10 reasons why plans fail in the Apparel Industry

Author: Muhammad Nurul Alam

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

The above is a great quote about the importance of planning by Abraham Lincoln. Because hard work will not provide always big success unless one puts his efforts in a way that can indicate the way-map for the journey and touch the end line by the specific time.

In the garment industry, the cost and time are now a big concern for the business runner in Bangladesh. The overhead cost is now getting higher and higher compared to the previous year in the industry, but the demand has been observed from the retailer to give less price for the upcoming business. The survival strategy is still not upgraded to minimize cost in production by most industry planners. The management is hiring production planners to optimize waist and reduction of costs, but the ultimate result is not much satisfactory due to numerous reasons. Because planning requires a lot of discipline, practical thinking, attention to detail, and possibility thinking. There are possible 10 reasons why plans fail

01. Goals that do not represent reality:

Goals must be realistic, comprehensive, detailed, crystal clear, measurable, and achievable. Otherwise, there might be the plan will end up in failure due to improper planning and poor execution. And ultimately not reaching goals results are negative emotions: disappointment, frustration, and feeling like a failure.

For example – the Bangladesh garment industry mostly depends on outside sources for raw materials. So, if any of the materials fail to meet the anticipated timeline due to planning beyond reality then nothing can save the monetary losses along with overall investment.

02. Frequent changes to the original plan:

At present apparel industry is running to reduce production lead time to fill the empty basket with new orders but sometimes frequent changes to the original plan can be the reason for atomic blasts and disasters in the apparel business. Production with a short lead time should not be set with a new plan repeatedly during the implementation because the phase will lead to many problems and resource constraints.

3. Unforeseen events:

Production in the apparel industry is sometimes unpredictable but the experience may help the unforeseen event to define. But not all planner is able to understand the unforeseen event and fail to manage the situation. An apparel merchandiser must be kept and well known in all production processes including unforeseen events. Because without backup plans and alternative solutions, T&A plans may fail and avoiding the deserter is not possible.

4. Changes in the global politics and economy:

Russia-Ukraine war halted the world economic wheel that was beyond prediction and the impact appeared on the apparel market to cut the budget. The planners in the Bangladesh garment industry waiting with empty space of capacity but struggling to survive now. Changes that happen in the macro environment of a country or the world often render the plans ineffective and useless. Another big example of global macro change is CORONNA virus. So, planners should not have to be overwhelmed to see order flow at the beginning of the year and that the end also will be continuing the same.

5. Monetary and time constraints:

The apparel industry runs for its monetary issue and all expenses on the LC or letter of credit and the system was developed to keep an uninterrupted production process that never stops materials supply. But the financial flow in the industry sometimes goes with empty pockets while money can only run the production for successful delivery.

Inefficient expenditure and lack of budget for the production will not help any planner to exhibit a successful production and due time delivery. So budget and expenditure must be according to a preserved production plan.  

6. Lack of proper combination of Expertise and skills

The apparel industry fails to recruit experts or skilled and knowledgeable people to perform specialized tasks there might be the possibility to fail to the delivery date and ultimately penalties and liabilities end up in profits as well as investments. The foremost impotent planner and performer in the garment industry is the Merchandiser then the related expert in the production to execute the orders. But a common scenario that has been seen Merchandisers are sometimes not able to follow the Action plan due to lack of experience or due to being overburdened with endless tasks. Lacking expertise in the apparel industry is the major concern for the failure of T&A though people from a neighboring country are working as expert mid-level man powers are always kept untrained because training is considered expensive rather than the failure of the action plan. 

7. Unrealistic expectations:

With an aim to save time and money many times Garment industry sets make unrealistic plans and set unrealistic goals. Also, they set unrealistic expectations from their employees during the implementation, resulting in errors in production, quality problem, and a haphazard situation that runs the entire business below the margin sometimes cutting the investment with a big loss.

8. Improper time distribution in the production plan:

In most cases, planners in the garments industry allocate enough time for the material collections whereas for sewing or completion of products never distribute the same proportionate of time. Sometimes, plans are hastily made, without properly identifying priority areas and proper accountability. Sometimes, these problems are detected very late in the implementation phase, resulting in loss of money, time and effort.

9. Lack of control and discipline

Plans are to be executed by the people who are appointed for particular tasks but if they are not properly guided or fail to maintain discipline then any of the best plans will fail. Those who are tasked with the implementation of the plan have a greater responsibility upon their shoulders to make it successful. If they are not up to the mark, the plan will fail.

10. Group dynamism and coherent work

The apparel industry requires group effort, dynamism, cooperation, and contribution by interlinking in different production units. If coherent work could not be established among the units, if there are problems in communication or conflict resolution, or if there are leadership or motivational problems resulting in plans being unsuccessful.  

In sum up – Planning requires adequate observation, preparation, and careful calculation to meet uninterrupted product delivery. The most important point for the planning is the information, which goes into the planning as vital to its successful execution. Preparation for a successful plan may need specialized knowledge and skills which has a broader scope and involves many people and processes.