Fabritex is a company that produces various types of textiles for different purposes. Its customers are other manufacturers who sell their products to retailers or in independent outlets. One of the key Fabritex’s customers in the segment of UK lingerie warp knit is Pearlwear, a large company operating in Europe and Southeast Asia. The case study under consideration presents Fabritex’s strategy directed toward increasing its share in the supply chain of Pearlwear, which is currently 14%. Fabritex operations contribute to the prosperity of the Perlwear business, but some issues have to be addressed to increase operations performance.
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Fabritex Operations’ Support of the Pearlwear Business
- Providing with Materials. Fabritex is one of three or four main suppliers of fabrics that Pearlwear uses in its manufacturing. Although Fabritex’s share in the Pearlwear total business is only 14%, it is a sole supplier of several types of fabrics, which means that Fabritex supports the need of the Pearlwear business in specific products. Furthermore, Fabritex supplies Pearlwear with innovative fabrics that look good and have excellent technical performance.
- Ensuring the Quality of Production. Fabritex understands that to remain competitive among Pearlwear’s suppliers, it has to maintain high standards of quality of its production. If Fabritex fails to provide Pearlware with fabrics of proper quality, it may damage the Pearlware brand name and lead it to dissolve its business partnership with Fabritex. Since the Pearlware sales constitute £4.2 million, which is about a quarter of the total sales within the segment of UK lingerie warp knit, Fabritex must meet the quality standards of its business partner.
- Improving Communication between Companies. Fabritex operations make efforts to meet the company’s strategic goal, which is to increase its share in Pearlwear sales, by improving the communication with Pearlwear’s employees at all levels. John Watson, the sales and marketing director of Fabritex, stated that designers working for Pearlwear had a significant influence in defining the preferred supplier of fabrics. If designers have sympathy for Fabritex and are in good relationships with its staff, Pearlwear will be more likely to purchase orders from Fabritex.
- Organizing the delivery of Products. Operations managers in any company are supposed to be concerned not only about their suppliers and customers but also about their suppliers’ suppliers and their customers’ customers. Therefore, Fabritex facilitates the work of operations managers of Pearlwear by organizing their operations on their own. However, Fabritex has a significant problem with the delivery of products since it often supplies Pearlwear with fabrics later than the promised delivery date. This problem is a serious obstacle on the way to obtaining a greater share in Pearlwear sales.
Insights into the Origins and Resolution of Operations Performance
Fabritex’s main problem with operation performance is the failure to deliver orders on the promised delivery date. The data presented in the case study shows that out of 56 orders purchased by Pearlwear, the major part was delivered later than the customer’s required date. As Mike Stewart, the operations director, remarked, the delay was caused by several issues:
- Pearlwear’s pattern of orders was very unpredictable since it purchased some fabrics on an irregular basis. Therefore, Fabritex could never know for sure how much raw materials it should store in its inventory and could not handle an urgent order due to the limited capacity of the equipment.
- The second reason for delays was changeover losses that were especially crucial when there was little time to complete an order. After one fabric was made, workers had to stop the machine and make it ready for producing another piece of fabric. During this time, the machine produced no output, which led to the loss of time that could be spent on manufacturing.
- Another problem concerned with delivery delays was that the dyeing plant, at which Fabritex dyed produced fabrics, was situated 12 miles away from the plant, at which the fabric was knitted.
The information about the causes of delivery issues provides insights into the origins of the existing problems with Fabritex operations performance. It also gives several insights into the resolution to operations performance:
- When there is a choice between several suppliers, the customer usually chooses the one that can deliver goods on the day closest to the promised delivery date. Therefore, since Fabritex wants to get a greater share of Pearlwear sales, collaboration and improved communication between Fabritex and Pearlwear are necessary. If Pearlwear manages to predict the demand for its products among its customers, it will be able to purchase orders from Fabritex on a more regular basis. As a result, Fabritex will be able to adapt its production processes to a particular volume of output, thus reducing the possibility of delays.
- Another thing to consider to improve operations performance is to decide on prices that would be more appealing to Pearlwear.
- Fabritex can expand the product range to become the second supplier of fabrics that are currently being produced by a single supplier.
To sum up, Fabritex operations supports the needs of the Pearlwear business by providing it with materials, ensuring the quality of production, improving communication between the companies, and organizing the delivery of products. Fabritex operations performance has an issue with delayed delivery of goods. The insights into the resolution of the operations performance include an improved collaboration of the companies, offering attractive prices, and producing new types of fabrics.