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Textile Engineering / History of World Fashion
« on: November 24, 2013, 08:55:54 PM »
Early Western travelers, whether to Persia, Turkey, India, or China, would frequently remark on the absence of change in fashion there, and observers from these other cultures commented on the unseemly pace of Western fashion, which many felt suggested an instability and a lack of order in Western culture. The Japanese Shogun's secretary boasted (not completely accurately) to a Spanish visitor in 1609 that Japanese clothing had not changed in over a thousand years.However, there is considerable evidence in Ming China of rapidly changing fashions in Chinese clothing.Changes in costume often took place at times of economic or social change, as occurred in ancient Rome and the medieval Caliphate, but then a long period without major changes would follow. In 8th century Moorish Spain the famous musician Ziryab introduced to Córdoba in Al-Andalus sophisticated clothing-styles based on seasonal and daily fashions from his native Baghdad, modified by his own inspiration. Similar changes in fashion occurred in the 11th century in the Middle East following the arrival of the Turks who introduced clothing styles from Central Asia and the Far East.
Carmen Miranda has launched the fashion of platform shoe.

The beginning in Europe of continual and increasingly rapid change in clothing styles can be fairly reliably dated. Historians, including James Laver and Fernand Braudel, date the start of Western fashion in clothing to the middle of the 14th century. The most dramatic early change in fashion was a sudden drastic shortening and tightening of the male over-garment from calf-length to barely covering the buttocks, sometimes accompanied with stuffing in the chest to make it look bigger. This created the distinctive Western outline of a tailored top worn over leggings or trousers.

The pace of change accelerated considerably in the following century, and women and men's fashion, especially in the dressing and adorning of the hair, became equally complex. Art historians are therefore able to use fashion with confidence and precision to date images, often to within five years, particularly in the case of images from the 15th century. Initially, changes in fashion led to a fragmentation across the upper classes of Europe of what had previously been a very similar style of dressing and the subsequent development of distinctive national styles. These national styles remained very different until a counter-movement in the 17th to 18th centuries imposed similar styles once again, mostly originating from Ancien Régime France. Though the rich usually led fashion, the increasing affluence of early modern Europe led to the bourgeoisie and even peasants following trends at a distance, but still uncomfortably close for the elites – a factor that Fernand Braudel regards as one of the main motors of changing fashion.
Albrecht Dürer's drawing contrasts a well turned out bourgeoise from Nuremberg (left) with her counterpart from Venice. The Venetian lady's high chopines make her look taller.

In the 16th century national differences were at their most pronounced. Ten 16th century portraits of German or Italian gentlemen may show ten entirely different hats. Albrecht Dürer illustrated the differences in his actual (or composite) contrast of Nuremberg and Venetian fashions at the close of the 15th century (illustration, right). The "Spanish style" of the late 16th century began the move back to synchronicity among upper-class Europeans, and after a struggle in the mid-17th century, French styles decisively took over leadership, a process completed in the 18th century.

Though textile colors and patterns changed from year to year, the cut of a gentleman's coat and the length of his waistcoat, or the pattern to which a lady's dress was cut, changed more slowly. Men's fashions were largely derived from military models, and changes in a European male silhouette were galvanized in theaters of European war where gentleman officers had opportunities to make notes of foreign styles such as the "Steinkirk" cravat or necktie.
Marie Antoinette, wife of Louis XVI, leader of fashion

Though there had been distribution of dressed dolls from France since the 16th century and Abraham Bosse had produced engravings of fashion in the 1620s, the pace of change picked up in the 1780s with increased publication of French engravings illustrating the latest Paris styles. By 1800, all Western Europeans were dressing alike (or thought they were); local variation became first a sign of provincial culture and later a badge of the conservative peasant.

