Case Study: SoftShirts automates production and logistics with ApparelMagic and Timereaction

What is Timereaction?

Function: Timereaction coordinates your day-to-day business operations, managing workflow, communications, and scheduling through an integrated calendar app.

Hosting: Timereaction is cloud based, just like ApparelMagic.

Onboarding Difficulty: Low! The Timereaction interface looks much like calendar systems you already use.

Customer Support: Free support and updates

Pricing: Starting at $150 per month for up to 10 users

Learn More: Get the full story from Timereaction’s website.

Overview

For Clayton Hunt, “it all starts with the cotton.”

Hunt, a co-founder of SoftShirts, an organic T shirt manufacturer, is one to talk: he grew up in the American South, where they know their cotton.

“South Carolina used to be textile center of the country. My family was in the yarn business for 80 years, and I got my chops digging through mills in the South,” Hunt says. “I had mentors who taught me how to knit and sew, so I can go into a dye house and set it up exactly how I want.”

Thanks to Hunt’s know-how, SoftShirts is able to follow a business plan that is almost minimalist in an age when his competitors are trying to expand into hundreds of new SKUs every season: “Make one shirt. Make one fabric. Make one dollar. Keep it real simple.”

Challenges

Simplicity, as is often the case, however, is never so easy to pull off.

SoftShirts manages its production down to the yarn, working with suppliers and factories across the world, bringing yarn from India and quality from Peru—all to create the best T-shirts available on the market.

“Most companies are not doing this,” Hunt admits.

Managing their production process requires full transparency. Hunt, who manages production on his own, needs to know where his materials are and where exactly in their WIP stage they sit as they are knit, cut, and dyed.

Working with his factory in Honduras, Hunt found that they were managing their production with only spreadsheets.

When it comes to making quality apparel on time and on budget, “spreadsheets don’t work.” Hunt says, “Nobody knows whats going on.”

The factory relied on just once weekly reports to keep customers abreast of their production status and schedules, leading to outdated, inaccurate data.

“When you do get a report, the data is a week old. You never know what you’ve got,” Hunt said. “I’m more of a real time reactionary: I need to see it right now.”

At the time, the factory was on the look out for ERP software to meet their increased demands, and that’s how Hunt developed a streamlined workflow for his business, combining the features of some of the best software in the business to create a nearly automated process from production to sales.

Solution

“I spent about a year and a half checking out different systems,” Hunt says. “I probably checked ten systems out. I decided to use ApparelMagic because quite honestly it was the only one that could track my contract management.”

With ApparelMagic as the central hub, Hunt was able to keep accurate inventory throughout the process as he got a bird’s eye view of his production pipeline with the Timereaction integration.

Timereaction, a workflow software, keeps everyone in sync through visual calendars that are both easy to understand and incredibly powerful when used across teams and departments.

SoftShirts uses the integration between Timereaction and ApparelMagic to keep both their office team and their factory’s team on the same page. Teams can mark the status of lots and POs so their counterparts can easily see statuses at a glance.

“So if it’s stuck in QC [quality control] because there’s a hole in the fabric and it’s taken twice the time, it shows red on my screen,” Hunt says, the visual cue showing any hiccups in production as soon as the factory reports them.

Insights

What’s the advantage of using this integration rather than a custom-built solution?

“So essentially, without them having to spend $20,000 on an ERP system and project managment, it’s all tied in,” Hunt says. “And they’ve already got the thing built.”

With his fully-integrated workflow, Hunt has been able to automate much of his production and logistics process.

“It’s in the front door of BigCommerce, straight through ApparelMagic, and out the back door at ShipStation,” Hunt says. “It’s seamless.”

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