This newsletter is compiled by the E-Co Challenge Team to communicate to both project collaborators and other interested parties recent project activities. For further information please contact any one of the partners.
E-Co Challenge is a DTI Sector Challenge research project initiative involving the Manchester Metropolitan University and Cranfield University. In addition we have seven industrial collaborators: Coats Viyella Clothing, Tencel, Bhs, Courtaulds Textiles, Speedo and Kenneth Fogg Ltd. These collaborators are involved in various stages of the textile supply chain, and represent a range of company sizes.
The prime objective of this two year research project (Dec 1997-1999) is to greatly improve the competitiveness of the UK textiles and clothing sector enabling the move towards improved standards of quality, efficiency and environmental performance in both operations and product design.
The project is concerned with novel approaches to the product development activity, particularly, Concurrent Product Development (CPD) and Design for the Environment (DfE) practices. Conventional approaches to product development in the textiles and clothing industry have been characterised by functional independence with each participant contributing to the process sequentially. This can often result in excessive costs and rework in production associated with late stage design changes. This project draws upon examples of successful CPD and DfE implementation in other industry sectors, in particular electronics, and explores some of the potential benefits to the UK textile and clothing industry of adopting this approach.
First Collaborators Meeting held at Cranfield University, Jan 1998.
Representation from DTI, BHS, CV Clothing, TENCEL, Courtaulds Textiles and Speedo International.
To date we have organised two workshops for our collaborators. The first held in January 1998 introduced all the companies to the concept and principles of Concurrent Product Development (CPD).
The second workshop held in September 1998 was on the theme of Process Modelling. This was a very successful day with each company contributing to the industry-wide process model that the team is developing. We felt it was important to involve all our industrial collaborators, to explore the process model, and to help us to make any necessary modifications. The outcomes of this day have been incorporated into a Best Practise Process Model report which we recently submitted to the DTI (December 1998).
The E-Co Challenge Team recently completed their first case study with Coats Viyella Clothing.
Case Study 1: Coats Viyella Clothing Developments
The first of the three E-Co Challenge case studies conducted within CV Clothing (CVC) is now completed. The company was particularly interested to introduce CPD techniques. We began with a CPD tool implementation workshop at the end of April. The E-Co Team have continued to evaluate and test procedures and tools for CPD through a series of team-based workshop activities (May, June & October) in order to produce a case study of better practice
CVC are now at the stage where they feel there is a viable way forward using the CPD tools and methods, in terms of a strategic move forward for the company, and to achieve real cost benefits. They are planning to make changes for the A/W 99 season. CVC have gained approval from their customer to go ahead with the product. The initial results from this pilot project were presented by the CVCs CPD design team at a one day Technical and Design Forum for CVC senior managers, and at a separate meeting to their CEO, who is fully on board with this project. This was repeated for the benefit of our other collaborators during the Process Modelling event which took place on 1st September at Cranfield University.
CV Clothing Product Development Team Meeting, involving design, commercial, sales and technical personnel.
The overall success of this first case study has contributed to winning the confidence of our other industrial collaborators, and the E-Co Challenge team have some real achievements to promote to the sector to illustrate the merits and financial benefits of adopting this approach.
Case Study 2:
Example of an advertising campaign used by Tencel (Source: Tencel Web site)
In December 1998 we met with our industrial representatives from Tencel in order to update them on our progress to date, and also to stimulate ideas and to promote discussion on the selection of their case study project. We have been modelling and analysing the product development process for some time, in order to gain explicit understanding of their product development activity. We have observed that there are existing tools available within the company which we feel can be successfully adapted to allow for CPD and DfE implementation. Presently a system exists which aids manufacturing activity. Both the E-Co Challenge team and Tencel believe this system can successfully be adapted to help improve product development activity.
We are meeting with Tencel again in January at which time we hope to be able to make plans to set up the project which will be used for the pilot study.
Case Study 3: BHS Developments
We met with BHS in November in order to update them on our progress to date, and to discuss our ideas on the selection of their case study. We feel it is particularly important to involve one of their UK suppliers in this pilot project.
We have been exploring some tools for co-development, that is the ability to develop competitive products in partnership with their suppliers. It is likely that this pilot project will commence around March this year.