Although tailors and dressmakers were no doubt responsible for many innovations, and the textile industry certainly led many trends, the history of fashion design is normally understood to date from 1858 when the English-born Charles Frederick Worth opened the first true haute couture house in Paris. The Haute house was the name established by government for the fashion houses that met the standards of industry. These fashion houses have to adhere to standards such as keeping at least twenty employees engaged in making the clothes, showing two collections per year at fashion shows, and presenting a certain number of patterns to costumers.[16] Since then, the professional designer has become an increasingly dominant figure, despite the origin of many fashions in street fashion. For women, the flapper styles of the 1920s marked the most significant alteration in Western women's fashion in several centuries, with a drastic shortening of skirt-lengths and much looser-fitting clothes. With an occasional revival of long skirts, variations of the shorter length have remained dominant ever since. Though there were many variations, the “flapper uniform,” so to speak, consisted of high-heeled shoes, which were often embellished with buckles or gems, significant amounts of jewellery, especially pieces adorned with gems and pearls, and shorter dresses, the upper portion of which could be either loose or form-fitting. Flappers also often wore cloches, small hats often featuring narrow, downward-oriented brims, to frame their short hairstyles. Flappers were seen as especially seductive figures, and their fashion was at the time controversial for many.

The four major current fashion capitals are acknowledged to be Paris, Milan, New York City, and London, which are all headquarters to the greatest fashion companies and are renowned for their major influence on global fashion. Fashion weeks are held in these cities, where designers exhibit their new clothing collections to audiences. A succession of major designers such as Coco Chanel and Yves Saint-Laurent have kept Paris as the center most watched by the rest of the world, although haute couture is now subsidized by the sale of ready-to-wear collections and perfume using the same branding.

Modern Westerners have a wide number of choices available in the selection of their clothes. What a person chooses to wear can reflect his or her personality or interests. When people who have high cultural status start to wear new or different clothes, a fashion trend may start. People who like or respect these people become influenced by their personal style and begin wearing similarly styled clothes. Fashions may vary considerably within a society according to age, social class, generation, occupation, and geography and may also vary over time. If an older person dresses according to the fashion young people use, he or she may look ridiculous in the eyes of both young and older people. The terms fashionista and fashion victim refer to someone who slavishly follows current fashions.

One can regard the system of sporting various fashions as a fashion language incorporating various fashion statements using a grammar of fashion. (Compare some of the work of Roland Barthes.)

In recent years, Asian fashion has become increasingly significant in local and global markets. Countries such as China, Japan, India, and Pakistan have traditionally had large textile industries, which have often been drawn upon by Western designers, but now Asian clothing styles are also gaining influence based on their own ideas.

Textile Engineering / China is progressing with good homework
« on: November 24, 2013, 08:53:06 PM »
The economic history of the last half century will be dominated by several extraordinary chapters.  Among the most prominent of these will be the reconstruction and economic integration of Europe, the spectacular rise of Japan and the Asian tigers, the impact on world commerce of the internet, and most recently the integration of China into the world economy.  An important part of the China story is that country's joining the World Trade Organization (the "WTO").  For in this one step China decided to commit itself to continuing and expanding a program of economic reforms as sweeping, if not more fundamental, as any ever attempted by any nation at any time in history.

The underlying economic reforms began in earnest in 1978 when Deng Xiao Ping began an opening to the world for his country as spectacular as that achieved by Commodore Perry for Japan over a century earlier, but one decided in this case by the government of the country in question, rather than forced from outside.  What Deng chose as the path for China the Chinese Government formalized by its Accession to the WTO on December 11, 2001.

So much liberalization has been accomplished in so short a period of time, that it may seem uncharitable to focus too much on shortcomings.  But China is not an ordinary player in the world trading system, and vastly different than the usual newly-acceding WTO member.  China is the fifth largest trading partner of the United States.  For China, the United States is the largest trading partner overall, and the largest market for its exports.  Japan is the largest supplier of its imports. China is among the top markets for many of the world's products - automobiles (fourth largest), cell phones (first), and semiconductors (third)[6] to cite just a few examples.  China is the third largest trading entity in the WTO.  So the obligations it undertakes and is willing to further undertake matter to the world trading system. 

Textile Engineering / What is actually GATT?
« on: November 24, 2013, 08:51:10 PM »
The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) was a multilateral agreement regulating international trade. According to its preamble, its purpose was the "substantial reduction of tariffs and other trade barriers and the elimination of preferences, on a reciprocal and mutually advantageous basis." It was negotiated during the United Nations Conference on Trade and Employment and was the outcome of the failure of negotiating governments to create the International Trade Organization (ITO). GATT was signed in 1947 and lasted until 1994, when it was replaced by the World Trade Organization in 1995.

The original GATT text (GATT 1947) is still in effect under the WTO framework, subject to the modifications of GATT 1994.

In the next post,I would elaborate more about GATT.

