Supported by Sustainability Victoria, Nobody Denim undertook a resource assessment followed by process and equipment upgrades which have resulted in significant energy and material cost savings.
Nobody Denim, located in Northcote, Melbourne, manufactures jeans and other denim clothing. It operates three sites; one produces the clothing, one for washing and drying products, and one for administration. Nobody Denim was established in 1999.
Nobody Denim's objective was to improve the use of resources to enable more efficient operations and achieve cost reductions, production capacity improvements and better environmental outcomes. The business hoped for savings of up to 50% through greater efficiencies and the consolidation of operations.
In 2013 Sustainability Victoria provided $14,850 toward the cost of a full resource assessment of Nobody Denim’s three sites through the Smarter Resources, Smarter Business (SRSB) program. The assessment looked at materials, energy and water usage. All aspects of the production processes and machinery were examined as well as the laundry and drying processes.
Seven recommendations were made to improve materials efficiency in clothing production including design and cutting layout optimisation, and the purchase of new more efficient equipment such as sewing machines, washers and gas dryers. It was anticipated that implementation of all the recommendations would result in total annual savings of approximately 10% in fabric and 45% (11,880 kg) in chemicals.
A number of energy efficiency recommendations such as improvements to boilers, lighting upgrades, and insulation were also made with expected improvement in energy efficiency of 45%.
"As I am a big believer of continuous improvements and 'lean' integration the assessment has helped me to identify waste and to make calculated decisions in the best interest of the business" said Managing Director, John Condilis.
The resource assessment highlighted the real costs associated with process waste and therefore the potential savings available from reducing waste. It found that the purchase price of wasted fabric was 20 times the disposal costs i.e. the purchase to disposal ratio. Even more significantly, the true cost of wasted 'finished' fabric - which also accounts for energy, labour and other costs invested in a product - was found to be 425 times the disposal cost.
Nobody Denim purchased a new, highly efficient washer to trial the machine's effectiveness before purchasing similar but much bigger capacity washers. It received a $3000 implementation bonus through the SRSB program to cover most of the cost of purchasing the washer. The new machine demonstrated reduced energy and water use and 20% reduction in chemicals, as well as reducing washing times by 20 minutes.
"I would encourage other business to undertake a resource assessment. As owners we don't know everything so why not get the assistance of skilled help to assist you in improving your business" Condilis said.
Nobody Denim was granted a $50,000 capital funding through the SRSB program to purchase new garment assembly machines including a new automatic pocket creaser and setter, overlocker, lap seam folder and waist band machine. The new equipment, coupled with process changes, will improve production quality, resulting in a more consistent product, and less seconds garments (off-specification product). The new equipment and processes are expected to save 1,860 metres of material and 7,157kWh of electricity, and produce 247 fewer seconds garments, saving a total of $32,000 per year.
Nobody Denim plans to implement more of the recommendations from the resource assessment and make further environmental improvements to operations.
Resource assessment conducted by Infotech Research
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Nobody Denim case study