Virtual Training and Assistance in the Apparel Industry

This collaboration with ISAIC, a US-based NGO dedicated to responsible production of high-quality and sustainable garments, aimed to identify and test a virtual delivery method for remote training and assistance in machine maintenance and problem-solving. The virtual method will be part of a system for certified apprenticeship training that will articulate competencies in a more relevant manner within the sewn goods industry. The study of possible methods for on-demand machine repair or training was conducted by looking at commercially available tools used previously in other industries.

The need for a remote assistance solution comes as a result of a series of factors: a scarce number of expert technicians in specific countries, the frequent need for in-person assistance, a strong interest in production and problem-solving optimization, and the intention to work more sustainably are only a few.

During the collaboration a group of stakeholders was interviewed to provide a better understanding of how the technology should adapt to the needs of the sewn goods industry. A careful analysis of software and hardware tools presently available was conducted. Putting together the requirements communicated by stakeholders and the review of software-hardware options available, a subset of tools were selected for an in-depth, hands-on study. Team members from ISAIC and E4C carried out virtual assistance test calls to become familiar with the technology, and ultimately identified the most appropriate tools needed for the industry.

The work was completed with a preliminary analysis of how these remote training and assistance tools could be made available to other partners in the U.S. By bringing tested smart solutions to the industry, ISAIC is contributing to making the fashion industry more efficient and sustainable.

Figure: A remote assistance system will help in the communication between local machine technicians and remote experts, and it will also be useful for remote training of sewing skills (Source: Authors).


E4C 2021 PROGRAM MANAGEMENT TEAM: Mariela Machado, Senior Program Manager; Grace Burleson, Research Manager; Marilynn Holguín Clover, Program Coordinator; Jonathan Kemp, Program Associate 

ADVISORS AND COLLABORATORS: Alex Allen, Production Manager; Alex Stchekine, Technical Facilities Manager; Jen Guarino, President & CEO. 

This research was completed as part of the 2021 E4C Fellowship program. Learn more about the Fellows who worked on this research collaboration by connecting with them on LinkedIn: Maria Nieves Brunet and Carolina Rojas.

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