Fashion On Demand by Lectra and Balsan: technology takes uniform making to the next level

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To meet new challenges in the professional garment market and preserve over a century of savoir-faire, Balsan chose Lectra to modernize its production tools.

 

The challenge

A Groupe Marck company, Balsan designs and
manufactures corporate and ceremonial
clothing, tailored and customized uniforms,
and personal protective equipment and
clothing for the public and private sector
which comply with international standards.
The biggest challenge is to meet the
new expectations of customers who seek
increasing levels of customization with
ever-shorter time-to-market deadlines.
The professional garment sector is subject
to the same pressures as prêt-à-porter,
and Balsan’s challenge was to produce
customized clothing more quickly using
intelligent manufacturing methods.

 

Lectra’s response

Balsan was a pilot partner for the
Fashion On Demand by Lectra solution.
This alliance allowed Groupe Marck to
take a new approach, involving not only
the use of Fashion On Demand by Lectra’s
connected cutter, but upstream software
solutions as well, which are configured
based on the company’s needs to best
match its work methods while updating
and accelerating the production process.

 

Producing for professionals: customization and very tight
deadlines

The professional garment sector is highly diverse,
in terms of clothing types and the materials used.
The crafting techniques and ergonomics required
for a Republican Guard uniform are completely
different to those used for personal protective
clothing. Previously, we had to take an individualized
and time-consuming approach for each order.
Patterns that required several hours of adjustments
to each customer are now processed automatically
once our patternmakers receive the data. Stéphane
Quiniou, Industrial and Quality Director at Groupe
Marck, describes the modernization process:
“Lectra’s new solution allowed us to be far more
reactive, far more flexible, and to adapt more
quickly to specific requests from customers”.

 

Multi-site management: greater agility to prepare for
the future

Balsan’s activities are spread over several sites in
France and abroad, so the need for a multi-site
approach was evident when designing a plan
to modernize production tools, explained the
Industrial and Quality Director.

“We install machines at different sites and
would like to pilot them from our central office.
Our goal is to standardize cutting orders
and production across all of our sites. With
a simple click, the cutting order created in
Calais launches a specific action at our site in
Châteauroux. Being able to assign production
to a specific production line with the resources
and immediate availability needed to meet a
customer’s deadlines is key”.

 

Results

“Using a measurement chart, Fashion On
Demand by Lectra allowed us to generate
well-adapted and customized patterns
with which to produce our garments.
The solution also provides extensive
flexibility: we can send the model to
the cutter, select the cutting orders and
even group them by fabric, and detect
defects and launch re-cuts when necessary.
This improves overall performance and
delivers estimated productivity gains of
7%”.
Stéphane Quiniou, Industrial and Quality
Director, Groupe Marck

 

Data security and respect for the environment:
meeting new challenges

Implementing an automated solution relies on Cloud
power to digitally process data, but the production
of military uniforms or protective clothing involves
information that is not only sensitive but also
confidential. Before it began working with Lectra,
Balsan asked for vigorous guarantees concerning
data protection and the secure exchange of
information to ensure the confidentiality of
patterns. Lectra worked hand in hand with Balsan’s
IT services to satisfy the professional garmentmaking specialist’s requirements.

Tomorrow’s challenges aren’t only technical –
they are environmental as well, and we cannot
modernize without taking such considerations
into account. “With Fashion On Demand by
Lectra’s new cutting line, we discovered an
energy-efficient cutter that removes the need
for traditional accessories such as paper
and plastic film, allowing us to reduce our
carbon footprint”, says Stéphane Quiniou.