Anyone who is currently completing an apprenticeship or study course within the apparel industry takes digital working for granted. Many schools and universities use Assyst software for teaching and research. Bettina Peichl is a Pre-Sales Consultant at Assyst, and it’s part of her job to present our solutions to the young professionals in the industry. She was recently a guest at the AMD (Academy of Fashion & Design) in Düsseldorf. We talked to her and AMD’s Stephanie Herwig about how they teach students all about software.
Ms. Herwig, thank you for the invitation to the AMD! What do the students learn in your lecture?
SH: In my “IT Applications” lecture, students get an overview of how operational processes can be supported by IT systems. The business processes are based on a fictitious business model from the field of fashion and they’re modelled together with the students. They learn which processes exist in a company and how they can be supported with different IT design systems, like Adobe Illustrator, for example, 2D systems for cuts and 3D systems for virtual product development as well as ERP, SCM and visual merchandising solutions.
Why do you think it makes sense to integrate software ideas into your teaching?
SH: As a rule, a technical university doesn’t have an integrated IT infrastructure that maps all the business processes of a company – but some universities have individual IT solutions available, such as a 2D system that students use during their studies – so it’s very useful to integrate software ideas into the course. Students can see “live” how the particular IT system works. More business models and processes can also be discussed during the software presentations. The students learn that software can be adapted to the customer in different ways depending on the business processes in question.
What do you see as the greatest challenges of digitalization for the sector?
SH: One of the biggest challenges here is the rapidly developing technology. It’s important to find exactly the right solution for a company from a great number of technological possibilities. In many companies, however, the necessary knowledge is either not available or too sparse on the ground to define an optimal and successful digitalization strategy. The fashion sector itself also has special challenges – it’s affected by many insolvencies, caused by surplus products that were developed in a way that simply didn’t take market requirements into account – and the textile and fashion industry is also regarded as being a very large polluter. Digitalization must be seen as an opportunity to increase the efficiency of the processes. It’s important to me that my teaching gives students an overview of the wide range of possibilities, enabling them to realize the range of challenges they’re going to face when they finally get into the job market.
Bettina, which topics do you focus on during a demo at a school or technical university?
BP: The lecturer who invites us to speak always has various subjects planned for his teaching course, and we base our demos on these. We do frequently use digitalization as an introduction to customer presentations, but it’s also very prevalent in teaching today, because it’s generally much more widespread in the everyday work of the new generation. I’m then asked to focus more on the manual side, such as providing insights into certain work steps.
What do you demonstrate with 3D Vidya, for instance?
BP: At the outset, I like to show the video with the green cloth and the torus – this is a good way to show students how well we can represent materials and movements. I introduce the Avatar tool and show the students that our avatars enable us to access unique, representative data. To demonstrate 3D Vidya, I find the sewing of a T-shirt and the possibilities of checking the sizing & fitting ideal for teaching, because it really interests and impresses the students. Then I show them a few functions like mix and match, scenes with different lighting and shirts, both hanging and folded. This gives the pupils and students a realistic impression of what can actually be done.
What is the biggest difference between customer training and preparing for a demo in a school or university?
BP: Probably the biggest difference is the students’ thirst for knowledge – they’re really curious and want to know about all the possibilities. In contrast, people who’ve been working in the industry for a long time usually have very specific ideas about what a software should do for them. They expect solutions for one specific task, while the young people think creatively about all the different ways they could use the software. I always learn a lot from the different perspectives of both of these groups!
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