can be so much more complex than large ones, it is not unusual that cut order planning for small orders, takes (comparatively) much more time. For comparison, it might only take me an hour to develop the cut order plan for a large order but a small one, can take 2 or 3 times longer. The customer often thinks they’re being charged a penalty for being a small company, not realizing that the smaller order really is more work. The intended result of all of this, of course, is to understand how cut order planning works so you can place orders that are in keeping with your budget. At the very least, you will understand how you will need to compromise on your size order quantities if and when we present you with some suggested alternatives. The latter is the biggest hint I’m going to give you with respect to solving this problem. Well, that and pages 116-118 specifically, in the book.