I just got back from a trip to Puebla Mexico to check out a factory that will be doing production for my current project.
I may have been in every industrial backwater in the world from Pakistan to Malaysia via China and India. This place in Mexico was wonderful in comparison to some of the manufacturing areas I have seen, where the ditches run green with effluent and wild pigs cavort in the dusty rags caught in scraggy weeds on vacant lots, next door to the pitted rusting factory. Did I mention that it might be monsoon season and you would be wading thru the muck to get there?
This factory was very clean, modern, and well lit by the skylights you can see bisecting the roof above the main floor. Someone who is much smarter than I am about the industrialization of design flew in to set up the manufacturing lines for the dresses we are about to produce.
Here is the first set up with the machines placed in the order of operation. Those bits of cardboard that you see to the side of each machine have a swatch showing the exact operation required at that machine as a reference. Each operation is timed so that the total amount of time per garment can be calculated. Only then can the real actual cost for the garment be established. Until this step is taken, its all estimated.
Here’s a line set up for a simple tee shirt running on the floor while we were there.
After the garments come off the machine, they are individually checked and loose threads clipped before going to pressing. I like the stand up angled tables this factory uses, and the fact that the mounds of finished pieces are not allowed to become overwhelming. Some places I have been there are huge ziggurats of shirts threatening to engulf the checkers. Just having that never-ending pile would be enough to depress me. In this factory, although the women are on their feet, at least the angled table makes the laying out the garment easier, and relieves neck strain from bending over the table.
We left the factory at the end of the afternoon, with the sun still shining on the cornfield next door. Within 20 minutes the seasonal daily downpour started. Once back in Puebla town, the streets were running rivers, and we had to turn back from a few intersections where cars were completely flooded out. A Mexican monsoon moment that was over almost as quickly as it had begun.