Textile Engineering / HISTORY of READY MADE CLOTHES
« on: November 24, 2013, 08:48:22 PM »

Before the American Civil War (circa 1860), most clothing was made by tailors or by individuals or their family members at home.  Ready-made or ready-to-wear apparel existed, but its variety was limited.  Mainly coats and jackets (known as outerwear) and undergarments were purchased using predetermined sizes.   

Mass Production & Sizing

The Civil War was a pivotal event in the historical development of men's ready-made clothing.  At the outset of the Civil War, most uniforms were custom-made in workers' homes under government contract. As the war continued, however, manufacturers started to build factories that could quickly and efficiently meet the growing demands of the military.  Mass production of uniforms necessitated the development of standard sizes. Measurements taken of the soldiers revealed that certain sets of measurements tended to recur with predictable regularity. After the war, these military measurements were used to create the first commercial sizing scales for men.

The mass production of women's clothing developed more slowly. Women's outfits generally continued to be custom-made well into the 1920s. In that decade, factors such as the development of industrial production techniques, the rise of the advertising industry, the growth of an urban professional class, and the development of national markets accessed through chain stores and mail order catalogs, contributed to the success of the women's ready-made apparel industry. Ready-made articles of clothing were portrayed as modern and fashionable during a time when the new consumer industries were rapidly redefining the way Americans viewed mass-manufactured goods. Instead of seeing the purchase of mass-produced clothing as entailing a loss of individuality, American women began to accept the pieces of ready-made merchandise as convenient, affordable, and up-to-date fashion items that could be replaced easily as styles changed.

However, the new ready-made clothing often fit poorly. Each manufacturer created its own unique and sometimes arbitrary sizing system based on inaccurate body data or no body data at all. Garments of widely different dimensions were frequently labeled the same size by different manufacturers. This situation resulted in additional costs for alterations and large volumes of returned merchandise. This, in turn, increased costs for the consumer of ready-to-wear clothing.

Standardization of Sizes

In 1937, the U.S. Department of Agriculture prepared to conduct a study of women's body measurements for the purpose of creating a sizing system which the entire industry could follow. During 1939 and 1940, about 15,000 American women participated in a national survey conducted by the National Bureau of Home Economics of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It was the first large-scale scientific study of women's body measurements ever recorded. A technician took 59 measurements of each volunteer, who was dressed only in underwear. Volunteers were paid a small fee for participating. The results of the study were published in 1941 in USDA Miscellaneous Publication 454, Women's Measurements for Garment and Pattern Construction. The purpose of the survey was to discover key measurements of the female body - that is the important measurements from which other measurements could best be predicted - and then to propose a sizing system based on this discovery.

In the mid-1940s, the Mail-Order Association of America, a trade group representing catalog businesses such as Sears Roebuck and Spiegel, asked the Commodity Standards Division of the National Bureau of Standards (NBS, now NIST )to conduct research to provide a reliable basis for industry sizing standards. NBS agreed, and punch cards holding the USDA survey results were transferred to NBS at its request for reanalysis. (While the women's apparel sizing standard is the focus of this exhibit, NBS also reanalyzed USDA data for teenage girls and children, resulting in other standards.) The USDA data was augmented by data received from the Research and Development Branch of the Army Quartermasters Corps during World War II when measurements were taken of 6,510 WAC personnel.

Textile Engineering / How did it Start? The fuel of our economy.
« on: November 24, 2013, 08:45:13 PM »

