Arrow and the Apparel Industry

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Executive Masters Program in Business Administration (E-MBA) (Semester II)

Note :- Solve any 4 Case Study
All Case Carry equal Marks.

CASE STUDY ATTEMPTED II, IV, VI, VII

CASE II

ARROW AND THE APPAREL INDUSTRY

Ten years ago, Arvind Clothing Ltd., a subsidery of Arvind Brands Ltd., a member of the Ahmedabad based Lalbhai Group, signed up with the 150-year old Arrow Company, a division of Cutlet Peabody & Co. Inc., US, for licensed manufacture of Arrow shirts in India. What this brought to India was not just another premium dress shirt brand but new manufacturing philosophy to its garment industry which combined high productivity, stringent in-line quality control, and a conducive factory ambience.

Arrow’s first plant, with a 55,000 sq. ft. area and capacity to make 3,000 to 4,000 shirts a day, was established at Bangalore in 1993 with an investment of Rs. 18 crore. The conditions inside – with good lighting on the workbenches, high ceilings, ample elbow room for each worker, and plenty of ventilation, were a decided contrast to the poky, crowded, and confined sweatshops characterizing the usual Indian apparel factory in those days. It employed a computer system for translating the designed shirt’s dimensions to automatically mark the master pattern for initial cutting of the fabric layers. This was installed, not to save labour but to ensure cutting accuracy and low wastage of cloth.

The over two-dozen quality checkpoints during the conversion of fabric to finished shirt was unique to the industry. It is among the very few plants in the world that makes shirts with 2 ply 140s and 3 ply 100s cotton fabrics using 16 to 18 stitches per inch. In March 2003, the Bangalore plant could produce stain-repellant shirts based on nanotechnology.

The reputation of this plant has spread far and wide and now it is loaded mostly with export orders from renowed global brands such as GAR, Next, Espiri, and the like. Recently the plant was identified by Tommy Hilfiger to make its brand of shirts for the Indian market. As a result, Arvind Brands has had to take over four other factories in Bangalore on wet lease to make the Arrow brand of garments for the domestic market.

In fact, the demand pressure from global brands which want to out outscore from Arvind Brands, is so great that the company has had to set up another large for export jobs on the outskirts of Bangalore. The new unit of 75,000 sq. ft. has cost Rs. 16 crore and can turn out 8,000 to 9,000 shirts per day. The technical collaborates are the renowned C&F Italia of Italy.

Among the cutting edge technologies deployed here are a Gerber make CNC fabric cutting machine, automatic collar and cuff stitching machines, pneumatic holding for tasks like shoulder joining, threat trimming and bottom hemming, a special machine to attach and edge stitch the back yoke, foam finishers which use air and steam to remove creases in the finished garment, and many others. The stitching machines in this plant can deliver up to 25 stitches per inch. A continuous monitoring of the production process in the entire factory is done through a computerized apparel production management system, which is hooked to every machine. Because of the use of such technology, this plant will need only 800 persons for a capacity which is three that of the first plant which employs 580 persons.

Exports of garments made for global brands fetched Arvind Brands over Rs. 60 crore in 2002, and this can double in the next few years, when the new factory goes on full stream. In fact, with the lifting of the country-wise quota regime in 2005, there will be a surge in demand for high quality garments from India and Arvind is already considering setting up two more such high tech export-oriented factories....
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