Fully Factored Manufacturing versus CMT Manufacturing - Pros & Cons
Understanding the types of manufacturing available and picking the right one!
There is no straight line to choosing the right manufacturer for you, each factory, supplier or studio is different and will be able to offer you different products and services.
The main difference between factories is whether they offer “Fully Factored” manufacturing or "CMT" manufacturing.
- Fully Factored manufacturing practically means it is a ‘one-stop shop’. When you send the tech pack to these kinds of factories they will take that as a guide and do the rest. This means they will develop samples, source all materials needed like fabric, zips, labels etc and then head to production. Things like pattern making and grading will be done in house.
- CMT or Cut - Make - Trim differs from fully factored as you or the brand will need to supply all materials and elements to the factory and they will simply be in charge of cutting the fabric, sewing the garment and applying all trims. You would be expected to provide tech packs, patterns, fabric and linings, zips and any trims.
You may have read the differences and thought “Why on earth would I choose CMT?”, which may be true if you are looking to outsource the majority of your production. However as soon as you hand over the reins to someone else, you lose control. Often CMT is the best option as it ensures that you are making all sourcing and supply decisions to reflect your brand's values and ethics, not someone else's (in this case the factory).
You will need to assess the outcomes of each type of production in terms of quality and brand image. Are you marketing your brand as artisanal or do you pride yourself on ethically sourced materials? Unfortunately with fully factored production you cannot guarantee your manufacturer will pick a supplier based on your values rather than their own profit margin.
We should all be striving for transparency in the fashion industry and opting for CMT manufacturing is the best way to achieve sustainability and ensuring all aspects of production are ethical and sustainable. I also believe that if you are entering the fashion industry it can be a great learning experience to source materials and be hands on in the sampling and production process through the CMT model.
Another element to consider when comparing the two is what kind of quantities are you looking to produce. Generally, CMT factories will offer lower MOQs (minimum order quantities) than fully factored manufacturers. This is due the responsibility of supplying falling on the manufacturer when it comes to fully factored. They will be looking to order fabric at high meterage to reduce costs and therefore will often require higher MOQs.
Whilst I would recommend choosing CMT to brands that are starting out and for those who produce in small quantities it is often unreasonable for large productions to be completed through the CMT model. For some brands producing in larger quantities and needing things like printing and custom fabrication it is best to work with a reliable and hands on fully factored manufacturer. Just ensure you require the signing off of all materials for quality standards and take time to do one or two rounds of sampling each collection. During these unprecedented times where travel is not an option it is impossible to visit potential factories so please request certifications and quality assurances from each factory you approach.
At the end of the day, you will be deciding what is best for your brand and you may land yourself a manufacturer that is a hybrid of all these qualities. Remember to provide detailed specifications through your tech pack and provide clear instructions on every detail that you require.
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