“Viemi”, a textile production company from Ohrid, can be considered a champion in adopting new technologies and implementing the most sophisticated machines in textile production in our country.
It is a family-owned company established in 2003 by Zoran and Zorka Aleksovski. They had a lot of obstacles, both technical and financial, but they had secured the demand of the market in Netherlands. Today, with around 200 employees, “Viemi” is considered the largest textile factory in Ohrid. As all beginnings, Viemi’s start was also uncertain and filled with ups and downs, but with a lot of lessons learnt.
The key lesson, according to Zoran Aleksovski, is that to survive in this industry, you need to have a seriously diverse product range which will allow for quick adaptation to any demand. On the other side, that diversity is made possible by the serious technological equipment that the company has.
“We constantly invest in new machinery and modern technology. That allows us to respond to market demands, no matter if the demand is for shirts, uniforms, t-shirts and knitwear, sports equipment or, lately, even protective masks. By constant monitoring and investment in new machinery, we succeeded to satisfy the demand for our foreign clients that want to produce as much of their variety of products in the same factory as possible” said Aleksoski.
Determination for continuous investment in technology
Given that every new machine demands a certain set of skills and well-trained staff, Viemi’s management has a very specific approach. They say that the first step is training the whole management team by the manufacturer or the seller of the machine. They later transfer the knowledge towards the employees who are supposed to work on the machine. With this method of training they reduce possible stoppages in the workflow due to fluctuations of employees.
Automating the textile production process is nothing new. Although this industry dominantly relies on the human resource, a certain very important process can be automated, especially in the male shirt sector, which will result in great cost savings. Such known system is the famous “Eton shirts” system, built by a Swedish company that produces male shirts, bearing the same name. This innovative system automates the process of male shirt assembly with the goal of increasing the productivity of the process of manufacturing a male shirt. “This system has proven to increase productivity in the last decades, which will suffice as a guarantee for us that we will be competitive on the market in the next 10 years. We are convinced that by modernizing our technology, we can withstand our competitors blows and the trend of increasing wages in our country. That was the key motive to buy this automation system” says a company representative.
How does this system work?
„Еton shirts“ is a hanging transport clothing assembly system. It consists of a series of hangers, each of them having a shirt attached, or previously sewn pieces of it. Each hangar, or shirt, has its own number and history which allows for early detection of mistakes, who did the mistake and have that piece corrected in a fast and efficient manner, before the whole shirt is assembled and sewn. The system is controlled by one central computer where every workstation can be seen, thus allowing for detection of any blockages of the workflow and where they occur. This reduces the so called “bottlenecking” in the process of shirt assembly.
In short, the process substitutes a person that will go to each machine and allocate tasks and, more importantly, it drastically increases productivity. Just to illustrate this, when all of the pieces of the shirt are delivered to a workstation, the shirt will be ready in about two hours. With traditional manufacturing methods, the same process lasted five to seven days. The advantage is that a worker does his job on the workstation and the tasks automatically get to him. Another important advantage is that when a worker notices that some of the previous tasks were not properly done, he can return the shirt back for reevaluation and finishing. Production quality is increased by doing this, but there is also a possibility of paying penalties for making products that do not meet the quality demands. Viemi uses this system for over three years. They experienced a growth productivity of at least 30% in the shirt production sector, which is an important part of the company’s workflow.
Trade fairs are usually the place to follow the technological trends in the textile industry.
From Ohrid’s “Viemi” decisively say that : “Constant investments in technology made us the most technologically advanced textile factory in Macedonia. We consider that to be a strategic advantage compared to the others, and we constantly work on that plan. Looking forward, we will continue with even larger investments in new technology and we hope it will help us sustain a stable yearly growth rate.”