At Bigs we are focused on Transformation of companies-specifically in the Apparel manufacturing, Textiles & Retail sectors. We use the twin philosophies of TOC (theory of constraints) & Lean to bring about this transformational change.

About Us

Bigs India is an "operations management consulting" company that seeks to bring radical transformation for its clients. We employ the twin philosophies of TOC (Theory of constraints) & Lean to deliver results for our clients.

Domain Focus

The scale & scope of our operations is focussed on Apparel, Textile & Fashion. Specifically we bring to the table... valuable domain expertise in the fields of Apparel manufacturing, Textile manufacturing & Fashion retail.

  • Apparel Manufacturing View More
     
    The Apparel manufacturing industry today faces many challenges. Buyers are continually demanding shorter lead times. In many instances large volume orders are giving way to moderate to small volumes with multiplicity of styles. Quality norms are becoming stricter by the day. Delivering on time has become of paramount importance. A majority of the manufacturers face the below challenges in their day to day operations

    On time delivery

    On time deliveries (the original delivery dates as given in the PO) are well below 50% for the industry as a whole, with companies struggling to avoid air-freight & discounts.

    Frequent Fire-fighting

    A significant portion of top management time is lost in expediting delayed orders whether in the supply chain (due to delayed raw material arrival) or on the shop floor.

    Incomplete Inputs for starting Production

    Complete raw materials (fabrics & accessories) never arrive "as one set" for starting production for an order. Some components are always missing on the "Planned cut Date", with production managers either being forced to start production with incomplete components or take into production, alternate styles not on delivery priority.
     
    This leads to situations - where the order is partly made & is waiting on the shop floor for the missing component. The incomplete order blocks the "production capacity" of the shop floor. Since the order is started, stopped & restarted, storage, handling & accountability issues also kick in, affecting both the quality & on-time delivery of the order.
     
    In other instances due to "incomplete inputs" the shop floor 1st goes idle & generally towards end of week or month works over time, day & night to compensate for time lost & to meet delivery commitments.

    Quality problems

    Despite inspections at multiple points, quality problems arise from time to time, whether in supply chain - in terms of raw material quality or in finishing or processing ( washing ), in value added processes ( such as embroidery & printing ) or even in sewing at the shop floor.

    Changeover

    A lot of productive time is lost on the shop floor due to changeover of styles. Frequently a new style hits peak production only on the 2nd day or the 3rd day. By then the production ends & a new style has to be introduced. All above factors combine to massively reduce the "effective capacity" of the shop floor.
     
    Most companies attempt to tackle these challenges by emphasising on efficiency ... in other words focussing on continual utilisation of machines. Thus, whether it is the supply chain or the shop floor, the emphasis is to flood them with orders. Thus, to maximise efficiency & lower the cost per minute, "large batches" of orders are naturally preferred everywhere.....from the supply chain to the shop floor.
     
    To make larger batches, every department tends to group orders of similar type (styling, construction, same fabric type or even colour) & works on them, in an attempt to maximise its own efficiency / performance. Thus many orders are pulled ahead of their priority to make a bigger batch & hence produced ahead of time - while some priority orders are left behind due to smaller volumes...and get delayed.
     
    This leads to a situation where many departments despite working long hours produce wrong priority merchandise, jeopardising deliveries of priority orders.
     
    All above factors work in tandem to create a situation where:
     
    A lot of Inventory / WIP present everywhere - along the supply chain as also the shop floor. Many production orders are simultaneously processed, yet not shipped out on the "original delivery dates". Factories struggle to avoid air-freight & cancellations.
     
    Due to high WIP Lead time for completion of orders increases.
     
    Quality problems also erupt, often in the last minute, further causing delivery delays & shortages
     
    The order to ship ratio is often not good with many pieces going into rework & rejection.
     
    Due to the larger lead times, cash to cash cycle elongates & this in turn increases the requirement for working capital.
     
    Due to elongation of the cash to cash cycle the factory faces liquidity issues from time to time; hence working capital becomes a challenge.
     
    All the above factors combine to lower the profitability & the ROI of the company.
     

    The direction of Solution

    Most conventional "Lean implementation programs" focus their implementation efforts only on the shop floor, aiming to increase efficiency. Given the inherent nature of the industry, order volumes are smaller & every 2nd or 3rd day a new order comes into shop floor for production. The real challenge lies in the supply chain to coordinate & get all raw materials to the shop floor as one set at the same time. The challenge thus lies, not at the shop floor but "across the entire supply chain".
     
    Our solution elements are comprehensive & encompass both the supply chain as well as the shop floor. The key elements of the solution in sequence are:
     
    Implementation of the CK (complete Kit) concept - across the supply chain level. This brings about synchronisation in the supply chain & all material required for an order are available for production to "shop floor" as one set - called CK ( complete kit)
     
    Implementation of a Single Priority System for order execution across the company. The Single Priority System spans across both the supply chain & the shop floor.
     
