INDUSTRY SHARING

Vertical Integration by Esquel

Founded in 1978, Esquel Group is a global textile and apparel manufacturer with a vertically integrated supply chain that spans from cotton farming to retailing. With 57,000 employees across the globe and state-of-the-art production facilities in China, Malaysia, Mauritius, Sri Lanka and Vietnam, Esquel manufactures over 100 million pieces of garments annually for leading brands including Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Hugo Boss, Patagonia and Muji. Esquel also distributes through its own retail brands PYE and Determinant.

Having long been an advocate of innovation, environmental protection and corporate social responsibility, Esquel aspires to make a difference in the textile and apparel industry and contribute to the well-being of the wider community. Over the years, textile and apparel manufacturers have faced various challenges: fragile ecosystems, inefficiencies in the supply chain and rising labor costs. These challenges motivate Esquel to pursue innovations in production technologies and processes.

Esquel’s factories around the world are increasingly making use of automation in work processes such as automated guided vehicles (AGVs) for speedy transportation within the shop floor, and advanced customized machinery to speed up production process and improve product quality. The Group sees the adoption of automation as an enabler for workers to upgrade themselves from manual jobs to becoming technicians with higher quality employment. It helps relieve the repetitive, labor-intensive, and physically straining work, and improves the quality and efficiency of production, hence increasing income.

This can be viewed in practice by skilled workers leveraging the support of robotic arms, machine vision technology and self-developed automation modules to improve quality consistency at a new, integrated production line. A highly-automated spinning mill launched in July 2017 in Changji of Xinjiang is another example. The mill requires only 45 staff members to control 30,000 spindles, whereas a traditional mill with such a scale would usually require around 300 workers.

Esquel aims to be more than a shirt-maker. Caring about sustainability is neither about compliance nor for promotional purposes. Instead, it reflects the Group’s corporate vision and commitment, while at the same time it acts to enhance their competitiveness. The Group becomes a facilitator of change, providing quality employment, improving the livelihood of the factory workers and achieving sustainable organizational development.

 
Highly-automated Spinning Mill at Changji, Xinjiang
Adoption of automation on the production floor to improve productivity
Integrated production line that assimilates people and technology to improve quality consistency
 

Materials supplied by Esquel Group