Demand Manufacturing: AM4U (Apparel Made 4 You)

“Demand Manufacturing” what is it? Just as it states, it directly connects consumers’ demand to manufacturing. The AM4U (Apparel Made 4 You) concept represents the set-up of turnkey purchase activated manufacture (PAM) mini-factories in the USA for making and selling active performance apparel online. With this method the need for all finished goods inventory will be eliminated. Mini plants can be placed inside a distribution site or near a shopping hub and can be easily moved on two trucks.

Bud Robinson is Chief Marketing Officer of Critical Mass Manufacturing Inc, (CMM) which is the leading member of a group of apparel industry advisors to Cal Poly Pomona’s Department of Apparel Merchandising and Management (AMM). Dr. Peter Kilduff, Chair of AMM has assembled a team to demonstrate a revolutionary new way to manufacture and market Active Apparel. “Bud’s Apparel background includes: President of Levi Strauss International, and President of Hang Ten and Catalina Swimwear, he was also EVP of the Gap Stores and was instrumental in their startup. Bud is coordinating the AMM advisory group that has incorporated itself as AM4U.

Bill Grier is a pioneer in the digital printing industry and he is also the inventor of numerous international and US patents. Bill is the founder and current chief technology officer (CEO) of Critical Mass Manufacturing (CMM). For the AMM demonstration project that Bud recently coordinated, Bill teamed up with Styku virtual body-scanning, Tukatech Apparel Technology, AIMS apparel management system and Eton Systems to launch an initial demand manufacturing AM4U prototype project aimed at illustrating how consumers can be  directly connected to manufacturing to create the demand manufacturing process.

After listening to Bill speak so eloquently about the AM4U demand manufacturing mini manufacturing modules he would like to see set-up across the US, I decided that you should have an opportunity to listen to him talk more in detail about the historical background of how numerous developments in technology have come together to create a “perfect storm of opportunity and transformation for the American apparel industry.”

Bill Grier

Audio interview here – please listen to Bill’s historical background story.

 Bill details the historical background:

  • On the confluence of bar codes, digital printing, fiber development, environmental awareness, the DAMA Project,overseas manufacturing, custom body scanning and the Internet, which presented this unique opportunity for change.
  • Zero Inventory Production (ZIP).
  • Technology Advantages. incorporated into AM4U digital printing.
  • Critical Mass Manufacturing (CMM).
  • Purchase activated Manufacturing.

Dr. Peter Kilduff

The companies initially came together with Cal Poly Pomona’s Apparel Merchandising and Management department to work on the project, hoping to find a solution to waste and overproduction in the apparel industry.

The video clip below represents the initial demonstration of the AM4U solution. AM4U’s mentor Dr Peter Kilduff, chair of Cal Poly’s Apparel Merchandising and Management department (AMM) explains one of the major problems plaguing American manufacturing. He introduces how AM4U technology has the capacity to change the apparel industry from supply and demand to demand and supply.

Critical Mass Manufacturing: Cost Effective Demand to Supply Green Technology

When I spoke to Bill Grier about this green cost-effective demand and supply technology he spoke passionately of his dream to bring the industrial base in textiles back to the U.S. by doing demand manufacturing.” Bill went on to say that “The Internet is not about price it’s about choice. Our purpose is to make the technology or products available to people who need them on a wider scale.  The AM4U concept represents a huge shift for the apparel industry. It’s switching supply and demand to demand and supply.”

CMM has developed the Active Tunnel Coloration (ATC) process (patent pending) that replaces huge water-based dye houses. No water or hazardous chemicals are used.This represents a green technology with no use of chemicals.

Bill states:

-  that the colors produced by his method are so permanent that you could pour bleach on it and the colors will never change. Cleaning agents or bleach cannot affect the coloration of the fabric, resulting in the most durable colored fabrics available. Since water is eliminated in the AM4U color application process, production is simplified.

This technology allows color changes on the fly, any colors and different colors for each garment, that includes all over prints and graphics. This process will eliminate finished goods inventory and the related carrying costs will increase retained gross profits by up to 100%.