LATC Conference Feedback
In November 1998 Jo Heeley and Tracy Bhamra from the E-Co Challenge Team attended the Local Action for Textiles, Clothing and Footwear (LATCF) Conference in Glasgow. This annual event was attended by people from a variety of backgrounds including industrialists, academics, trade unionists, local authority councillors and workers.
The conference had a packed programme, which started with a video presentation from John Battle, Minister for Energy and Industry, re-stating the governments commitment to the industry. This was followed by three presentations which examined ways industry could take a more strategic approach to increase their competitiveness. Peter Brooks of William Baird Plc illustrated the improvements his company has made by introducing a Total Quality system. Niall Campbell from the British Footwear Association presented a case study of the way in which Barkers Shoes Ltd had increased competitiveness by taking a marketing-led approach to their product.
Jo and Tracy organised one of the workshops that followed lunch. They explored ways industry could improve competitiveness by addressing issues at the product development stage. This practical hands-on workshop involved all participants taking part in the development and construction of a garment. The E-Co Challenge project and its results to date were also promoted during this workshop.
In the afternoon session speakers included Dick Horrocks from Bolton Institute who spoke about new fabric innovations. Philip Stuckley from Diffusion Textiles discussed how his company had established niche markets through the development of specialist high performance textiles.
Attendees taking part in a workshop at LATCF Conference run by the E-Co Challenge Team
Day two started at a more leisurely pace with the choice of a visit to local company Bairdswear Ltd or attending a workshop. The workshop entitled "Designing the Future" looked at partnerships between the Nottingham Fashion Centre and local schools to encourage children to consider working in the textile industry.
The second half of the day concentrated on European Structural funds such as Regional Aid and how it was likely to benefit the industry in the future.
The LATCF had a very successful conference with all attendees feeling that they had once again gained some fresh new insights on the industry.
Contact details for the LATCF:
52 Byram Arcade,
Tel: 01484 450146
Fax: 01484 450146
We would like to encourage contributions from all our collaborators. If you havent the time to write you may prefer to send images with extended captions. Also if you hear of interesting events, exhibitions or new developments please let us know and we can circulate this information.
The following E-Co Challenge events are being planned for 1999:
Design for the Environment Conference and Workshop
Target Audience: Event for collaborators
Date: March 1999
Venue: To be confirmed
E-Co Challenge Feedback & Review
Target Audience: Event for Collaborators
Date: December 1999
Venue: To be confirmed
Other conferences which may be of interest include:
The Textile Industry: Winning Strategies for the New Millennium.
79th Textile Institute World Conference
Date: February 10-13 1999
Venue: Chennai, India
Further Details: India National Office
Fax: +91422 211 004
Managing Design for Strategic Innovation.
The 3rd European International Conference On Design Management
Date: March 14 - 16, 1999
Further Details: http://www.dmi.org/conferences
European Academy of Design 3rd International Conference.
Date: 30 March 1st April 1999
Venue: Sheffield Hallam University
Further Details: Tel: 0114 225 2669
Interfaces in Fashion
Second Annual Conference of the Research Alliance of Fashion and Textiles (RAFT)
Date: June 9th 1999
Venue: Armitage Centre, Manchester
Further Details: Fax 0161 247 6329 for the attention of Gaynor Lea-Greenwood
For further information please contact anyone of the following partners:
Dr David Tyler
Dept. Clothing, Design & Technology
Manchester Metropolitan University
Old Hall Lane,
Manchester, M14 6HR
T: +44 (0) 161 247 2636
F: +44 (0)161 247 6329
Dr Jo Heeley
Manchester Metropolitan University
Manchester, M15 6BJ
T: +44 (0) 161 247 1965
F: +44 (0) 161 247 6867
Dr Tracy Bhamra
School of Industrial & Manufacturing Science,
Bedfordshire, MK43 0AL.
T: +44 (0) 1234
F: +44 (0) 1234 750852
The E-Co Team with Alison Walker from the DTI (second left)
and Professor Steve Evans from Cranfield University (far left).
For additional copies of the newsletter and to be added to the mailing list, please contact one of the partners listed above.