Production-in-Charge from Concept to Finish

Career Focus
No Excess is a Holland based brand, for which George Batchoun owns the license here in Canada. Suzanne Bachacha, Production-in-Charge at No Excess has been with the company for three years now and works with a team of 6 people dedicated to the No Excess brand. She talks to us about her job and how working with a small team has it's benefits, since it allows one to be more hands-on and involved in every process, from design to production.

Your position must come with many responsibilities, can you give us a quick run-down of your day, perhaps a routine that helps your get through your numerous tasks?
I always start by checking my emails and responding to suppliers and clients and often make myself a “to do” list to help me see the big picture for the day. If we’re at the beginning of a season, then it’s mostly concentrating on sending all tech packs out on time, placing orders and creating purchase orders. Once all orders are placed then it’s basically the routine of fitting and commenting on samples, fabrics, art work strike-offs, lab dips and accessories. Often I need to send samples for client’s approval, so then I need to stay on top and make sure client sends their comments in a timely manner. At No Excess, we always work with a “Production Table” which is basically a list of all the orders and showing all stages of production from A to Z. We fill in dates of when a fit, lab dip or strike-offs been approved and from there do a follow up with suppliers to ensure the next step is on time and deliveries respected at the end of the line.

What would you say are the easiest parts of your job and which ones are the most challenging?
The easiest part would be the daily approval and QC process. Most challenging would be managing time-lines, specially when we’re working with tight deliveries. This industry has become more and more demanding time wise, which is why choosing the right supplier is critical, you need someone who works fast and will do their utmost to help you achieve your delivery on time while maintaining high quality. Having said that, I have to add working in a small team of dedicated individuals helps, we feed off of each others energy, work well together and are able to accomplish our goals together.

Suzanne with colleaguesSince most manufacturing is done overseas, can you tell us a bit about the tasks involved, and how do you deal with it? Which countries does your company do business with directly and what is your role with regard to dealing with people in those countries?

Basically it’s all about good communication on a daily basis; it’s up to me to make sure all their questions are answered and eliminate any doubt or confusion they might have when receiving the orders and tech packs. Once everything is made clear, it’s smooth sailing from there. We mostly work with China, India and Bangladesh. No Excess of Holland has a QC team set up in HongKong and Dhaka to help facilitate communication and follow up with suppliers.

You are trained as a designer as well, would you say that helps to oversee design and production at the same time? What are the benefits of being a designer with a senior position in Production?
I think every designer should know the production process really well. It allows you to automatically foresee any potential problems that could come up once in the process of producing the garment, and consequently give you the chance to solve any issues beforehand. It will definitely save you time down the road.

Since most people seem to be focused on design, how did you get drawn to the production aspect of the fashion industry? Can you tell us briefly about your education and background in fashion?

Initially I did want to be more focused on design, it’s all I’ve ever wanted since I was a Suzanne at No Excesskid. I studied fashion design at Lasalle College and after graduating I worked as an accessories designer for a small local manufacturer, which was a great experience. But with the import business growing in leaps and bounds, it became harder on the creativity side because I couldn’t allow myself to go crazy with the design anymore, otherwise cost would be too high and impossible to sell or compete with the import companies. That’s when I moved to a kids clothing company and started getting a taste of the production side, for me the whole process of seeing the product go from paper to an actual finished product was very interesting and much more challenging.

If someone’s looking for a job in production in your company, what qualities would you be looking for, considering they were just at the beginning of their careers?
I need someone who learns fast, thinks quick, and is good at taking initiative. At the end of the day even though it’s all about team work, you also need to be independent to some degree. I like someone that is willing to put in the extra hours when needed; I certainly wouldn’t be interested in someone who would be quick to walk out the door at 5 on the dot and specially at the busiest time of the season. Hope I don’t sound too demanding but the way I see it, the key to success is dedication and hark work, that simple.

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