Lectra: Maxwell Industries, Mumbai, India
Making the Leap to automation with Lectra.
Based in Mumbai, India, Maxwell Industries designs, manufactures and retails affordable, quality undergarments for men, women and children. The company produces over 37 million pieces a year for brands such as VIP Innerwear, Frenchie, Frenchie X and VIP Feeling. Approximately 70% of its product is destined for more than 110,000 points of sale in the local market, including the company's own-name stores, while the remaining 30% is exported to other countries.
Maxwell Industries wanted to expand its presence in India and its two other main markets: Africa and the Middle East. To do this, it needed to replace its partially-outsourced, manual process with an automated lean pre-production process that would streamline operations and reduce costs, without sacrificing the quality on which the company had built its reputation.
Maxwell Industries asked Lectra to help them improve their development process and boost productivity in their cutting room at their main plant in Thingalur. After conducting an in-depth analysis, Lectra experts worked with the company to create a customized action plan that would allow them to move all their cutting in-house and automate certain aspects of development and production.
Once the changes had been made, the company was able to speed up its development process, reduce its fabric consumption by 5% and, thanks to fewer errors, produce a better quality product. This gave Maxwell the agility it needed to pursue its goals for expansion. "We are now very much convinced that we made the right choice in selecting Lectra as our partner for our technology solution needs," says Kapil Pathare, Director of Maxwell Industries.
A new way of working
Maxwell Industries knew it needed to make major changes to its historically manual way of working, but this was easier said than done. The company had no experience with automated processes and needed a partner they could trust to help them with the transition. "We outlined our specific challenges in production, pattern and marker making, and Lectra helped us address and find solutions for each one," recalls Pathare. "Their experts walked us through a detailed project plan and explained the methodology behind it. Then, at each milestone, we reviewed the objectives together and made adjustments as needed."
With Lectra's support, Maxwell was able to automate its pattern making, marker making, spreading, cut planning and cutting. Lectra's integrated solutions also streamlined communication across the company's different departments. "Because workflow improved in the cutting room, it improved in sewing, which gave us a smooth process from beginning to end," says Pathare. "Thanks to Lectra's patternmaking technology, we eliminated paper patterns, which saves us a great deal of time and fits in with our green initiative."
Mobilizing resources for real results
Seeing an opportunity for improvement, Lectra experts helped Maxwell Industries redefine the workflow in their cutting room based on lean methodology. "Our cutting operation used to be extremely labor intensive. We have now drastically reduced the number of people we need in the cutting room and redistributed them to other departments, where they add more value," says Pathare. The company has also been able to move all of its cutting, previously partially outsourced, in-house.
Maintaining high quality standards was a big concern for Maxwell Industries. The company had worked hard to build a reputation for itself and wanted to be sure this new endeavor didn't compromise years of careful brand building. At the same time, the Indian group was under pressure to keep up with the demands of today's market.
"Not only does our customer expect a certain standard of quality from our brands, we need to deliver it on shorter and shorter deadlines if we want to maintain our position in the marketplace," explains Pathare.
Lectra's dedicated cutting-room technology allowed the company to automate menial tasks and achieve more consistent results in its cutting room, with less time wasted on re-cuts. "We have been able to improve on quality and cut down on manufacturing defects. This adds value to our whole operation, as we can continue to provide a superior product to our customers in a timely fashion," Pathare observes. Maxwell was so impressed with the results in its Thingalur plant that it has chosen to roll out a similar project in its Umbergoan, Gujarat facility. The future looks bright for the Indian company, which is ready to tackle its ambitious plans for expansion.