In the 1950s, labors in the Western World became highly organized; forming trade unions. This and other changes provided workers greater rights including higher pay; which resulted in higher cost of production. Retailers started searching for places where the cost of production was cheaper. Developing economies like Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea presented themselves as good destinations for relocations because they had open economic policies and had non-unionized and highly disciplined labor force that could produce high quality products at much cheaper costs. In order to control the level of imported RMG products from developing countries into developed countries, Multi Fiber Agreement (MFA) was made in 1974. The MFA agreement imposed an export rate 6 percent increase every year from a developing country to a developed country.
It also allowed developed countries to impose quotas on countries that exported at a higher rate than the bilateral agreements. In the face of such restrictions, producers started searching for countries that were outside the umbrella of quotas and had cheap labor. This is when Bangladesh started receiving investment in the RMG sector. In the early 1980s, some Bangladeshis received free training from Korean Daewoo Company. After these workers came back to Bangladesh, many of them broke ties with the factory they were working for and started their own factories.The hundred percent export-oriented RMG industry experienced phenomenal growth during the last 15 or so years. In 1978, there were only 9 export-oriented garment manufacturing units, which generated export earnings of hardly one million dollar. Some of these units were very small and produced garments for both domestic and export markets. Four such small and old units were Reaz Garments, Paris Garments, Jewel Garments and Baishakhi Garments. Reaz Garments, the pioneer, was established in 1960 as a small tailoring outfit, named Reaz Store inDhaka. It served only domestic markets for about 15 years. In 1973 it changed its name to M/s Reaz Garments Ltd. and expanded its operations into export market by selling 10,000 pieces of men's shirts worth French Franc 13 million to a Paris-based firm in 1978. It was the first direct exporter of garments from Bangladesh. Desh Garments Ltd, the first non-equity joint-venture in the garment industry was established in 1979. Desh had technical and marketing collaboration with Daewoo Corporation of South Korea. It was also the first hundred percent export-oriented company. It had about 120 operators including 3 women trained in South Korea, and with these trained workers it started its production in early 1980. Another South Korean Firm, Youngones Corporation formed the first equity joint- venture garment factory with a Bangladeshi firm, Trexim Ltd. in 1980. Bangladeshi partners contributed 51% of the equity of the new firm, named Youngones Bangladesh. It exported its first consignment of padded and non-padded jackets to Sweden in December 1980.

SAM value of a garment is defined as how much time it would take to complete a garment in sewing. This is also known as garment work content and standard minutes.

To know the role of Garment SAM in production planning, first you have to understand primary roles of a Production Planning and Control (PPC) department (or PPC personnel). I have written a post on functions of the PPC department. Refer this article for the details of PPC department’s functions.

Functions of Production Planning Department

To be specific, in this article I am mentioning only key roles of PPC department, those can’t be performed without having garment SAM value.

    Determining capacity of the factory and capacity of the individual sewing lines in terms of how many pieces (product specific) factory can make in a certain time period with existing machines capacity.
    Order booking based on factory capacity for different types of products
    Allocating of styles to the lines
    Determining production lead time for each orders (styles)
    Process scheduling
    Production execution and monitoring

Roles of SAM Value in Production Planning includes

1. Line Capacity Calculation: The scientific method of calculating production capacity of a line (in production pieces per day) is to use standard time (SAM) of a garment. So, to determine production capacity of a line (for specific products) in pieces you need to know garment SAM.

2. Lead Time Calculation: Based on the production capacity, order allocation is done for different lines. A planning guy also need to calculate how long a style would run in a line if loaded in a single line. If you need to complete the order in less time, calculate how many lines to be considered for an order.

3. Order booking: During order booking, you need to consider capacity availability in a certain period. In such cases you can use how many minutes you need to make the new orders using garment SAM value and compare the same with how many production minutes are available in your factory for the defined period.

4. Process Scheduling: Time and action calendar or production process scheduling of each order is done by planning department. Again to schedule a list of tasks, you need to know capacity of each process per day (or a predefined period). Based on the capacity of each process you allocate no. of days for the process. Like for sewing department, you determine sewing capacity of your line (or multiple lines) and according to that you set how many days to be given to sewing department for production.

5. Order Execution and Production Monitoring: Standard minutes help planners to set target for sewing lines. Mutually agreed and calculated target given to line supervisors. On daily basis when you check production status you can compare actual production with target production. In case production is getting delayed you can push production team based on given target.

6. Labor Cost Estimation: One most important task is labor cost estimation of a specific order. To estimate how much labor cost to be considered for an order (style), you can’t make labor costing without having garment SAM value.

All the above six points is proving that garment SAM plays a big role in production planning and controlling function in garment industry.

I had a discussion with one successful entrepreneur of a buying house on this topic. I had also gained knowledge when I was working with number of buying houses, during my job in a garment export house. I will share few points those are essential for starting a buying office. And I hope these notes might be helpful information for your business start up. Actually all the followings points are primary requirement for starting a successful business.

An office:
Initially you don’t need a big office; you can start your business with 3-4 room office. It is essential to prove your existence in the business and a communication address.

Product development cell:
You need to set a product development facility that may include designer(s), a sampling room and show room to display your products and developments. Develop your product range (product profile) with your creative team to attract your buyers.

