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Quality issues related to apparel mechandising in South Africa

The objectives of this study are to develop an understanding of the quality related issues and gaps relevant to apparel merchandising within the South African context, with a specific focus on Fabric Objective Measurement, a relatively new technology and one which could fruitfully be applied in South Africa, but which appears to have been largely neglected to date. Fabric Objective Measurement (FOM) represents a new generation of instrumentally measured parameters which provide a more complete picture of fabric quality, tailorability and clothing performance. The two main FOM systems, FAST and Kawabata, are discussed under FOM in terms of their applications, control charts and their worldwide utilisation. A literature review has been done on the global clothing sector as well as South African clothing industry. The research involved a questionnaire survey of, and interviews with major clothing and retail companies in South Africa with a specific focus on the gap in the South African clothing industry in terms of FOM and other quality related issues. The data and information so captured are presented graphically, statistically analyzed and interpreted, to arrive at the main conclusions and recommendations. Trubok, Newcastle, the only company in South Africa utilizing FOM, was visited in order to obtain hands on experience with the FAST system as operated in a mill. Two different fabrics were tested and the control charts obtained were interpreted. According to the analysis of the questionnaires and interviews, various conclusions could be drawn. When benchmarking a product, quality emerged as the first criterion, 100 percent retailers and manufacturers agreed to this. Most respondents stated that their fabric and garment testing is mostly done in-house while other respondents stated that their fabric and garment testing is mostly done by their respective suppliers. The most commonly used outside laboratories are SGS and ITS. Merchandising and quality complement each other and with proper quality assessment the merchandising workflow becomes smooth, easy and timely delivery of products. All of the respondents (100 percent) supported this fact. Retailers and manufacturers agreed that quality and merchandising are related to each other and hence helping those in achieving product benchmarking (statistically significant at 95 percent confidence level). Retailers and manufacturers conduct fabric and garment tests on a regular/routine basis and mostly use knitted and woven fabrics in garment making. In addition to the above, the worldwide manufacturers and suppliers of the FAST and Kawabata systems were approached to obtain data and information about the number of such systems sold worldwide and their fields of application. This information was considered important in promoting FOM in South Africa. Only one manufacturer is presently using FAST for quality control purposes. Of the manufacturers and retailers covered, most of them were either unfamiliar or totally unaware of FOM and its application. This indicates that there is considerable scope for introducing this highly advanced technology into the textile and clothing manufacturing and retail pipeline in South Africa. Most of the manufacturers and retailers (50 percent) intend to introduce certain new tests in future. The tests that they are planning to introduce in future may include FAST, which is fairly simple, reliable and productive, as well as enhancing the quality of the garment. If used, FOM can improve the quality and competitiveness on the international level which is currently lacking in the South African clothing sector.
Date January 2011
CreatorsDas, Sweta
PublisherNelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Faculty of Science
Source SetsSouth African National ETD Portal
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeThesis, Masters, MSc
Formatx, 161 leaves, pdf
RightsNelson Mandela Metropolitan University

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