CMM’s technology is devised around a single principle: The fiber itself contains enough energy to conduct colorization from the energy stored in the fiber, rather than requiring external chemicals to create color.

What we found is that there was energy stored in the fiber when it was formed that we could trigger to move dye into the fiber.

Most fabric coloring requires mass production through multiple processes and factories, which often results in excess fabric from over-estimating production. This technology enables dying, printing and labeling only the amount of fabric needed, all on one machine in a single pass  and on a much quicker schedule, instead of a designer having to place an order overseas to separate dye houses and printing manufacturers.

Grier’s technology is devised around a single principle: The fiber itself contains enough energy to conduct colorization from the energy stored in the fiber, rather than requiring external chemicals to create color, Grier explained.

“What we found is that there was energy stored in the fiber when it was man-made that we could release at certain frequencies,” Grier said.

Currently, his research has been limited to man-made polymers, such as nylon and polyester.

Beyond the environmental benefits of conserving water, the new technology also helps conserve resources by enabling users to use demand manufacturing, which negates the need for over-production, Grier says.

Most fabric dyeing requires mass production through multiple factories, which often results in excess fabric from over-estimating production, Grier explained. His technology enables him to dye, print and imprint only the amount of fabric needed, all on one machine and on a much quicker schedule, instead of a designer having to place an order overseas to separate dye houses and printing manufacturers, Grier said.

“We’re trying to tie the manufacturing speed directly to consumer takeaway speed. That way, there’s no extra production. We can produce a one-off for the Internet for the same price as mass production,” he said.

Grier said this technology could help bring the textile industry back to the United States instead of relying on large-scale mass printing and production overseas.

“Four out of every five blouses produced overseas is not sold at retail price. That means we’ve produced four blouses more than we need for the marketplace, and the water use is somewhere around 100 to 150 gallons of water per blouse, so if we don’t produce four of them because the technology is closer to the consumer, we’ve saved water and pollution,”  He explained. “Water is becoming a precious commodity, especially in California, and without waterless technology we lose the ability to control our own destiny on the products we produce in California.”

California Apparel News

Top Benefits of AM4U Technology

  • A perfect Fit every time for the consumer.
  • A zero inventory production system.
  • ACT technology save the environment by eliminating the use of billions of gallons of water with no caustic chemicals.
  • Very important is the bottom line - AM4U technology will result in a 40% higher profit and will produce thousands of new jobs.

Higher Education Partnerships Wanted

Bill Grier and Bud Robinson would like to partner with higher education to continue testing AM4U (Apparel Made 4 You) demand manufacturing green technology. At the same time they would like to support higher education by providing an opportunity for schools and students to build funding streams for more student centered research projects. They will provide more details in an upcoming post.

If you can’t wait here is contact information for you:

About these ads
  1. Bud Robinson
    July 30, 2012 at 1:05 am

    Elaine Polvinen is a recognized expert in leading edge apparel technology and we at AM4U are proud that she has chosen to feature our new company in this widely watched blog of her’s.

  2. August 3, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    This is an excellent point about manufacturing according to demand and supply rather than supply and demand. It certainly would help prevent surplus inventory, storage issues and other problems. Very intelligent approach.

    • budley5
      August 3, 2012 at 10:15 pm

      Thanks! You are obviously familiar with our apparel industry and can see the benefits of our process to American brands and retailers.

  3. August 14, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    I’m very excited to see this take off! A real game changer in the apparel industry, for the environment and getting manufacturing jobs back in the US. I’m curious if there are other applications such as in the auto industry in regards to their upholsteries. Home furnishings and carpet come to mind as well. Amazing stuff guys!

    • Bud Robinson
      August 15, 2012 at 2:39 pm

      Good insight Shawn. We do indeed have other industries in our cross-hairs.

  4. Mark Bettini
    August 15, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    That’s awesome Bud!

  1. August 15, 2012 at 4:15 pm
  2. September 14, 2012 at 5:30 pm

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