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7 Wastes of Lean in Garment

One prime objective of industrial engineering is to increase
productivity by eliminating waste and non-value adding
operations from the manufacturing process. So it is essential
to know the wastes and non-value adding functions those
exist in garment manufacturing.

There are many articles published on lean manufacturing and

7 wastes related to lean manufacturing those mostly
showcased example of other industries. Cases of 7 wastes in
the garment industry are rare on the web. May be thats why I
have been asked many times to write a brief note on this
topic. In this article, I have explained 7 forms of wastes of
Lean with examples related to garment manufacturing.

In lean manufacturing we focus increasing time on value

added activities by reducing or eliminating wastes (non-value
adding time). Let see what value added activities mean.

Value added activities:

Value added activities are those activities that transform or
change the form of the material. Rests of the activities those
add cost but not value to the product are called as non-value
added activities. In garment manufacturing there are some
activities those don't add value but necessary. Transportation
of cuttings (bundles) to sewing department is such example of
non-value added but essential task.

7 wastes of lean manufacturing:

7 types of wastes and non-value adding activities are as
T Transportation
E Excess Inventory
E Excess Motion
W Waiting
O Over production
O Over processing
D Defects
To make it easy to remember 7 wastes, memorize the word
TEEWOOD with initials of 7 wastes. In the following, 7 wastes
are explained briefly with examples of garment industry

1. Transportation
When work is transferred from one place to another is a nonvalue added activity. Moving cuttings from cutting department
to sewing lines, transporting stitched garments from sewing
floor to finishing department, Moving garment bundles in the
line using center table or trolley. Where transportation cant
be eliminated, think how transportation time can be reduced.

By using overhead transportation rail in sewing lines,

transportation of bundles or single pieces can be automated.

2. Excess inventory
Inventories of a factory represents those items which are
either in the process of manufacturing or idle resources
(material) of a factory or materials in stock. And excess
inventory means keeping or generating inventory for the
following process more than the demand of the following
Excess inventory is found in fabric and trim stores, cutting
racks, finishing trolleys. Excess inventories are wastes for the
factory, as per lean philosophy. Inventory is money. When
inventory piled up in stores and on floors, you are blocking
your money and are blocking your working space. Even in a
sewing line excess work-in-process (WIP) are considered as
excess inventory.

3. Excess motion
In workstations where operators sew garments, press-men
press garments, workers finish and pack garments, excess
motions exits there. Excess motion at workstations is found
due to poor training of workers in working methods and habit
of working in traditional ways. In the factories where there are
engineering department to designs workstation layout,
operators may use excess motion due to poor workstation

4. Waiting
This waste is defined as people or things waiting around for
the next action. This term has been discussed in an earlier
published article as one of the non-productive times in
In garment factory, waiting as waste is found in all processes.
Like, sewing operators wait for cuttings (no feeding),
supervisors waits for final instruction and go ahead for quality

approvals. Merchandisers wait for buyer approvals. Waiting is

a visible waste in manufacturing as operators and other
employees produce nothing while they wait for work or due to
other reasons. Few other examples of such waste are delay
in sourcing materials, cutting delays due to fabric approvals
and consumption approval.

5. Over Production
This waste can be simply defined as doing or making things
those are not required now. Over production generate excess
inventory. In the garment factories, over production is found in
cutting department and in sewing operations. For example, if
daily production demand from sewing is 5000 pieces, and
factory makes/cuts more than that that quantity (demand),
factory is producing excess units of garments than needed by
the following process for the day (finishing). Over-production
cause imbalance in work in process (WIP).

6. Over processing
This waste can be defined as doing task or adding features to
the product those are not requirement from the customer. In
garment construction, some operations may not be essential
to give the final look and construction. Example: Multiple
checking in finishing (initial checking, pre-final checking and
final checking).

7. Defects
Producing defects while making garments are waste of money
and effort. As everyone in the factory are aware that no
defective garment can be shipped then why to produce
defective pieces? Defects in garment manufacturing are like
shade variation, wrong cutting, stitching defective garment
etc. In case defective garments are made, factory needs to
alter and repair those defective garments before handing over
to the buyer. Repair work costs money and time. In lean
manufacturing factories aim to produce garments right first
time. For different types of defects found in garments read
this article.

There are various wastes exits in garment factory. I would love

to hear from you on 7 wastes and example of such wastes
that you have dealt in your work areas.

Garment Manufacturing Process Flow

Topics: apparel industry, Apparel Production By: Prasanta
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Garment manufacturing includes number of processes from
order receiving to dispatching shipment of the finished
garments. A process flow chart helps to understand how raw
materials are moved from one process to another process
until raw materials are transformed into the desired product

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To be noted that a process flow chart made for the garment

manufacturing processes will vary based on manufacturing
facility and product types. As some companies do whole
process in single plant when others do production jobs and
other auxiliary processes are outsourced.
Based on present apparel industry, garment manufacturing
processes are categorized as
Pre-Production Processes - Pre-production process includes
sampling, sourcing of raw materials, Approvals, PP meeting
etc. Read this for further reading on pre-production processes.
Production processes - Production processes are cutting,
sewing etc.
Post production processes - thread trimming, pressing,
checking, folding and packing, shipment inspection etc.
Instead of making a single process flow chart, I have made
one chart for major processes and two separate charts for
cutting room processes and finishing processes for detailed
process chart.

