3 Resources for Sewing Machine Folders and Attachments (Product Catalogue and Book)

Do you know exactly what folder(s) or attachment you need for your machines making the new style? Or
Do you know which folder will be suitable for the new style?

To get an idea follow the catalogue for sewing machine attachments and guides. Even if you have one catalogue you can learn a lot. In industrial apparel sewing, machine attachments are common. Folder and attachments assist to produce quality products and improve productivity.

Attachments can be made locally if you know exactly what you need. It takes time and you are not sure if you will get right output with the locally made attachment.

Here are a few suppliers who supply ready-made folders and attachments. They have their attachment catalogue. You can refer the item number and order it.

Difference between Production and Productivity


Sometimes you might need to explain what is the difference between production and productivity? I have explained it here.

Production is defined as a process or procedure to transform a set of input to output having the desired utility and quality.

What is Sedex?

Sedexglobal.com home page screen
This term is related to suppliers' ethical compliance in the apparel industry. And also applies to 30+ different industries.

What is Sedex?


The abbreviation of Sedex is Supplier Ethical Data Exchange.

Apparel Merchandising Notes

apparel merchandising note

Are you recently appointed as a merchandiser in a garment manufacturing company?

Are you facing new challenges every day? And have a lot of questions in your mind? 

Don't get frustrated. If you do not know something, learn it now while you are doing your job. 

What you need is notes on apparel merchandising to learn merchandising. 

Coats Group plc Announces Acquisition of GSD Corporate Ltd

This news was originally published in GSD official site.

Coats Group plc, the world’s leading industrial thread and consumer textile crafts business, has acquired 100% of GSD Corporate Ltd, which becomes a Coats Group company.
 
GSD, a UK based company, supplies expert management solutions that analyse time, cost and production capability in the sewn products sector with the focus on maximising productivity and controlling costs. GSD will become part of Coats Global Services, which was launched in 2013 in response to customer demands to help them realise productivity and supply chain improvements, develop technical skills and enhance corporate responsibility.

Challenges in Production Planning and Control in Apparel Manufacturing

This is a guest submission from Ashish Kumar Gupta

You could not meet your production plan every time.

You can try your best to execute and control the production plan. But you never know what surprise is waiting for you at the end.

Why so?

Reason - you are working in the challenging environment.
Challenges for PPC Department


Production planning and control department of a garment manufacturing unit is responsible for the timely shipment.

Generally shipment is sent by sea as it is the cheapest mode of transport but if the shipment is delayed and can’t be sent by sea, it is shipped by air at the expense of manufacturer .Though it is very costly and affects the profitability of the organization badly but has to be done to avoid the order cancellation.

Re-occurrences of these incidents can lead to the loss of valuable clients. Any problem in the planning can lead to a chain of unpleasant events affecting the shipment schedule of subsequent orders. Thus production control should be seen as an inseparable function of production planning.

In this article we will discuss various challenges in Production Planning and Production Controlling in the apparel manufacturing.

  1. Delay in Raw Material Sourcing and approval
  2. Delay in Sample Approval
  3. Production Delay
  4. Recording and communication wrong data
  5. Failing in Final QA inspection

1. Delay in Raw Material Sourcing and Approval


Raw material should be procured by the factory well in advance to accommodate the time taken in inspection and testing as directed by the buyer. A plan should consider the worst case scenario when the procured raw material fails the test and buyer is not willing to accept the anomaly.

In such cases there should be enough time to replace the raw material without effecting the subsequent operations.

2. Delay in Sample Approval


Importance of sample cannot be undermined as buyers strongly follow the process. Buyer would not accept the product if the sample at any stage has failed. Generally garment manufacturer starts the production after the approval of Gold Seal sample/sealer sample.

If the sample approval is delayed it will lead to the delay in production. Factories set up a separate sampling department to effectively handle the sampling. Merchandiser is responsible for the timely approval of the sample. A production planner should keep a keen eye on the sample approval.