Minimum working team:
Develop a team with merchants, technical department and Quality Assurance team. Technical team would help your designer to develop products and sampling. Merchants will be required to day to day communication with your buyers and suppliers. Their job can be extended for sample development from supplier factories, sourcing of materials, providing approval to suppliers. Don’t forget to consider quality aspect of samples and production.

Supplier base development:
Develop supplier base in your region or low cost clusters. Make your suppliers’ list as big as possible. There are many reasons of having large suppliers contact. You will get competitive price for production, you can cover wider range of products, have larger capacity for production for big buyers etc. In your supplier base include small supplier as well as medium to large manufacturer for social compliance point of view.

Sample development services for buyers:
Many small buyers look for sample development facility in buying houses. You can do this job for buyers. Actually you don’t need to set up sampling room for this service. For buyer’s samples like FIT and SMS (salesman sample) instead of developing yourselves, go for samples are made by your suppliers, from where you are going to procure the order. Supplier would not disagree for the sampling, provided you would give them production orders. Tactic of earning from sampling services. For small number of samples, suppliers would not charge you. But you can charge for those samples from buyers.

Offer buyers full package of sourcing orders.
Buyer prefers buying houses those provide complete solution for garment sourcing. Like

    Product development
    quality assurance and shipment inspection
    Logistics and shipment

Good relation with buyers:
When you are going to start buying house, I assume that you have contact / good relationship with some buyers. And you might know well about buyer’s behavior. Prepare yourself accordingly. I mean

    Fabrics preferences
    Product range
    Costing procedures and achievable cost
    Colors for various seasons

No contact with buyers?
If you have no contact with buyers, you can proceed with following method

    Develop your product range
    Create a list of buyers those are sourcing similar to your product range
    Contact buyers and show them your product range
    Start your business

Do you like this post? Please share by clicking on the following sharing options. It may help your friends to achieve their dreams.

Garment manufacturing is considered as easy process compared to other businesses. But you know that how difficult it is to maintain certain level of performance and controlling things in production floor. Most of the factories are working with multiple software and spreadsheets; enter same data to different reports. You might push hard developing a best system through training, expert guidance those would not sustain if you don’t have necessary tools. I will show you examples below.

For more than two years I am working with a real time solution provider and implemented this system in numbers garment factories. Through data analysis, I observed many real statistical figures of production floor those can’t be measured correctly without having such systems. If you are looking for sustainable growth, want to get control over your production floor, you must go for real time solutions.

Before you jump for searching a real time system for your factory, read 7 reasons why I think installation of such costly (most people think so) solution is beneficial for your factory and employees.

1. Line balancing
How do you balance your sewing lines after loading a style? Are you happy with balancing a line using pitch diagram and capacity study? Or frustrated? An imbalanced line makes your line efficiency and productivity worse than anything else. Is there any good tool than real time line balancing tool? I think no. Real time system collects production data from each workstation and system generate live line balancing graphs on real time. These graphs would help you to find bottleneck operations, alarms you about how many pieces operators can make by the day. System can also show you the alternatives (operators) to improve bottleneck operations and meet the daily production target. This system helps you for quick decision making.

2. Skill matrix
Being a production guy or Industrial Engineer you know why an operator skill-matrix is important to a factory. Preparation of skill matrix is not an easy task if you use conventional method. Secondly, you need to update your skill matrix in regular basis. You test operators in different machines though most of the operators will work on the same machines most of the time. When it comes using of skill matrix, you select operators from charts of skill matrix, but not sure about operator’s latest performance level.

When you use real time system, operator skill-matrix gets updated automatically. Even you can check operator efficiency level in all operations they did earlier. No hard work at all.

3. Incentive scheme for sewing operators
One most effective way to increase productivity of a factory is motivating sewing operators through performance based incentive system. You can make a nice incentive scheme for your operators and collect required data manually. But it would not be nice work for incentive calculation for individual operators and keeping operators happy. Calculation of incentive earning by individual/group using manual system is not sustainable. Secondly, there would be limitation in designing multiple incentive schemes together. A real time system can solve all these issue related to performance based incentive schemes. You just need to set your incentive calculation parameters and system will give you incentive earning reports daily, weekly and monthly.

