Tell us Mr Larzul... publié le 21/10/2022 - mis à jour le 04/11/2022
the experience of a lifetime...
It’s better to see once than hearing thousands of times.
The first time I heard this quote was in Moscow in 1986 and till now, it’s been my favourite quote. I keep on referring to it with my students at Jean Rostand vocational high school in Angoulême.
At that time, I had to make a three-month training to complete my ESIV Garment Engineer Diploma in Paris.
The Albert Company, located at Les Herbiers in Vendée, proposed me to work on 2 projects for the renovation of garment factories in U.S.S.R. My training period was extended by one month and I had the opportunity to go to Moscow and discuss about the technical part of the project, which was followed by a job proposal in the company. Two months later, a contract of 21 million Swiss francs was signed for one project for a small garment factory located in Oujgorod, near the border of Hungary and the former Czechoslovakia.
For this project, I wrote a very detailed technical documentation about the Albert’s know-how and technical files of some selected garments for women and kids. Then, I supervised the equipment setting up, the travel organization within U.S.S.R. as well as visa issues. However, my main activity was about the organization of training programs for the Ukrainian people in Vendée and training programs in the Oujgorod factory with the assistance of qualified technicians from Albert Company.
Such training programs were the key to our success in such a project, and less than one year later, four other contracts were signed in Moscow, Belgorod, Erevan in the Armenian Republic, and Alma Ata in Kazakhstan. Thus, during 4 full years, I had to communicate in English but also in Russian, a language that I had to learn very quickly.
Unfortunately, after having completed more than seventy-five per cent of those four contracts, they were stopped at the end of 1990, due to the financial and political situations.
In 1991, I joined Catimini, a kid wear company, to set up a joint venture in Madras (presently Chennai) in south India. Besides, working on the joint venture project (land, equipment, planning...) I oversaw some production. In collaboration with the supplier partner, we had to source the fabric locally, in Korea or in Hong Kong.
I also happened to supervise the development of exclusive printed designs using different techniques (discharge print, pigment print...), making suggestions to Catimini.
I also improved the productivity of the sewing lines, training supervisors and operators so that they could get a stitching operating process like those in France, with some adaptation to the Indian way however.
In addition, I contributed to the establishment of a school within the company in order to train future workers on sewing machines, as well as ones who would be assigned to the final control of products at the end of the production line.
If my experience in Thailand for Christian Dior and the following were quite similar to the Indian one, I decided in 2002 to extend my knowledge by doing social audits. Based on my own experience, I noticed that most suppliers had lots of difficulties to have a high quality level and respect the delivery dates.
This personal desire to contribute to the improvement of working conditions also corresponded to the strategy of most international companies having a Corporate Social Responsibility.
From 2003 to 2019, this auditing activity allowed me to visit around five hundred factories in a dozen countries and discover the entire cotton textile industrial activities from ginning to weaving, printing, and making some very specific garments, also in shoes, toys, Christmas decorations and small household appliances.
I became a garment technology teacher in 2018, and then completed the DNL certification in February 2022, to share those experiences with my students and colleagues and transmit my knowledge.
I think that giving my students strong operational skills in English will help them integrate into the professional world.