Efficiency, convenience & sustainability: Changing uniform manufacturing for the better
With uniform manufacturers pushed to embrace human body measuring technology, further changes could be afoot...
Prompting new health and safety concerns and increased consumer demand for tech-driven experiences, 2020 intensified the inconvenience of face-to-face fitting sessions. Now, uniform manufacturers must embrace innovation to measure up their future customers.
Much of the fashion industry experienced lackluster sales throughout 2020, but the same cannot be said for the workwear and uniforms market. While other sectors have struggled, the global uniforms market has experienced ‘vibrant growth’ according to Nester Research.
That growth has been driven by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has resulted in an unprecedented demand for medical garments and protective equipment. According to Fortune Business Insights, the medical clothing market is now expected to hit $99.9bn by 2027, up 58% since before the pandemic.
Covid-19 has dominated the headlines over the past 12 months. However, it isn’t the only challenge that has required the attention of uniform manufacturers. From fitting out firefighters battling some of the most devastating wildfires in modern history in Australia and California, to dressing the military personnel that has continued working to keep us safe during these difficult times, the uniform manufacturing industry has had its work cut out over the past year.
Out with the old, in with the new
While uniform manufacturers haven’t struggled with a shortage of work, as many in the tailored clothing industry have, it has faced the same difficulties of measuring and fitting customers despite the social distancing measures in place.
Time-consuming fitting sessions. Source: army.mil
Prior to the pandemic, mass uniform production was a largely face-to-face process. Sales representatives would have to travel to a workplace to manually measure each employee one by one. Not only is this time-consuming, inefficient, and prone to human error, but in today’s world it also presents a considerable health and safety risk to both the end-wearers and fitting service teams.
Luckily, technology has offered the industry an alternative to outdated measuring practices. Solutions such as 3DLOOK’s Uniform Pro, a simple, fast, and contactless human body measuring and size management system for uniform businesses, can capture end wearers’ body measurements no matter where they are, instantly generating precise data, 3D models, and size and fit recommendations tailored to each individual.
With McKinsey estimating that the pandemic has accelerated digital adoption by 10 years, consumers will undoubtedly begin to demand convenient, tech-driven experiences like this. As workforces become more flexible, scheduled fitting sessions may work for some employees but not others. Tailor-made for uniform manufacturing, a customer’s employees can use 3DLOOK’s body scanning system to capture their measurements at a time and place that suits them, eliminating the need for in-person fitting events that cost suppliers and their customers time and money. In fact, simplifying the measuring process has been found to reduce costs by as much as 85% per person. With fewer errors and delays, orders are completed faster and invoices are settled sooner, creating a better experience for the entire supply chain.
3DLOOK’s Uniform Pro can capture end wearers’ body measurements no matter where they are
Uniform businesses can manage all of their products, dealers, sales representatives, and end users data within Uniform Pro, offering complete control over a complex process through one easy-to-use platform. Captured measurements are sent directly to a dedicated dashboard where sellers can view and analyze size and fit recommendations to get a clear understanding of a customer’s needs. With access to segmented data, uniform sellers can improve their planning processes and avoid manufacturing surplus or ill-fitting garments. Not only is this helping the uniform industry to reduce costly returns and waste, but it is also helping to tackle fashion’s sustainability issues.
Numerous workwear suppliers, from radiation protective clothing manufacturer Burlington Medical, to public safety garment manufacturers Fechheimer Brothers and Safariland, are already utilizing 3DLOOK’s body measuring and size data analytics platform.
Seeking further innovation
The uniform manufacturing industry has had little choice but to embrace digital body measuring in order to continue serving their customers over the past year. Now, having had time to realize the benefits of this change, uniform businesses must begin to seek out further innovations that benefit businesses, their workforces, the uniforms industry, and the planet.
Protective fabrics, materials designed to protect workers from a range of potential hazards, are likely to hold appeal as employees look for new ways to keep their workers healthy to limit future disruption. According to Advance Market Analytics, the protective fabrics market is set to experience ‘huge growth’, reaching a global market size of $5.1bn by 2026.
However, as we recover from the pandemic, we cannot lose sight of other pressing issues, such as sustainability. Second only to embracing digital, fashion executives view sustainability as the second biggest opportunity for the industry in 2021, according to McKinsey. From sustainable cotton farming technologies that can increase yield and reduce water waste, to digital dying technologies that precisely match colors to reduce waste, there is an abundance of innovative solutions that can help uniform businesses to lead the way in sustainability.
Undoubtedly, many are longing for the day when they can return to their familiar processes. Yet, 2021 shouldn’t be about returning to the old, but taking further steps to usher in the new – and with it greater convenience, less waste, and a better future.
Get in touch to find out how 3DLOOK’s Uniform Pro can assist you in bringing your uniform manufacturing business into the digital age.