4. Quality data tracking
Probably you collect quality performance data from inline and end of the line (off-line) inspection. First thing – it is very difficult job for collecting defects/defective pieces and secondly later you need to involve extra person for data entering to computer and analyze quality data. The main point is – when you get to know the quality issues in the line, it get delayed to fix the issue. A real time system can show you quality reports quicker with information such as operations from where defect generates and who sews the defective component.

5. Non-productive time

Time lost once is gone forever. You might not know or get such analysis how many hours in a week you are losing due to non-productive work (lost time). You can’t even believe the non-productive time may be upto 25% of your total production time (From one of my analysis). If you can’t measure off-standard time, you are really losing lot of productivity improvement potential.

27 weeks study of on-standard and off-standard hours of line line making woven garments (small and medium size orders) 

6. Order tracking:
Everyone needs the status report of an order. Merchants, production planning guy, marketing person and factory managers, even buyers need to know the order status any time during the day. All of them get busy with phone for getting updates from production team and make production team busy in collecting data making report with so many stories and problems. Do you know how much time get wasted on report making? A real time system generates order status report automatically and everyone can check order status by their own from anywhere with internet connection.

One common production report production by hour for lines can be displayed through system.

7. Automated MIS reporting:
Making report on excel sheet is never an easy task. In the morning while everyone to spend few minutes just for thinking how to spend the day, what jobs need to be completed, few HODs, IE guy heads on the computer screen and starting punching data for production reports, WIP reports, costing etc. And a manual report comes with many errors. Data entry for MIS reports can be eliminated by using a real time system.

Most real time systems don’t have all the above solutions in a single system. But Leadtec system designed to provide you solutions for above mentioned problems. In your opinion, are there any other systems that can provide us such benefits?

Washing and finishing process in garment manufacturing come after sewing. factories always talk about shipment delays. And start fault finding after things get delayed. Most factories focus on production and pre-production activities to reduce shipment delays. But delay in finishing and washing department may also cause your shipment delay. Let's see why there is delay in washing and finishing processes.

Followings are some of those reasons that make delay in washing and finishing process.

1. R&D is not done for washing
Washing process is very critical one. To get exact hand feel and washed look after washing as per requirement you have to follow right method. So, for each and every new product (or fabrics) factories need to do R&D to define correct recipe and washing cycles. If a factory don’t follow it, rewashing may be required for whole garments. And reprocessing makes delay in washing.

2. Delay in approvals
Many times it is found that fishing department does not get approvals of some trims and specific method. Without approval of such things finishing process become slower that causes delay finishing process. These approval delays may be from internal departments (merchants or quality assurance) both for washing and finishing.

3. Don't have capacity as per order
Both in washing and finishing you need to plan production as per your process capacity. If your washing capacity is less than the required capacity, washing of the order would be getting delayed. Similarly, you have estimate practical finishing capacity of your finishing department. Otherwise finishing of the style will be getting delayed.

4. Don't anticipate processing faults, delays
Many unwanted things may happen in washing and finishing process. You have to anticipate those and you have to keep buffer time for the same. Alteration and reprocessing time may not be added while planning is done finishing process. So, when unanticipated functions added to the finishing process, garment finishing gets delayed.

5. Received defective and faulty garments from sewing department
A common practice in the garment manufacturing industry that sewing department send stitched garment to finishing department without checking goods 100% and even they checked goods all defects are not repaired prior to sending garments to finishing department. All defectives garments need to be repaired by finishing department. Alteration like – mending, repairing garments, spotting etc took time to complete finishing. Also it is found that factory have limited person for alteration. Secondly, checking time per garment increased when there is lot of defective garments.

6. Change in instruction of finishing
There is rare case of instruction changes in finishing and packing that may cause delay in finishing. Sometime changes are not incorporated with finishing department when style was loaded and later they were informed. In this case reprocessing for some tasks may be required.

7. Internal Quality failure
After packing of garments internal QA team does auditing of the finished goods. If they found defective pieces in the packed garments, rechecking of all packed goods are required and you will be needed manpower and time for rechecking.

There are some other reasons which are usual and not avoidable that cause delay in washing and finishing.

8. Manpower shortage
Garment finishing includes number of process like checking, thread trimming, pressing, spotting, mending alteration, folding, tagging and packing. For these processes need number of workforce in finishing department. Worker absenteeism may cause delay in finishing.

