Monday, November 15, 2010

Working on a deadline - part 3

In this last part I will talk about the benefits of "mass" production. It seems odd to be using this term when talking about handmade.
Mass production can also be termed Fordism, after Henry Ford who is credited to have come up with the concept and created some of the first assembly lines. The idea was to produce inexpensive goods coupled with high wages to workers. That was before globalization encouraged companies to shift overseas and pay miserable wages to workers in developing countries. Modern big (and smaller) brands have no consideration for craft(wo)manship, the beauty of a product well made and the welfare of the people who make them. Let's face it, the only thing that interests them is how much money will end up in their bank account. This seems so far removed from the emergence of the handmade movement and individuals starting their own little ventures, making and selling their wares locally or on the web, Fordism is the last thing you'd have in mind when defining your business and philosophy.
Yet, we can all do with a bit of Fordism. Not the selling yourself cheap part, but optimizing your production costs. We all want to sell at a fair price without undercutting ourselves. Choosing to make in a mass production way can seem soul-less but has its advantages.
Henry Ford Quote by YourVinylAnswer

- We can make things faster. I wanted to make enough singlets for my stall so that people would have a choice of colour and size. So I cut out all the fabric first, then did one pass of sewing, one pass of pinning, another pass of sewing and finally screen printed them all. I saved a lot of time because I didn't have to go back and forth between the cutting stage and the sewing stage. As mentioned in part 1, I was able to "chain sew", sew all the bits of fabric in one continuous thread. Each singlet individually would probably take me 45mn/1hr to make each, I made 48 of them in about 20hrs.

- We are more efficient. If you repeat the same task 48 times, you are more likely to get better and faster at it. And I found I was less likely to make mistakes.
End Mass Production by DeadWorry

With this I will end my third and last post on the subject. I hope some people will find it useful. I wrote this based on my experience and observations, and obviously what works for me might not work for everyone. I think the most important to keep in mind when you are making and crafting with a deadline such as a market, a wholesale order or simply a custom order, is to know yourself and what works for you.

No comments:

Post a Comment