Fashion on demand by Lectra and Balsan technology takes uniform making to the next level

(c) 2019 Lectra
To meet new challenges in the professional garment market and preserve over a century of savoir-faire, Balsan chose Lectra to modernize its production tools.

The challenge

A Groupe Marck company, Balsan designs and manufactures corporate and ceremonial clothing, tailored and customized uniforms, and personal protective equipment and clothing for the public and private sector which comply with international standards. The biggest challenge is to meet the new expectations of customers who seek increasing levels of customization with ever-shorter time-to-market deadlines. The professional garment sector is subject to the same pressures as pre?t-a?-porter, and Balsan’s challenge was to produce customized clothing more quickly using intelligent manufacturing methods.

Lectra's response

Balsan was a pilot partner for the Fashion On Demand by Lectra solution. This alliance allowed Groupe Marck to take a new approach, involving not only the use of Fashion On Demand by Lectra’s connected cutter, but upstream software solutions as well, which are con gured based on the company’s needs to best match its work methods while updating and accelerating the production process.


“Using a measurement chart, Fashion On Demand by Lectra allowed us to generate well-adapted and customized patterns with which to produce our garments. The solution also provides extensive exibility: we can send the model to the cutter, select the cutting orders and even group them by fabric, and detect defects and launch re-cuts when necessary. This improves overall performance and delivers estimated productivity gains of 7%”.

Stephane Quiniou, Industrial and Quality Director, Groupe Marck

Created in 1850, Balsan is a key player in professional garment making.

Balsan took up a two-fold challenge: update its manufacturing tools while maintaining a large part of its clothing production in France to capitalize on the group’s traditional savoir-faire, and meet 21st century challenges.

“Working together with Lectra, we’ve been able to optimize the Fashion on Demand by Lectra solution so that it meets our requirements perfectly. The next step is to go even further by connecting our ERP and production sites, so that once orders are received, the machine generates the customized uniform patterns and sends the cutting orders to the necessary workshops.”

Stephane Quiniou, Industrial and Quality Director, Groupe Marck

Producing for professionals: customization and very tight deadlines

The professional garment sector is highly diverse, in terms of clothing types and the materials used. The crafting techniques and ergonomics required for a Republican Guard uniform are completely di erent to those used for personal protective clothing.

Previously, we had to take an individualized and time-consuming approach for each order. Patterns that required several hours of adjustments to each customer are now processed automatically once our patternmakers receive the data. Ste?phane Quiniou, Industrial and Quality Director at Groupe Marck, describes the modernization process: “Lectra’s new solution allowed us to be far more reactive, far more exible, and to adapt more quickly to speci c requests from customers”.

Multi-site management: greater agility to prepare for the future

Balsan’s activities are spread over several sites in France and abroad, so the need for a multi-site approach was evident when designing a plan to modernize production tools, explained the Industrial and Quality Director.

“We install machines at di erent sites and would like to pilot them from our central o ce. Our goal is to standardize cutting orders and production across all of our sites. With a simple click, the cutting order created in Calais launches a speci c action at our site in Cha?teauroux. Being able to assign production to a speci c production line with the resources and immediate availability needed to meet a customer’s deadlines is key”.

Data security and respect for the environment: meeting new challenges

Implementing an automated solution relies on Cloud power to digitally process data, but the production of military uniforms or protective clothing involves information that is not only sensitive but also con dential. Before it began working with Lectra, Balsan asked for vigorous guarantees concerning data protection and the secure exchange of information to ensure the con dentiality of patterns. Lectra worked hand in hand with Balsan’s IT services to satisfy the professional garment- making specialist’s requirements.

Tomorrow’s challenges aren't only technical – they are environmental as well, and we cannot modernize without taking such considerations into account. “With Fashion On Demand by Lectra’s new cutting line, we discovered an energy-e cient cutter that removes the need for traditional accessories such as paper and plastic film, allowing us to reduce our carbon footprint”, says Ste?phane Quiniou.

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