George - Accredited Supplier Training Programme case study
In 2012 George launched a training scheme called the George Supplier Academy, which has led to an increase in quality standards and a reduction in wastage of energy, materials and time.
16 January 2015
A household name across the UK, George has developed a strong reputation for quality, style and value over the last 24 years. With around 600 primary production factories across the globe creating and delivering clothing and apparel for George, ensuring high quality standards before products were delivered to port was difficult to manage. George wanted to reduce the returns back to the factories which ultimately cost both George and their supplier’s time and money.
George approached City & Guilds in the search for a solution to reducing the overall amount of returns to suppliers.
The existing George Supplier Academy represented a considerable opportunity for development and City & Guilds Kineo, the employer team at City & Guilds, set about working in partnership with the Quality Assurance team at George to develop an innovative approach to engaging and developing the supplier network.
During the first phase of development, the team helped George to improve the framework of their training programme, mapping out what it should offer and ensuring it met relevant training benchmarks. This included developing a ‘train the trainer’ programme to ensure consistently high quality and cost-effective training across the George supply network.
To assure the quality of this training, George went through the process of having their training accredited by City & Guilds, the leading vocational awarding body, further demonstrating their commitment to excellence with an internationally recognised seal of approval.
Ben Wesley, Quality Assurance Manager for George said “This initiative helps factory workers to develop their skills, empowering them to inspect their garments to the highest quality standards. They take more ownership of their own quality and keep rejections later down the line by George Inspectors to a minimum.”
Since the initial launch in 2012, over 560 workers have completed the Assured Quality Level training, a four-day course that gives workers accredited status to inspect products to George requirements. On completion of the course, colleagues receive a City & Guilds Accredited certificate, something which George have found to be very well received across the supplier network.
As well as motivating the learners, the return on investment for George and their suppliers has been outstanding. Ben Wesley, Quality Assurance Manager for George said:
“Since the introduction of the AQL Inspection Accreditation training in September 2012 we have seen an 8% decrease in our Defective Returns Rate.” One of George’s suppliers said the “AQL Academy course supports us to conduct self-inspections of all our shipments, saving us the time and cost which we spent on third party inspections.”
After the success of the first accredited programme, a further three programmes have been added to date, with more in the pipeline.
The Academy has been implemented globally and is currently active in Bangladesh, China, India, Italy, Morocco, Sri Lanka, Turkey and the United Kingdom and has helped to improve pride and morale amongst suppliers and their factories, as well as improving efficiencies.