    Implementation on shop floor to introduce Quality at Source, Cellular layouts & Rapid changeover for increased productivity.
     
    Implementation of the Solution Elements typically delivers the following results:
     
    Due date performance ( DDP ) goes up to above 90%
     
    Lead times become significantly shorter - in some cases they are reduced to half the industry standard lead times of 90-110 days
     
    Execution of orders happens with Single priority system across both supply chain & the shop floor.
     
    Due to continuous feeding & quality improvements, productivity on the shop floor increases substantially
     
    Inventory levels reduce - to the tune of 40%, substantially freeing up working capital
     
    Sales increase by 30% - 40% within existing capacity, people & time, with marginal Operating Expense increase
     
    Leading to substantial increase in Profitability
  • Textile Manufacturing
  • Retail Supply Chain View More
     
    The retail market is getting very tough, with sales, either remaining stagnant or even decreasing. With very high retail rental/lease rates (Brick and mortar stores) and competing products in the market, the operating expenses are very difficult to recover. Hence break-even becomes a very big challenge.
     
    At the outset, product price seems to be the differentiator. Discounts are everywhere. Where is the business going?
     
    Let's understand the environment of a retailer better
     
    In a typical retail network, inventories are pre-ordered months ahead of the season with forecasted quantities. These arrive at the Distribution Centre and are then allocated to stores depending on its size, location etc.
     
    After a certain period of sale time, we witness that for the "Best Selling Style" - sell through of about 60%, peak sales happen in about 3-4 weeks and size breakage (starts in the 5th week. Then the merchandize
     
    is "off Ranged" and a new style is introduced to the shelf (Online display). There is potential sales lost that is very rarely measured. Even if it is measured, there is no chance of buying more of the same style as the lead-time of the supply chain is near 12-15 weeks. The entire inventory that is leftover is sold with further discounts (At par with purchase costs or sometimes even below) through EOSS. Now, there are styles that perform very poorly compared to the predicted Rate of Sales. These styles take precious shelf space (Initial few pages of the online-
     
    retailer) & deliver very low returns on the investment made. This phenomenon bloats up the working capital and blocks the Open to buy (OTB) of the company. In order to ensure more flow of cash, the retail chain uses tactics like EOSS etc to get rid of the excessive inventory. This process achieves inventory reduction but has negative ramifications of low margins. The impact of this is very evident on the very thin bottom-line. Normally, we see a trend that more than 70% of retail chain's forecasted inventory is
     
    a slow mover hence sold at discounts. The 30% of the inventory that is sold at higher margins takes the load of the under performing 70%. This has negative impacts on the companie's profits and hence the ROI.
     
    Why are the actual demand patterns different from the forecasts made?
     
    Forecasting is a mathematical-statistical process intended to determine information about the future. Often overlooked is the fact that this is only partial information. How does statistics deal with an uncertain phenomenon, such as future sales? General statistical tools typically require at least two parameters to describe uncertain behavior: the average and the standard deviation from the average. The two parameters take input from past sales, topography, weather and other numerous factors.
     
    One of the Laws of forecasting is that "Forecasts are never Accurate". As the forecasting horizon increases, the forecasting error increases. This causes shortage of inventory or surplus of it. Some of the traditional methods used to improve forecasting include, implementing software driven supply chain optimization tool, relying heavily on the gut of the buyers, pricing the product differently, etc.
     

    Direction of our solution

    The solution we are proposing to implement focuses on establishing FLOW (Reducing Lead Times) from the manufacturer to the retail shelf (Online display). Establishing Flow ensures higher forecast accuracy (closer to season) and capability in the supply chain to react to changes in consumer demand faster.
     

    Elements of our Solution

    Shorten the supply response time with your suppliers (This will reduce forecasting error to a very large extent)
     
    Capitalize on a shorter, more reliable response time to really lower the inventory level to respond to quickly to consumer demand.
     
    Stabilize the inventory levels per location.
     
    Manage the tail of leftovers & initiate new product introductions.
     
    With our implementation, a retailer would see a ROI of the business improving multifold, enabling the opening of more stores.
     
    Our role involves breaking this vicious cycle Shortage and Surplus of inventory through the deployment of Lean and Theory of constraints (TOC) solutions to implement systems and processes. The solutions elements bring about not only bring about increase sales, but also reduce the working capital deployed. We ensure that an appropriate amount of inventory is procured and sales losses are minimal.
 

Our team's industry expertise has been garnered over many many years of practical shop floor interactions, further reinforced by a wide & varied exposure spread over diverse countries & environments.