On-Demand Apparel Manufacturing at its Finest

During this epidemic, actually tradeshows have been canceled; we highlight one of Apparel Textile Sourcing exhibitors, OnPoint Manufacturing (OPM).  OPM is a company producing on-demand clothing in Florence, Alabama. 

I sat down with Kirby Best, who is the founder and creator of OnPoint Manufacturing, to interview him about his business, his passions, and his future plans.  

Kirby first explained some of the underlining principles, which motivate his company. 

“You cannot hope that a customer will walk into a store and find the size they want on the floor.  They can now order online to their perfect size and have it delivered to their door within days to their exact measurements.”

OPM has created a proven and innovative on-demand manufacturing model.

The OPM motto is “Safety, Quality, Speed, and Respect.”

The Interview

How has Covid-19 affected your operation?

We usually make premium women’s wear and are the largest provider of medical uniforms for American based nursing schools. 

During this epidemic, we have started to make products for the medical industry.  Last Thursday we transitioned the plant and by Sunday we were producing facemasks.

What makes your business different from a typical manufacturer?  

We specialize in a product that is made to order, one piece at a time.   We don’t recommend customers to carry inventory.   

OPM has automated all production processes, except for the sewing stage.  Many of the pre-sewing operations are produced with computers.  

What is the standard lead-time required for a new order?  

OPM likes to deliver every order in three days or less.   It is important that all preproduction requirements (tech packs, parts list, materials) are set up before the order is placed.

If I am building a new brand or specific product, can your company help me source domestic suppliers with low or no minimums? 

Yes, we can point you in the right direction; then you buy the fabric, trims, and stock at their facility.  Then OPM can produce one garment at a time. 

The setup and the raw inventory are the responsibilities of the buyer.

Can you explain how is on-demand different from MTM (made-to-measure)? 

We utilize MTM philosophy with our on-demand technologies. 

Do you cater to the MTM Suit business? 

There are lots of men’s MTM suit companies.   We focus on women’s suits.  Some of our clients are Ten-Four Clothing, Vesta, and Robert Stolz.

In 2017, Amazon got a patent for on-demand apparel manufacturing.   How does this affect your business?  

OPM has been in business since 2013 before Amazon started with its on-demand model.  We believe it is great if more companies could enter the on-demand business model.  This reinforces the need for on-demand clothing. 

I understand you trained to become an Olympian athlete.  How did that influence your subsequent business activities?  

All sports I focused on were speed-related. I love speed, it is so important to the business.  For me, it is about eliminating unnecessary activities before you produce the product. 

What is the most exciting part of your business day?

I am fascinated by the interaction between computer systems and people.  I love to work on this every day. 

What keeps you awake at night?  

Pollution and how we harm the planet.  During my travels, I was appalled by the pollution in our oceans.  Too many container ships; excessive cargo; companies burning excess clothing rather than reselling them. 

Let me just mention, Joel Powers, a person deeply concerned about the environment has stated that if the whole world adjusted to on-demand, the effect on the environment would be huge. 

I am currently creating an RFID chip that has the measurements to record the life cycle of any clothing item. 

What is the best way for someone to get in touch?  

Email, Kirby@onpointmanufacturing.com

Author: Jeffrey Clark

A management professional with 25 years global experience working with fortune 500 and speciality brands, specializing in lean manufacturing, product, supply chain management, procurement, sourcing, and operations. Proven proactive leadership, vision, creative, and successful strategic business skills to drive revenue and profit growth in highly competitive domestic and global markets. A strong relationship builder, functions effectively as an integral member of a cohesive senior executive team. Proven ability to source, identify and capitalize on emerging trends and niche market opportunities.