By  on February 3, 1994

FORT LEE, N.J. -- In this age of computers, where technology often strongly influences job productivity, Emanuel Weintraub Associates has developed two systems, the Automated Line Development Calendar and Improshare, in which worker behavior is equally as influential.

Firms often implement traditional line development calendars or "pre-planning calendars" to list the myriad of tasks involved in the creation-through-completion process of clothing lines. According to Weintraub president Emanuel Weintraub, his management company's Automated Line Development Calendar takes this listing process, which is often done manually, and automates it for use on a PC.

"The time is ripe for this system," Weintraub feels. "Because of the consolidation of retail into fewer hands, and with more and more private labels being purchased, the importance of getting production out on time has never been more crucial," he said.

The automated calendar identifies the various activities that take place during the line development process, pinpoints responsibility for each task and schedules them -- working backward from the line's release date -- in a way that permits each to be completed in a timely fashion.

"For example," Weintraub elaborated, "if you have two linked tasks such as ordering sample material and sewing it, if the yardage is not ordered on time you'll be late with the sewing. With our system," Weintraub distinguished, "if you're late on the sample yardage purchase, it bumps the sewing to recapture the fumble."

Weintraub emphasized that the program can only be successful with proper worker commitment. "It is a tool that brings discipline into the process," he said. "None of this means anything unless there is a written mission statement from the head of the company stating that the allocated dates will be followed."

The automated process can potentially lead to a highly sophisticated system that creates individual and master line calendars that can be printed for single or multiple seasons. It can also customize pre-production steps and departments involved to fit small or large companies.

Progress tracking is accomplished by entering the percentage that has been completed on each task. In this way, delays and problems are highlighted. The feature enables a manager to see the status of each task, which is displayed next to the calendar's task bar. By comparing the progress against the planned schedule, bottlenecks are exposed and can be remedied.

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