Artificial intelligence revolutionizes tailoring at Izmir factory

ŞULE GÜNER
ISTANBUL
Published 20.11.2019 16:35
Updated 21.11.2019 08:47
The Hugo Boss factory takes its power from artificial intelligence.
The Hugo Boss factory takes its power from artificial intelligence.

Digitization in industry is on the rise, with many factories throughout Turkey having already adapted artificial intelligence (AI) in their production processes

In recent years, a whole host of management experts have visited Turkey to show how the country's industry can construct smart factories to greater ease their production processes.

However, what most of us do not know is that there are already many business pioneers with factories in Turkey that share this vision and have successfully implemented all stages of digitalization - a cornerstone of the Industry 4.0
. In fact, many of these companies are setting the bar higher internationally. Digital solutions developed with 100% local brainpower at German luxury brand Hugo Boss' factory in İzmir, for instance, have shown the world "tailoring in advanced technology."

If individuals in a team do their jobs correctly, it means they have been paired correctly and will thus be motivated to use their labor efficiently. At Hugo Boss Turkey, Joachim Hensch motivates the team at every stage of production. Hensch is not a typical maestro. His profession is tailoring. Over the years, however, he has also transformed himself by keeping up with the processes of digital transformation. Hensch is a technophile who has devoted his life to developing an innovative work environment in a sector "in need of creativity and the human touch." He devotes much of his time to understanding, reading, researching, and conveying the new digital world to his employees. Hensch is a veteran tailor who uses technology to great effect, having spent years applying complex technologies to business and management processes in textiles. The know-how he has garnered he has communicated to production centers in textiles and various other sectors around the world. In this sense, the İzmir factory is Hugo Boss' star pupil.

Simplifying complexity

Hensch explains the effort and perspective behind this success, by stating: "We have been organizing an event for 11 years under the name of OPEX Day. There, we reflect on what we have done in the previous year, which concepts we have created with our new designs. This year, we chose the concept of 'Simplifying Complexity' because the need for it is increasing with the introduction of technology into our lives. Millions of videos and much online content is shared every day. Most of us do not realize how much space this takes up in our lives. We are currently going through an accelerated period. Technology is changing us. We may be pleased with 4G, but 5G, which will soon come into our lives, will be 100 times faster than 4G. We will start seeing internet data speeds reaching Gigabytes everywhere," he said.

"Meanwhile, our profession is changing as well. Customization is becoming more and more important. We used to receive orders and then produce. The orders we receive now are no longer predictable. If you ask how we have simplified this complex situation, I would say only through technology. We have adapted better to this process with the help of technology, and our profession, tailoring, is based on human labor. It was not easy, but we have come a long way in this factory," he added.

Hensch said esports, one of the world's largest digital industries, is a sign that the new generation has rejected traditional methods for learning and working. He added that they were also constructing the ways of working in the factory in accordance with the concept of "gamification."

"On Twitch, 700 million people watch games played by others. This is a bigger audience than for any sporting event in the world - even the Olympics. And yet we expect the children who play these games to sit at the desk and listen to 40 minutes of lessons and succeed," he said. "It is inevitable to integrate this development in the gaming world into education and business. We thought about what we could do about this and started using virtual reality and games in our in-house training. We opened the doors of this world to our employees with our award-winning training center called Virtual Dojo. And we have succeeded beyond our expectations."

The magic of AI-powered factories

1.Virtual Dojo

This concept is based on virtual and augmented reality. The Virtual Dojo room is used to accelerate the adaptation of new Hugo Boss Turkey operators in the production and improve their performance in a short time. Outside the room, new employees recognize the products and see the differences between flawed and flawless products. The new employee is also able to receive self-operational method training through videos prepared in-house.

With this project, less time was spent on training, cost savings were achieved and employee satisfaction was increased. The same efficiency rates were achieved in less than two weeks.

Virtual Dojo received the 2nd prize at the "Stevie Awards" in New York in 2018 and the 1st Prize at the "Learning Performance Institute – Learning Awards" in the U.K. in 2019, granted silver and gold medals in the categories of learning and human resources development.

2. 3D Space planning

With this project, the automatic transportation system, which eliminates the transportation of work and cars from the cutting department to segments, increases volume usage by keeping the cut stocks in the air and provides space-saving, is integrated into the production lines. With this transportation system, the semi-finished products that form the jacket are automatically transported to the product segments such as the collar, triangle, breast pocket, cover, back and plate preparation according to the production plan sequence.

3. Smart data management and digital assistant

Three main products coded one hundred percent by Hugo Boss Turkey programmers are located in some designated points at the production center. These three products consist of tablets used by all operators, digital screens built into the production site used by the site managers to monitor activities on all lines. Thus, all systems and processes, such as personnel productivity, production numbers, quality level and loading performance, can be monitored instantly.

4. Artificial intelligence

The A1+ project aims to reduce the use of fabric, which is the most costly part of men's clothing production, by using learning algorithms. For this purpose, fabric optimization data that has been formed for 20 years in Hugo Boss İzmir has been entered into the learning algorithms written in Hugo Boss İzmir. Hugo Boss İzmir, which produces about 4 million pieces of products annually by showing better optimization performance than people, has saved 2% of fabric per piece and made a positive effect on profitability.

Oxygen, meanwhile, is an AI module that makes it easy to determine the needs of the employees and makes fast and reliable decisions by using real-time data. The project aims to increase employees' success by examining the performance of the individual working in production via modern data analysis methods. Although the project was initially designed for the use in human resources, the scope of its output was expanded and made available to the production department.

Oxygen facilitates decision-making processes by providing both the human resources department and production management with a detailed analysis of the field they manage. The outputs of the project, which is the basis for interline operator exchange, have enabled the whole factory to be managed in a more balanced way, ensuring the negative effects of possible performance fluctuations to be minimized. At the same time, the operators who need to be supported with training have reached the support they need more systematically.

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