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The Glove Maker's Blog, Glove Sourcing Strategies for Retailers and Brands

3 Ways to Ensure That You Manufacture A Top Quality Glove

Posted by Roger Heumann

Dec 5, 2013 5:33:00 PM

mountain bike gloveWe visited several motorcycle glove dealerships recently. 

I have to be candid: the workmanship on some of the gloves I observed at retail was not good -- mainly at the lower price points, but not exclusively.

If you are responsible for a glove line, you might want to think about what steps you can take to engineer quality into the finished glove.

After all, quality has a huge impact on customer satisfaction with your brand.

The best time to insure that you get the quality you need? Before production starts!                                 

Build Quality Into the Glove Manufacturing Process  

Ensuring quality is an overlooked, and underappreciated, part of the glove manufacturing process.

Given how important quality is to customer satisfaction, it doesn't get the attention it deserves. If you see signs that quality or consumer satisfaction are not what they should be, fix the problem ASAP. 

As an example, here's a case study that details the quality improvement process for a brand that started seeing an unacceptable level of consumer returns for one particular glove style.

But the best way to ensure quality is to avoid problems like that in the first place.  Here are some tips to help you do that.

To build quality considerations into your manufacturing planning process, be sure to consider the following:

1. Clear Communications:

A top quality glove starts with a good design and pre-production sample. Once approved, how will those standards and specs being  communicated to the glove factory?

- Technical Specifications:  Are design revisions communicated both in writing and verbally, with dated specs to provide a record as changes as they are made?

To avoid working with an out of date spec, double check the time and date of the specifications being used.

2. Manufacturing Processes:

When it comes to some garments, a ¼” seam tolerance might be fine. When it comes to a technical glove fitting your hand perfectly, ¼” can mean a fit problem.

To ensure exact fit, what basic manufacturing processes are being used?

- Patterns, Dies and Tolerances: Who’s doing the cutting, and how can you make sure it is being done perfectly? i.e., metal dies are more exact than paper patterns to ensure quality sewing, fit and performance.

- Sewing: Who’s doing the sewing? Who’s checking the sewer? Are there experienced eyes and ears on site during manufacturing, to catch sloppy seams, and worse?

3.  Inspection and Quality Control Checks:

- Reference Samples: Is there agreement about what is desirable, and what will be rejected?  Make sure everyone involved in production has seen and understands the approved reference standards, both for components and finished goods.

- Inspection: Who will inspect components as they are received? Who will inspect work in process and finished goods? Make sure to have experienced inspectors to ensure acceptable quality ranges for each stage.

- Process Control Checks: Are there formal processes that anticipate and avoid defects due to manufacturing process?

For instance, our glove factory has a metal detection machine, and “needle book” process, so that stray or broken needles don’t end up in finished goods. It's a small part of the process, but an important one.

- Testing: How will performance be checked? Are seams tested to ensure they will hold up to stress, and all functional features (closures, etc.) checked sufficiently, to make sure they work as they should?
- Sub-factories: What ensures uniformity between multiple manufacturing venues? Are equipment and inspection processes consistent? i.e., is everything being cut in one place, then sewn in several factories?

Glove Buyer Tip:  subfactories may adhere to a different standard or be subject to less oversight. Make sure to have uniform processes across each manufacturing venue.


Build Quality into Sourcing Due Diligence and Supplier Qualification

Take it from someone who has seen his share of glove quality issues: don’t leave a discussion of glove quality to the final day of container loading, or you may be in for a rude surprise.

  • Once goods are finished, you have far less flexibility to resolve problems, without unnecessary expense and the risk of late deliveries.
  • The time to think about quality processes is BEFORE you place an order.
  • Ask detailed quality questions as part of your supplier partnership conversation, and visit the prospective supplier's glove factory to assess their manufacturing processes.
  • If you see signs that quality or consumer satisfaction are not what they should be, fix the problem ASAP.  As an example, here's a case study that details the quality improvement process.

These steps will help to ensure that your customers get a top quality glove.

For more questions that should be part of the glove sourcing conversation, download our free sourcing checklist ... or call us to discuss your glove manufacturing challenges.

  

Topics: Private Label: Glove manufacturing, Private Label: Glove Factory, Private Label: Glove Fit & Feel, Private Label Glove Materials

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