Barcelos which is located in Minho province, 40 kms from the Spanish border on the Portuguese part of the path “Camino de Santiago is a town with 60 surrounding parishes and is known as an important center for textile and apparel manufacturing. Barcelos is the place where Claudia Sousa and Miguel Sousa built their business in 2001. The 40-year-old self-made man Miguel and his wife Claudia a accomplished women have created new milestones in the world of clothing manufacturing. Starting from a humble beginning as a retail shop with some tailoring services to becoming a respectable fashion brand that has gained international attention the company has come a long way.
The company specializes in offering products like tops and bottom, dresses, fancy pieces manufactured from a variety of jersey fabrics and other types of knitwear. However, what makes Miguel Sousa Confeçcoes S.A. different is the extra fine quality of manufacturing and the ability to offer services from design/product development, purchasing of fabrics and trims all the way to the ready product, labeled and packed as per the customer’s requirements. Yet then in particular fashion brands from Scandinavia rely as well on the high-quality seam processing over long-term partnerships with Miguel Sousa.
With 50 employees, sewing (beside sample production) outsourced to a total of up to 17 subcontractors and a huge variety of styles and colours in the pipeline the company sees itself continuously confronted with high demands of handling orders. The company has around 20 permanent customers and has a production capacity of about 40,000 pieces per month.
Together they are evaluating the possibilities of having state-of- the- art automation solutions for various projects, followed by systematic testing and have invested in premium technology which has added on to the growth of business over the years. “Our decision pro Gerber as our technology partner of choice has repeatedly proven to be the best possible way to sustainably secure the continued existence and development of our business”, said Miguel Sousa. “We grew up with Gerber Technology and that‘s also because of the top-class process-oriented consulting and reliable service provided by the Gerber team on site here at Portugal.”
Integrated Processing leads to 25 – 30% increased productivity
And then there was a strong interest when the global technology provider Gerber that has presence in more than 130 countries introduced the innovative ‚Cut-ticket Option‘ , implemented a fully integrated solution from AccuMark pattern design and AccuNest optimized markers to material spreading right through to automated cutting. That logical strategic step for the fashion manufacturer towards significant process improvement was completed in 2017. Today the stringent and fully controllable process sequence is as follows:
For the upcoming processing of a number of orders
- Cut plans are getting developed in AccuMark
- Followed by marker making and optimizing via AccuNest.
- AccuMark generates a printed cut ticket with barcode per order.
- Scanning of the cut ticket barcode to retrieve spread details.
- Gerber’s Label ID applies piece and cut ticket label to the spread or to different layers within the multi-colour spread
- AccuPlan to generate optimized cut-order-plan in accordance to overall workflow, lead times and other aspects more
- PARAGON cutter software to provide easy access right at the screen to all relevant job details and metrics.
“Given the variety of materials and colours we have the integrated process now in place has a major impact on the output as we are able increase productivity by 25 to 30%”, stressed Miguel Sousa. He emphasizes on drastic reduction of overtime by actual 90%, whilst in passed days having appeared inevitable in peak times.
On being questioned on how implementing Gerber has impacted the profitability of the company and ROI, Sousa replied, “Well, we increased our throughput by an average of 50% with the same amount of workforce. In addition to the associated monetary benefits, we are now able to respond much faster and easier to our customers which put us in a highly competitive and strong position.”
Miguel expressed with a complete satisfaction and said, “The Cut ticket application has supported the plans for further growth and development of the company to new levels. Also as a supplier of own brand products the technology has helped us in exceeding the expectations of our clients.”
Following new paths…
The spirit of innovation and new generation entrepreneurship is quite omnipresent when moving around at Miguel Sousa Confeçcoes S.A. a post-modern functional building, with amazingly quiet operations, where everybody seems to know exactly what to do.
And so we meet “him” – the Espírito de inovação as well over presentation of fabric tabs for a new product line i.e Organic cotton, fabrics produced from recycled plastic waste collected out of the sea, Oekotex- and GOT-certified fabrics with most attractive structures and prints are laying in front of us, developed by Portuguese Textile companies such as Vilartex and Sodlir – all of them connected with fashion companies via a major cluster collaboration initiated by the textile faculty of the Universidade do Minho. –
The University of Minho (Uminho) representing one of the “New Universities” that, at that time, deeply changed the landscape of higher education in Portugal. The level of the scientific, technological and cultural activity of the University has granted its international recognition. In particular for the textile and hence apparel segment researching among other segments intensively around all aspects related to protection of the environment, essential for the European textile industry.
But that‘s again another story from this particular region along the Camino de Santiago.
“Our decision pro Gerber as our technology partner of choice has repeatedly proven to be the best possible way to sustainably secure the continued existence and development of our business”, said Miguel Sousa. “We grew up with Gerber Technology and that‘s also because of the top-class process-oriented consulting and reliable service provided by the Gerber team on site here at Portugal. “