In the fifth in a new, exclusive series of interviews from TexProcess 2013, our MD, Mark Harrop, talks to Dave Berry, Director of Sales and Marketing at GSD, about ‘Pre-Determined Time Standards’ (PTS), GSD QUEST, and market trends.
Mark Harrop: For a company like GSD, who work with brands and manufacturers, do you think that trade fairs like TexProcess still have a place, when there are methods for demonstrating software potentially just as well online?
Dave Berry: I think the jury is still out on that one. Certainly the justification for this type of event is more difficult and requires more and more thought each time we consider whether we will participate. As an International Standard though we do have some obligation to present ourselves at these events but these days try to do so as cost effectively as possible. Online presentations are a big part of our sales and marketing process today.
MH: I’ve been a qualified GSD practitioner for decades, but would you mind telling our readers – some of whom might not be as familiar with your company – precisely what GSD does and who you work with?
DB: GSD is a Time-Cost and Productivity Improvement solution based on a manufacturing methods analysis process known as “Pre-Determined Time Standards” or PTS for short. It helps our customers understand the times required for the manufacture of their products (usually garments but it can be any flexible product such as bags or shoes). These times are then used to optimize key processes such as; product development, costing, annual capacity planning, delivery forecasts, factory planning and line balancing. The standardisation of the production methods used to calculate the times are also used to improve quality of conformance and act as the basis for detailed continuous improvement and productivity improvement.
We have been in business for 37 years now and up until recently our solutions have been more focused on the demands of the garment manufacturers at the production level. However over the past 4 years we have seen an increasing demand from brands and retailers who want (and need) to take more responsibility for the manufacturing standards and associated costs of their products and to optimise the balance of direct and indirect manufacturing costs with the perceived value of those products by the consumer.
MH: And how is that all reflected in your actual software and solutions? What specifically is QUEST, and who is it intended for?
DB: GSD QUEST is a software solution which enables staff with little or no manufacturing expertise to develop a “time‐cost analysis” for a chosen apparel product through the use of standard product templates and a simple “drag and drop” approach. Used at an early stage in the product development cycle, design and cost variations can be compiled and assessed, and the optimum price‐performance balance achieved.
MH: What is the main difference between GSD QUEST and GSD Enterprise – your other software platform?
DB: There are in fact many differences but the main difference is that Enterprise can be used to generate new Operation and Feature time data whereas QUEST uses existing data either from an Enterprise system or from GSD Standard Method Libraries.
MH: Can you tell our readers a little more about Standard Method Libraries, and how many are available from GSD?
DB: QUEST Libraries include images, GSD (General Sewing Data) methods and GSD based international Standard Minutes Values (SMV’s) for each component, or feature. Used in conjunction with GSD QUEST software, GSD’s QUEST Libraries form the foundation of an industry standard labour costing solution which may be used by non-technical, costing and product development staff. At the moment we have released five libraries covering T‐shirts, polos, hoodies, casual and formal shirts, each library contains about 200‐250 features or components. Another three libraries covering jeans, cargo pants and shorts and jogging bottoms have been completed but not yet formally released and by the end of 2013 we aim to add underwear and intimate apparel before going on to more fashion oriented products like ladies’ blouses, skirts and dresses.
MH: It must be difficult to cater to every customer’s specific needs with Standard Method libraries. What happens if a customer can’t find the feature they are looking for, or needs to add a new feature to the standard libraries?
DB: Fashion by its very nature is always changing and there will be times when the exact feature is not available in the GSD standard product library. Of course if they also have GSD Enterprise then the new feature or element can be analysed fully and added to the database, but in the case where Enterprise is not available then the QUEST system allows the user to add a time estimate representing the difference between the selected feature and the new design. QUEST (a contraction of Quantified Estimate) separates the known quantified data from the estimated time so that a confidence level can be achieved for the new costing.
MH: What are the main benefits of using GSD – and QUEST specifically – for, say, a retailer or brand?
DB: Many brands and retailers are finding they need to understand the manufacturing costs of their products more clearly and need a benchmark to assess the many cost variations they find in their supply chain and conduct a “Fact Based Negotiation” which can only strengthen a strategic customer‐supplier relationship. QUEST allows both technical and non‐technical users to quickly develop a cost for a proposed new product and optimize that cost by choosing between different manufacturable components creating the right balance between cost and the perceived value of the product by the customer.
MH: And in terms of technological or market trends, is there anything in particular that you’ve noticed either here at the show or out in the field that you think will have a significant impact in the coming year or two? Supply chain and factory compliance is obviously a hot topic, in light of the tragic events in Bangladesh, for example.
DB: Yes and the trend is certainly for brands to want to understand more about the details of how their products are made and for any cost associated with say a standard production method to be developed further to acceptable international standard.
Over the past few years we have been involved in projects lead by leading retailers to improve productivity in low labour cost countries so that the benefits of higher productivity can be shared with the production workers and in the case of Bangladesh to help prevent this inherent cost cutting which unfortunately without proper regulation goes hand in hand in a downward spiral with poor efficiency and performance.