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The Straits Times, Singapore – 19 Sept 2014

At CYC Shanghai Shirt Company, re-invention never stops. It was known for its “perfectly fused collar” in the 1930s.

It had a factory that produced 20,000 shirts a month in the early 1980s. Then, after a period of divestments and the start of its corporate uniform division in the 1990s, it recently embarked on another change.

“This technology based production system has helped to cut the time required to create a paper pattern from as many as three days to half a day,” says Mrs Fong.

Under the charge of third-generation family member Fong Loo Fern, the company has returned to its roots to offer made-to-measure shirts. However, it is now using a tailoring software at its uniform division. The technology, installed in May, uses a 3D engine which enables the designer to draw patterns with the software. It also allows the changing of the size and colour of a garment with just a few clicks. Upon completion, the pattern is sent to a so-called flat-bed cutter machine.

Previously, all paper patterns were drawn and cut manually. To produce a garment for small, medium and large dimensions, designers would have had to draw and cut out three different sizes of paper patterns. Paper patterns are essential become tailors put them over fabrics to trace different parts of the garment to be made. The fabric is then cut based on the traced lines. Before the system was implemented, cutters had to search through stocks of paper patterns. Now, the software also allows the patterns to be stored digitally.

Mrs Fong says the new system also serves as versatile and a powerful presentation tool to communicate design concepts, choice of fabrics and colours to its corporate uniform clients.

To enhance presentations, CYC invested in a 3D runway designer program, which shows digital models walking down runways wearing newly designed clothes. The runway clip may also e-mailed to clients. Previously, a prototype would have to be sewn up to help customers visualise the proposed garment.

Another benefit of the system allows the company is that it allows the company to cut multiple pieces of interfacing materials, required to stiffen fabric in certain parts of the garment, such as collars.

“If we had to produce a few hundred pieces of interfacing for the collar, the flat-bed cutter does it in minutes,” says Mrs Fong. Previously, interfacing pieces were cut by hand.

“This technology based production system has helped to cut the time required to create a paper pattern from as many as three days to half a day,” says Mrs Fong.

The company implemented the new system with the help of Spring Singapore’s Capability Development Grant. It is now working with Spring on other initiatives to bring about higher productivity for its staff members, says Mrs Fong.’