HIALEAH, Fla. -- Apparel contractor Ray Beder has projected a 10 to 15 percent sales volume increase this year for his family-owned business, no mean feat in an industry that is struggling to survive the crush of offshore sourcing.
Beder has some things in his favor. He is aggressive and he has taken advantage of his location -- Miami, the gateway to the Caribbean. But most important, Beder isn't afraid to lay out the money it takes to keep his company a leader in its field.
For example, the company will be spending about $300,000 to move into a 60,000-square-foot facility this year where operations will be centralized.
RB Apparel makes several products, from children's sleepwear, ladies' and men's knit tops (including placket shirts), pullovers, and bottoms of various constructions.
Because of RB Apparel's proximity to Miami ports and the Caribbean Basin, much of its production is cutting for offshore use.
But like others contractors, RB's focus has changed greatly because of the push for 807 production by domestic apparel companies. Eighty percent of RB's cutting today is for offshore use and the rest for domestic; 10 years ago, the opposite was true.
If the North American Free Trade Agreement expands to include parity for Caribbean countries, Beder expects his cutting business for offshore sewing to grow even more.
"By lowering the tariffs and making it easier for American firms to deal with [807 countries], then I assume more people will go there, and they will cut their goods in south Florida," he explains.
Like others, Beder wants some of that business for his company.
Up to now, operations have been spread out in an 18,000-square-foot sewing facility with 150 stations, a 25,000-square-foot cutting plant with 10 40-yard tables and a facility for corporate offices.
By centralizing sewing and cutting under one roof, Beder believes he will increase growth by 10 to 15 percent. He plans to upgrade the new plant more in the future by adding electronic spreaders, flotation tables and Gerber cutting machines.
The move also will bring management together under one roof, including Beder's wife Susan, vice-president of administration, and his two sons, Steve, vice-president of manufacturing, and Gregory, who is in charge of data systems and works in planning and development.Customers include Cape Cod, a ladies' wear division of Kellwood Co., and William Carter Co., among others.
The latest big modernization was the addition of Gerber's Accumark computer-aided design system last year. It was purchased as the first step in the creation of an automated cutting facility. Grading and mark-ing started as a one-scope system, according to Brenda Ross, director of pattern and marking systems, but, by the end of six months, had progressed to the need for a multi-scope system.
RB reduced the throughput time of marking and grading from six to eight hours to two to three hours with the Gerber system. Gerber's CAD system, says Beder, has "opened horizons for us. It helps us get goods out faster and it improved quality."
Throughput time from cutting to shipping is two to three weeks, approximately five days shorter than a year ago, says Beder. He attributes the decrease to customer demands and to the company's fully computerized system, which aids on-line balancing and known-standard-allowed minutes.
Production rates are as many as 60,000 units per week in sewing and as many as 200,000 units per week in cutting, depending on the product mix.
"We are moving to improve our total company efficiency, including quality and throughput time," says Beder. "We want to provide our customers with the Quick Response that they need so badly."
Equipment at RB Apparel's sewing operation includes Juki serging with chain cutters and back-latch attachments, lockstitch machines with underbed trimmings, O.G.M. air turners, Sussman hand irons with vacuum board, Hoffman pressers and a Sussman steam tunnel.
Sewing operates in a modular setup, which the company started three years ago. Operators were cross-trained when the company made the change, making it easier for RB Apparel to shift from one type of construction to another.
The company keeps up with the latest technological and operational developments with help from Jones, Riley & Associates, the apparel consulting firm it has worked with for the past seven years.
Their joint expertise, Beder says, has helped RB Apparel increase its efficiency through systems methods and updated equipment. "Without them," he claims, "we could not imagine being in the domestic cut-and-sew business, progressive in the areas of quality, throughput time and meeting customers' delivery dates."Beder says he plans to continue to improve product quality and efficiencies, which should, in turn, feed the company's growth at that 10 to 15 percent annual rate. "We want to be very important to the manufacturers who need our services," he says.
There'll be no rest for those headed to Europe for men's, as Paris just closed the gap with Milan. According to a provisional calendar released by the Chambre Syndicale, Paris Men's Week will now open a day earlier on January 16. See new highlights on the official lineup on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
BREAKING: Jonathan Saunders is leaving @DVF. The designer has resigned from his position as chief creative officer of Diane von Furstenberg, the company said in a statement on Friday. At the time of his hire, von Furstenberg said Saunders’ arrival symbolized and facilitated her stepping back from the day-to-day duties that occupy the work of a full-time creative director. The British designer joined DVF in May 2016 and was in charge of all product categories. #wwdnews
For @versace_official’s spring ad campaign, the brand emphasized the archival prints from the spring tribute collection dedicated to the late Gianni Versace. Closing out the show were five of Gianni’s favorite models: Cindy, Naomi, Carla, Helena, and Claudia. Bowing on December 18, the new campaign is yet another tribute to supermodel-dom as the images by Steven Meisel are fronted by @iamnaomicampbell, @cturlington, @gisele and more. #wwdfashion
Four-time Oscar-nominated actress Annette Bening has been waiting 20 years to play Gloria Graham in "Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool," which will be released on December 29. The movie about Graham – a Hollywood star known for her controversial relationship with a younger Englishman named Peter Turner – is based off a memoir Turned wrote. "She felt vulnerable to him, because she loved him, she really did love him. And anyone that we really truly are in love with, we re vulnerable to in a very deep way," said Bening. Read our full interview with the modern icon of an actress on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @ninebagatelles; Styled by @cristinaehrlich)
The crisp white button down: a staple that can be dressed up or down and accessorized throughout the decades. Here, on a Art Basel-goer in 2017 on the left and on the iconic Audrey Hepburn in “Roman Holiday” in 1953 on the right. #tbt #wwdfashion (📷: Andrew Morales)
Known for her work with @victoriassecret, 25-year-old model @georgiafowler is raising her profile in Hollywood. Fowler stars in @vincecamuto’s holiday campaign, which launched in partnership with “Pitch Perfect 3.” “Almost every shoot with Vince Camuto, I’ve had to face a fear…It was definitely a challenge. I’m so grateful for it, though. I’ve always wanted to be a pop star, so that was the perfect chance,” Fowler said. Head to WWD.com to read about Fowler’s experience modeling, including at the #VSFashionShow, and her relationship with Nick Jonas. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
EXCLUSIVE: Huda Kattan just became the first beauty influencer to land a major beauty deal. Kattan's business, @hudabeauty, has received a minority investment from private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners. The brand, which industry sources say is on track to do $200 million in retail sales for 2017, will receive support on product, retail and geographic expansion through the deal. Get all the details on the deal and read @_a_collins' interview with Kattan on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdbeauty #wwdnews
Peruvian model @juanaburga_official – who is known for walking the runways of @rodarte, @viviennewestwood and @torybuch – is making the move to the big screen with drama “Los Últimos.” The film premiered in Argentina in November and arrives in the U.S. and Europe in 2018. On making the switch from modeling to acting, Burga told WWD: “It’s a completely different thing – a lot of people think it’s similar or try to connect things, especially like getting used to the camera or being looked at all the time or playing these different characrers, but film is a completely different story.” #wwdeye (📷: @jgreenery)
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)