In the current economic climate, the greatest hurdle to starting your own clothing factory may in-fact be a lack of confidence, not money. Just tune into SAFM daily and you will hear the Incentives SA ad announcing that our government wants to fuel job creation. They are eager to fund your business, especially if your in the manufacturing sector.
So why the lack of confidence?……
You may be scared that you won’t have enough work to sustain your business- you may feel that you do not have enough knowledge about all aspects of the business- you may feel that the risk is too great because clothing companies have been in decline over last few years – you may feel that the unions make it tough to run a successful business. These feelings are warranted because you have realised that the forest has burnt down and all that remains are little pockets of shrubbery in this environment that we call the clothing industry.
However there is great hope to be found within a space called the Technology Station in Clothing and Textiles (TSCT) – a place where amazing things are happening.
The Technology Station in Clothing and Textiles (TSCT) is located in the Faculty of Engineering at Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Bellville Campus. The TSCT was established to provide innovation support to the clothing and textile industry to become more competitive. This would directly provide feedback into the teaching, learning and research at the University of Technology (UoT) by engaging staff and students in its programmes and thus UoTs become responsive to industry needs. The main sponsor of the TSCT is the Technology Innovation Agency. (www.tia.org.za )
In 2004 with support from GTZ (German Agency for Technical Cooperation) the TSCT undertook an analysis of the Clothing and Textiles value chain using a methodology known as RALIS (Rapid Appraisal of Local Innovation Systems). This was done to understand the issues that hamper the industries competitiveness. Ten key proposals were established which the TSCT used as a guideline to determine its strategic focus. The following range of specific services is provided to the clothing, textiles and related sectors:
• Manufacturing advisory services
• Technology platform
• Production testing and analysis
• Human capital development
• Product development
• Smart organisation
Here are 5 reasons why I say that the TSCT is truly amazing if you need help and guidance:
1. It is an incubator for start-up clothing companies where manufacturing equipment,facilities and advice are provided .
2. It is a place where you can learn everything on how to be a successful clothing manufacturer due to a variety of certified short courses as well as a full time diploma and degree course.
3. All the technology (available for business use) are cutting edge- such as 3d body scanners, automated jet pocket machines, sonic welding for swimwear and even a fully equipped testing lab, to mention a few.
4.If you have secured funding for your business, the TSCT will help you make the correct decision about machinery and equipment that should be purchased as well as help you with your plant layout and set-up.
5. Small businesses are partly subsidised by the TSCT for many of the training courses, product testing, pattern development and product development.
The Rand’s value has dropped and things are in favour of local manufacturing due to retailers feeling the squeeze of importing. Imports are becoming more expensive and when problems occur, very difficult to return as the transportation alone is 3 months. So retailers are forced to take poor quality clothing when it comes to imports.
The time is now to rebuild this industry. If you’re thinking of starting your own CMT, the TSCT is a great place to get some hand-holding for you to do it right the first time.
The ground is more fertile after the forest has burnt down – so lets germinate.
PS. We fully support the Buy Back SA initiative.