In business, there is almost always an opportunity to improve your product or grow, however, many companies lack the knowledge or experience to act on those opportunities. This is where consultancy services can provide a key role in the development of a business, as they fill in blind spots and help guide the company onto a path of growth.
It’s important that consultants also have a wealth of knowledge to draw from, which is why the PCIAW® has asked Workwear Solutions International Ltd to help outline how their experience adds value to clients through their consultancy.
How Workwear Solutions International benefits clients through consultancy
Workwear Solutions International offers a full suite of technical product and tendering support services including: design, product development, sourcing (raw materials and finished goods), technical specification and ongoing quality assessment, including in-factory audits. The company also provides tender support services such as preparation of RFTs for release to market and independent technical assessment of both sample requests, supply chain maps/audit information and qualitative written responses.
The company has seen significant growth over the last few years as the need for specialist technical expertise has increased, both for managed service providers and distributors where technical knowledge has not been available in-house.
Navigating the supply chain for uniforms, technical workwear and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) can be challenging, and organisations are often unable to employ specialist roles on a full-time basis due to budgets, specialist availability, or intermittent need.
Therefore, the ability to draw on a flexible outsourced team of experts only when they’re needed is often a huge benefit for clients.
The diversity of backgrounds, experience and product knowledge across the team at Workwear Solutions International is also unique – including designers, garment technicians, a pattern technician, production managers, specialist PPE teams, and tender writers. In addition, as the team has worked extensively on the supplier side of the industry, Workwear Solutions International fully understand challenges from both the supplier and buyer sides of the industry, developing solutions for the benefit of all.
The benefits of successful cooperation
In 2022, Workwear Solutions International was awarded a contract for the Irish Defence Forces (IDF) and Civil Defence Ireland (CDI) to provide technical garment and fabric consultancy services. Since then the company has made significant improvements to those organisations by updating specifications for both the IDF and CDI, prior to launching tenders into the market.
Workwear Solutions International have also completed a full redesign & branding update for the CDI, completed in consultation with their volunteers, and then the team provided the technical specifications required for the next tender.
The company’s consultancy services enabled both organisations to provide better information to industry which in turn will provide greater consistency and quality of product throughout each contract.
The company has also completed design & technical development projects for managed service providers which have seen clients win business in the UK, Europe and the Middle East, with one of the largest overseeing production of PPE for over 100,000 wearers benefiting from enhanced technologies for safety and comfort.
Product sourcing is another area where Workwear Solutions International can help clients be more competitive, helping clients without a procurement team in-house or experience in offshore manufacturing.
Applying experience in manufacturing from sister company Shield360 also helps the team understand manufacturing processes. Bringing smaller projects into the collective production requirements means everyone benefits from the strength of the team’s existing supply chain relationships.
Other benefits of consultancy include the development of products to support diversity in the workforce, and designing full ranges to support client rebranding.
Matching consultancy to the needs of the client
It’s important to adapt consultancy services to specific needs, projects, and products for each client as there is no single solution which fits every company. Workwear Solutions International has a unique position in the industry due to the team’s level and extent of technical expertise and hands-on manufacturing experience.
The team’s experience with industry best practices assists in tackling the unique challenges of the specific client in order to find the best solution for each business based on its own set of challenges and opportunities.
The company’s approach draws on a dynamic and agile team of experts, so clients have the specific knowledge and expertise required for each individual contract, combined with overall oversight of the projects through rigorous reporting, and transparent and regular communication. Workwear Solutions International have fully transparent and robust reporting and tracking processes to assure clients of progress and quality of their work.
Incorporating strategies for improving operations and the supply chain
The team’s experience on the supply chain side of the tender process is highly valuable to end user/buyer clients as they can help navigate and simplify the tender process from pre-tender stage developments through to technical assessment during and post-tender stages.
For managed service providers, their approach is to understand their current business processes and help implement operational efficiencies – this can be driven by a department-by-department assessment of the current practices and offering insight based on experience of having worked for and with various businesses in the industry.
Product development improvements have included resourcing off-the-shelf products to offshore manufacturing to help clients be more competitive in tender processes; a full design and development approach working with clients and the end user to conduct surveys before implementing product & design improvements.
Keeping up-to-date with the industry
In the next 2-3 years consultancy services will be increasingly in demand as there is a reduction in technical expertise being held internally by clients, and a need to supplement in-house expertise with external partners to ensure that technical knowledge, standards, testing and new innovative developments in textiles and garments are kept up to date.
Team members at Workwear Solutions International are not only industry experts, but many also actively participate in, or Chair, relevant product & certification standards Boards at national (UK – BSI) and international (EU – CEN) levels. This ensures the Workwear Solutions International team always have the most up-to-date regulatory information to hand.
The team regularly attend trade shows, conferences and presentations across a wide range of areas, and shares best practices and knowledge from various product categories and industries, from luxury fashion to life-saving PPE.
Natalie Wilson, Founder of Workwear Solutions International, also provides education and training to industry and has presented at conferences, including:
- 2022 – How to Procure Sustainable & Ethical Products – Presented to Public Sector Buyers in Scotland
- 2023 – UK & European Workwear Trends – Presented during an international industry supplier conference in the USA
- 2023 – How to Mitigate Issues within the Tender Process – Presenting to buyers in the UK Fire Service
Support for long-term success
The company’s goal is to develop long-term relationships with clients, with many companies retaining their services for several years after an initial consultancy engagement. The company’s team become a part of their clients’ teams, and the value from day one is evident from the volume of repeat business.
Reporting, production tracking and quality control are all examples of ongoing services Workwear Solutions International deliver for their clients, offering independent assessment and insight into the supply chain from the perspective of end-user buyers or as a managed service provider.
The uniform industry is uniquely different from the fashion industry in that products must last throughout a contract lifespan, which can be anything from 3 – 10 years. It’s therefore crucial to have consistency in supply and product quality, which can be supported through consultancy over the duration of a contract life.