In the what is an optimal size range pop quiz from last week, I said that entry was really a pre-pop quiz to prime you for another pop quiz to be published later. This is that entry.
I also suggested that having too many sizes could dilute the size spread such that your medium is not a medium for costing purposes. It is perfectly acceptable if your medium is not the size you calculate your fabric costs from as long as you know it and take measures to use the right size whichever it may be. The point of knowing which size should be your size for costing purposes is the topic for today’s pop quiz. This from an email (specifics redacted):
The company I work for is a [well known and respected] vertical manufacturer in Asia, starting with textile processing greige goods all the way through to full apparel manufacturing and delivery to customers. We do full package, make-to-order, servicing demanding customers with multiple labels.
Because the systems and requirements were set up based on the fabric yield of the average size, we are experiencing unbelievable variances in our processes. For example, for cotton bottoms, sizes 28 through 48 (all inseam lengths 28-36) all reflect the same yield required for average size 34/32. Needless to say, we are skewed in the purchase of greige as well as in the production of finished fabric required to meet the actual sizes on a customer order.
Our MRP process examines the requirements on the BOM and, since they are all the same, generates purchasing and manufacturing proposals to meet the demand. If my sales order was actually for sizes 36/32,33,34,35,36 through 42/32,34,35,36 I absolutely will not have adequate fabric available to meet the order requirements. Likewise, if my sales order is sizes 28/32,33,34,35,36 through 36/32,33,34,35,36 I will purchase and finish excess fabric.
Our in-house garment manufacturing expertise is composed of few individuals who share an identical frame of reference and set of experiences. Certainly the best effort and practices known were leveraged, but the opportunity to benefit from a broader and differentiated set of experiences did not exist, resulting in a less than optimal start-up.
The writer thanked me for a great site, great book and wanted to know how to go about hiring me to solve this and other problems for them. That was all very good and well and I always love compliments but the problem was my greatest interest. I love problems like this and didn’t even care if they hired me, I sent her the solution to her costing problem.
The challenge for today is: what answer did I send her? That presumes there is only one answer and that I knew what it was but you know what I mean. Maybe I should phrase it as, what is the answer you would give the person who wrote this email?
PS. If you’re not sure why a medium is the base size for costing purposes, Analyzing sales by size is required reading -as is part two in the series. However, this does not mean a medium should be the base size always, far from it. Not knowing when it should or shouldn’t be -or even which size should be- can bury you.