9. Machine maintenance issue
Sometimes factory gets stuck in finishing due to machine breakdown. In case fixation of machines problem tokes longer than normal time, finishing process gets delayed.

Mass manufacturing in garment industry is growing in very fast pace and at the same time technology and supporting departments are getting in place. But the real fact is - still most of the garment manufacturing companies don’t have industrial engineering set up. It is not only Bangladesh, even in India and other garment exporting countries, there are many companies those are managed without engineers.

The alternative way is calculating machine productivity to estimate line capacity as well as your factory capacity. To measure machine productivity of a line you don’t need any engineer. If one know the procedure and formula of calculating productivity of the production floor, can find machine productivity easily. Later this productivity data would be considered as base of production planning.

Method of calculating Machine productivity:

Machine productivity is defined as number of units produced per machine in a given time period. From the daily production and machine used to produce those garments you can measure machine productivity per day. Formula used to calculated machine productivity of a line

Machine productivity = (Total production of a line in a day / No. of machines in the line) pieces per day per machine

For example, suppose a line of 35 machines has produced 280 pieces per day (8 hours shift day). Machine productivity of the line

= 280/35 pieces per machine per 8 hours day

= 8 pieces per machine per 8 hours day

Finding daily line output data and machine numbers would not be a difficult job to anyone. Just for your information - style to style productivity will vary depending on work content of the style. So, you can prepare a database of the machine productivity for the previously produced styles. You can use historical data while required and update your machine productivity after each style gets over.

How to use productivity data in Production Planning:

To explain this I need to repeat few things that have been explained in earlier article. That I don't like. Using productivity figure you can measure following things those come under production planning functions

Factory capacity Calculation:
Suppose machine productivity of your factory for ladies blouse is 6 pieces per machine per 8 hours shift and you have total 400 machines in your factory. So daily production capacity of your factory for ladies blouse would be equal to 400*6 pieces or 2400 piece per day (8 hours shift).

Factory capacity calculation formula of a given product

Factory capacity  (in pieces) = (Machine productivity * No. of running machines in your factory) 

Other planning related tasks those can be performed using factory capacity and line capacity figures are as following -

    Lead time calculation
    Order booking 
    Order scheduling
    Cost per piece

You can also measure line capacity using labor productivity data. But machine number in a factory is more stable than manpower (labor). I would prefer to suggest you to use machine productivity in measuring your factory capacity in term of how many pieces factory can produce in a certain time period.

Would love to hear how you do planning where garment SAM is not measured.

Industrial Engineers normally calculate direct labor cost (sewing) of the product. Labor cost per unit directly related on the line efficiency (performance). When line efficiency increases, production of the line increases. See the graph on bottom right. So, the cost per garment goes down when line efficiency increases.

Normally engineers calculate per minute labor cost at 100% line efficiency based on operators’ monthly salary. Labor cost per minute increased as line efficiency goes down. Many engineers make a matrix of line efficiency Vs. labor cost per minute ( See the following table for an example of such matrix).

Once they have labor cost per minute against line efficiency as shown in right table, minute cost is multiplied by garment SAM value to calculate garment cost. Using the simple formula you can also calculate labor cost per minute of your factory.

Example: Suppose you have a line of 30 operators and all are salaried workers. So, you pay fixed amount to your workers instead of their performance level. Right? At present line perform at 30% and daily output is 300 pieces and if daily salary of the operator is USD 5.0, per piece labor cost becomes (30*5/300 ) or USD 0.5 per unit.

Suppose efficiency increased upto 60%, at this efficiency level line will make double garments i.e. 600 pieces per day. In this case operator's daily salary remains same. So per garment labor cost now become = USD (30*5/600) = USD 0.125

Here I have shown you straight method. Average line efficiency of a product varies depending on the following factors.

    Order quantity per style
    Product construction difficulty level

So, the cost of the garment varies accordingly.

 Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) – A Process Management Tool for the Garment Factories
Standard operating procedure (SOP) is not a new thing for the garment industry. SOP is well known and is widely used by many organized factories.

SOP can be defined as a step-by-step written procedure about how to do a job that gives desired result and maintains consistency in results. SOP can also be defined as a checklist for the user (operator) who is going to do a particular job. SOP is a sure success method of doing a job.

