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Friday, February 12, 2010

The amazing adventures of Arden chapter one

At work, we are in the middle of a mess of a customer called Amazon. Now, the customer is not the mess here, but virtually everything else is.
When Laurie and I got called back in January, we basically- and me specifically- inherited this customer. We were working from an order sheet 5-6 pages along of 2-of-this orders. Amazon has two lines that they order- J cushions and A cushions. Tina and Vic had substantially gotten through the J's that they could, given that 1. many of the patterns were in the throes of being revised and 2. 6 fabrics had yet to arrive in-plant. Many of the patterns had to be adjusted because Amazon decided that they no longer wanted zippers in their cushions. Now, zippers require us to make two bands of the fabric to sew them to. Removing them means that the pattern has to be adjusted to lengthen the main band to take their place. The A patterns by and large were versions of the J cushions with slight differences. Many of them were still being designed, with samples awaiting aproval. With the story set up now, let me list what went wrong.
1. Several of the patterns that were adjuste either failed or failed properly to account for the removed zippers. Thus, when we made them the bands were too short.
2. Some patterns had a cut size only 1/2 inch wider than the finish size- requiring the sewwers to attempt to sew a 1/4 inch seam that could actually hold (which is nearly impossible). Thus I had to sort through the cut-sheets (basically the pattern blueprints) and pull the ones that offended. These were then given to the proper authorities, who lost them and kept asking us where they might have gone.
3. Sewers were not given their own copies, so each person doing the shell for the first time had to borrow our cut sheets, which only occasionally were returned and again we were supposed to know where they had went.
4.At least one cushion had a previously made cardboard template in the J style that was "the same as" a different A style, that, once cut, we found to be too long in both back pieces and too short in the front. Since there are upwards of a dozen fabrics for each style, thats a lot of trimming and recuts.
5. Say a typical cushion is 45 inches long. some of them are 28 inches or more wide, which with 54-55 inch wide fabric means many could not be laid up side by side. Most have bands which are the length of all four sides plus a smidge. Thus you have bands that varied between 2 1/2 and 6 inches wide and 70- 159 inches long. Multiply by a dozen fabrics and you get a lot of scrap.
6. One fabric had at least two 100-yd rolls in which the true color faded, splotched, or dissappeared altogether. Some was blatant and we caught it; some were WTF after they tried to sew it.
7.One fabric arrived two weeks after we came back and we had to go back down the list to "catch it up". It was a flimsy fabric that stretched in a mild breeze and several things had to be recut because of this.
8. Adjusted patterns now began to filter back to us. Some weren't quite right; others showed up without our being told, resulting in older fabrics being cut one way and late arrivers being cut another-sometimes in the course of a single day.
9.A month into things, three other late arrivers showed up. One was a blue that we discovered after the fact that ranged from a clear sky blue to a somewhat smoggy one- including one roll that changed in the course of laying up a single pattern. Another was a tan what varied from stiff to flimsy. The third was a maroon that seemed okay- until it was sewn. Then they found that it frayed too badly in sewing it made the needle holes too big to be accepted. Thus after all of these three and the other, flimsy, latecomer were cut sewn and packed and ready to go on the truck, they decided to reject the fabric and they all had to be pulled and quarrantined.
10. One set of styles were exact duplicates except one took a seat and a back, one took 2 seats and 2 backs, and one took 3 and 3. Problem, when the updated cut sheets were given, one of these sets had a band length 4 inches longer than the other two.
11. Two of the floral prints were directional- that is, there's a definate top and bottom. Of course, each one is going in the opposite direction of the other.
12.Oh, and when shipping date came and went and one color still hadn't arrived, it was cancelled from the order.
13. Finally, remember the pattern where the backs were shorter and the front longer? Well, the last thing we accomplished on this, I had to recut them because the bands were also messed up, and I ran out of one of the fabrics before I could finish it- even though "the System" says we had 20 yds left.
And that's but one customer, and the season is just beginning. I shoulda been an archaeologist.

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