Tanya Miller, Uniforms Manager at Virgin Atlantic, and Lydia Stringer, Account manager at ICW, visited seven factories in Porto, Portugal over three days.
Fact — the factories can create between 800-1,000 pairs of shoes a day and around 3,000 skirts and jackets a week.
“The quality of the manufacture out of Portugal remains a key factor to VA whose employees wear their uniforms with pride.” – Tanya
Purpose of the visit:
To view the new factories and learn about how the garments are made. Each factory specialises in a different garment, we saw men’s jackets and trousers and female jackets, skirts and both high heeled and flat shoe factories. Each member of staff is dedicated to their part of the production, they don’t swap or change roles, this enables them to become experts, ensuring a great quality garment.
The garments are manufactured in batches, so for example; once a batch of 50 Regular 10 jackets have been made they move onto a different size, this speeds up the process ensuring maximum quantity. Ranges are never mixed so they will do all the jackets for Virgin first before moving onto a different customer as everything has to be reset on the line ready to start a new garment.
The patterns for the garments are emailed to the factory from the head offices in Portugal and then they are set up on the machine in the factory to begin cutting the patterns out. The factory keep the specifications for each item at the end of the line so they can refer back if needed. Every single garment is individually quality checked before it arrives at Incorporatewear in the UK – ensuring the best quality garments for our customers.
Tanya Miller from Virgin Atlantic visited Portugal for her first visit seven years ago during the tender process. She was pleased that the original factories not only remained strong but are also investing in the latest technology and machinery which she says is really encouraging for the future of both businesses. Seeing the new factories gave her a better understanding of how the production scheme works, and the detail that goes into VA garments and shoes she says is incredible. Tanya commented that she really enjoyed seeing the factory representatives come together to celebrate the opening of the new offices. Being invited to the factories showed Tanya how much ICW & Martin, who manages the factories in Portugal, value their customers, she said it was great to feel a part of the team.
“I just want to add a special thanks to Martin and Elizabeth who went the extra mile to show me not only an incredible seven factories, but also the best of Porto which is greatly
appreciated” – Tanya