Chart#1. Garment manufacturing process flow

chart (major processes)

Chart#2. Cutting Room Process Flow Chart

Chart#3. Finishing Process Flow Chart

How to Plan Daily Line Output from

Garment SAM?
Topics: Apparel Production, industrial engineering By: Prasanta
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You need to find out target production of a line everyday. You
can get the information from your IE but you can also
estimate it yourself just having knowledge of few figures. The
scientific way of planning daily production or line output is to
calculate estimated production from garment SAM.

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You need information (figures) for the following parameters.

Day of production: In case you want to plan for most
appropriate production figure you have to day of production. I
mean, the no. of day after loading of the line. Due to learning
curve on the initial days of line loading your line efficiency will

be low compared to average line efficiency. If you just want to

plan average production you consider average line efficiency
Average line efficiency% on the day of the production:
Use line efficiency for the production day according to the
learning curve chart.
No. of machine (manpower) allocated to the line
Daily working hours
Formula for the estimated production (daily)
= (No. of operators * working hours per day * 60 * average
line Efficiency%)/ Garment SAM
Example: Assume that you are making a style of 20 minutes
SAM. And details of the above listed parameters are as the
Day of production: 4
Line Efficiency on day 4: 46%
No. of operators: 32
Daily working hours: 10 hours
Therefore estimated line output will be
= (32 * 10 *60*46%)/20 pieces
= 441.6 pieces or 442 pieces

How to make the calculation easy

You can make the above calculation easily by using following
steps. You don't need to work on excel sheet to find the
planned production for the day. Just use following steps and
get the production figure.
Calculate total minutes per day per operator - 600 minutes
(assume 10 hours a day working)
Calculate production per operator @ 100% - 600/20 pieces =
30 pieces
Calculate production per operator @ actual line efficiency - 30
* 50% (assume avg. line eff. is 50%) = 15 pieces

Calculate production by the line of 32 operators - 15 pieces/

operator * 32 = 480 Pieces.

How to Make Production Planning Task

Topics: MIS, Production Planning, QNA By: Prasanta Sarkar
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Question: What are the main tasks (process or steps) of
production planning in garment manufacturing? How one can
easily make production plan for woven factory? ...asked by
Arif Hossain

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The main tasks of Production Planning Department in a

garment manufacturing unit have been explained in earlier
post. Read full article by opening this link: Functions of
Production Planning and Control (PPC) Department in Apparel

How to make Production planning task easier?

I dont need to mention that Information Technology (IT)
based planning tools (packages/software) are very helpful in
production planning as well as decision making.
What to do when someone dont have IT based system? You
need to develop planning tools and build an internal system
for easy access of necessary information. Planning tools will
help you to make production planning faster and more
Planning tools: The primary planning tools used by a
planner in a garment export house to do production plan are
A planning board (excel sheet or printed format). See below
Time and action calendar (order wise). Time and Action
calender format for production merchant.
Line plan sheet
Pre-requisites information: Following information must be
available to make your planning faster and accurate.
Process flow of an order or list of tasks
Production capacity of each process - Cutting, sewing,
washing and finishing, for sewing - line wise and product wise
capacity (pieces per day per line)
Pre-production status - Such as fabric and trims are sourced or
not. If not yet sourced the expected sourcing date, PP sample
approved or not or expected approval date
Shipment date or planned ex-factory date

You asked for planning process of a woven factory. Planning

process does not change based on fabric used in product like
woven or knits factory. It is the process flow of an order,
machine requirement and production capacity those vary.
Here are ways how planning tools are used to make planning
task easier.
#1. Time and Action calendar - Planned cutting date (PCD)
and ex-factory date which are two most critical dates for
planning can be picked from TnA calendar. You will get total
days available to you for all production processes. Even you
will get rough distribution of start and finish date of each
Order quantity is generally available in TnA calendar.
For example, Total available time for production is 20 days
(PCD 1st Dec 2012 and Final inspection date 20th Dec
2012). Order qty. = 10000 pieces and main processes are
cutting, sewing, finishing, folding and packing and final
inspection. List of processes can also be picked from Processflow chart.
#2. Planning Board: Line loading plan can be made for
single process or multiple processes in a planning board. For
reference I have attached below a planning board for multiple
processes. Based on available time and production capacity of
a line you may have plan for multiple lines a for order.
Secondly, You may have postpone production start date if
there no free space to load new order.
Once you draw timeline for an order on the planning board
you can see available capacity in a particular line and
according to that you can make planning for following orders.

Planning Board.
Click on the image to Zoom.

Read our previous post for line loading plan. How to make line
loading plan?
#3 Calculations: First calculate capacity requirement for the
order you are going to plan. Secondly, check capacity
availability in all processes on the given time frame.
Line capacity can be also calculated in minutes. For example,
a garment SAM is 30 minutes and line performs at 50%
efficiency. Calculate total capacity required (man hours) to
complete sewing on time.