More than just written instructions SOP can be also made using illustrations and flow charts. For some processes factory only needs to provide detailed instructions to perform a task, where some processes required instruction as well as decision making based on result of intermediate steps.


If you thought it was cold where you are at the moment then a visit to the Russian village of Oymyakon might just change your mind.

With the average temperature for January standing at -50C, it is no wonder the village is the coldest permanently inhabited settlement in the world.

Known as the 'Pole of Cold', the coldest ever temperature recorded in Oymyakon was -71.2C.

This is the lowest recorded temperature for any permanently inhabited location on Earth and the lowest temperature recorded in the Northern Hemisphere.

The village, which is home to around 500 people, was, in the 1920s and 1930s, a stopover for reindeer herders who would water their flocks from the thermal spring.

But the Soviet government, in its efforts to settle nomadic populations, believing them to be difficult to control and technologically and culturally backward, made the site a permanent settlement.

Ironically, Oymyakon actually means 'non-freezing water' due to a nearby hot spring.

Most homes in Oymyakon still burn coal and wood for heat and enjoy few modern conveniences.

Nothing grows there so people eat reindeer meat and horsemeat. A single shop provides the town's bare necessities and the locals work as reindeer-breeders, hunters and ice-fisherman.

Doctors say the reason the locals don't suffer from malnutrition is that their animals' milk contains a lot of micronutrients.

Unsurprisingly, locals are hardened to the weather and unlike in other countries - where a flurry of snow brings things grinding to a halt, Oymyakon's solitary school only shuts if temperatures fall below -52C.

The village is located around 750 metres above sea level and the length of a day varies from 3 hours in December to 21 hours in the summer.

And despite its terrible winters, in June, July and August temperatures over 30c are not uncommon.

There are few modern conveniences in the village - with many buildings still having outdoor toilets - and most people still burn coal and wood for heat. When coal deliveries are irregular the power station starts burning wood. If the power ceases, the town shuts down in about five hours, and the pipes freeze and crack.

Oymyakon lies a two day drive from the city of Yakutsk, the regional capital, which has the coldest winter temperatures for any city in the world.

It is served by two airports and is home to a university, schools, theatres and museums.

Daily problems that come with living in Oymyakon include pen ink freezing, glasses freezing to people's faces and batteries losing power. Locals are said to leave their cars running all day for fear of not being able to restart them.

Even if there was coverage for mobile phone reception the phones themselves would not work in such cold conditions.

Another problem caused by the frozen temperatures is burying dead bodies, which can take anything up to three days. The earth must first have thawed sufficiently in order to dig it, so a bonfire is lit for a couple of hours. Hot coals are then pushed to the side and a hole couple of inches deep is dug. The process is repeated for several days until the hole is deep enough to bury the coffin.

Travel companies offer tourists the opportunity to visit the village and sample life in the freezing conditions.

Bangladesh, once poor and irrelevant to the global economy, is now an export powerhouse, second only to China in global apparel exports, as factories churn out clothing for brands like Tommy Hilfiger, Gap, Calvin Klein and H&M. Global retailers like Target and Walmart now operate sourcing offices in Dhaka, the capital. Garments are critical to Bangladesh’s economy, accounting for 80 percent of manufacturing exports and more than three million jobs.
But with “Made in Bangladesh” labels now commonplace in American stores, Bangladesh’s manufacturing formula depends on its having the lowest labor costs in the world, with the minimum wage for garment workers set at roughly $37 a month. During the past two years, as workers have seen their meager earnings eroded by double-digit inflation, protests and violent clashes with the police have become increasingly common.
In response, Bangladeshi leaders have deployed the security tools of the state to keep factories humming. A high-level government committee monitors the garment sector and includes ranking officers from the military, the police and intelligence agencies. A new special police force patrols many industrial areas. Domestic intelligence agencies keep an eye on some labor organizers.
“The garment industry is No. 1 for exports and dollars for the country,” said Alonzo Suson, who runs the Solidarity Center in Dhaka, an A.F.L.-C.I.O.-affiliated labor rights group. “Any slowdown of that development is a national security issue.”

For global brands, which are forever chasing the cheapest labor costs from country to country, Bangladesh has been a hot spot, especially as wages have risen in China. McKinsey, the consulting giant, has called Bangladesh the “next China” and predicted that Bangladeshi garment exports, now about $18 billion a year, could triple by 2020.

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