3. Production Delays


Production can be delayed due to many unforeseen circumstances

  • Labor Strike
  • Machine Breakdown
  • Critical operation slowing down the efficiency
  • Absenteeism
  • Natural calamity
  • Production being held due to quality problems

Production planner should keep some buffer to adjust the delay. In case the delay is very critical the planner should take swift action and make the necessary amendments to ensure that the production plan remains viable.

4. Recording and Communicating Wrong Data


With proper planning, a disaster can be averted. But a simple problem can play havoc if comes out of blue. Recording wrong production data for the sake of inflating the production figures to avoid the ire of management can lead to an even bigger disaster.

A factory should device a production reporting system which is robust and can’t be tinkered with as all the decisions will be based on the data only.

Different factories follow different systems for recording the data both manually and electronically. Effective data recording will help in effective planning.

5. Failing of Final QA Inspection


Once a shipment is ready it is offered to the buyer QA for inspection. The inspection is carried out on the basis of AQL standards as prescribed by the buyer. If a shipment fails the inspection, it is subjected to rechecking and offered to buyer after rectifying the quality issues. The process will continue till the buyer approves the shipment. Re-screening the shipment is very tedious.

Most of the time re-screening may involve opening packed pieces and refinishing the garments. Rework anywhere any time in the manufacturing leads to wastage which might be avoided by doing the right work first time. It may delay the shipment and can even lead to air shipment which most of the times is on the cost of the manufacturer.

Conclusion


A planner need to have a cut off time of 3-7 days to give go ahead for the production of the order if the production order (PO) has cleared all the necessary pre-production approvals and the raw material is in-house.

A process can be devised where the merchandiser has to give the PO production certificate verifying all the necessary approvals and material requirement to the planner so that he can schedule the production. Production Planner should have a good network of fabricators so that some orders can be outsourced to maintain the sanity of the production plan.

Ashish Kumar Gupta is a Master of Fashion Technology from NIFT and he holds a Bachelors degree in Textile Technology. He was associated with Madura Exports as Assistant Quality Manager for two and half years. At present he is working with Lovely Professional University as an Assistant Professor.

SewEasy – A Software that Establishes Garment Standard Minute

In the apparel manufacturing industry we have few products (software) those are helping business owners to standardize labour cost by establishing standard time from design to sewing stages. SewEasy is one of them. In this post I will be talking about SewEasy software.

SewEasy Dashboard

SewEasy is a Pre-determined Motion Time System (PMTS) for the apparel manufacturing industry. SewEasy is recognized by Manchester University as MTM software for the apparel. SewEasy is developed by SewEasy Pvt. Ltd. a Sri Lanka based company.

This technology simplifies the SAM calculation procedure for apparel sewing process by automating tedious calculations necessary for establishing standard minute values (SMV, SAM). SewEasy is a transparent and consistent sewing room planning system based on MTM. This product is ideal for Lean transformation in garment manufacturing.

To estimate labor cost you need to determine accurate work content of individual operations and have the standard time for the complete garment stitching. The manual time study method for estimating standard time for operations is not cost effective in low volume orders and repeat style change.

Benefits of SewEasy Software


A Tool for Productivity Improvement and Cost Reduction
If the SMVs are correct, the skill development can commence almost instantaneously, due to the elimination of arguments and mistrust. Bottleneck elimination will be a cooperative affair between the sewing machine operators and supervisory management. Coupling incentives with continuous improvement guarantees maximum benefits to all stake holders.

SewEasy standards benefit mostly the sewing machinist who is keen to earn more by minimizing defects, yet pressurized due to loose or tight targets that cause un-balanced sewing lines.

Minimize Absenteeism and Labour Turnover

Absenteeism and high labour turnover are chronic problem in the apparel manufacturing. SewEasy helps in these areas too. Balanced lines and realistic targets lead to industrial harmony in factories. Practical skills development effort will convince the machine operators that supervisory management is on their side and working towards same shared goals. Absenteeism and high labour turnover can be reduced by focused effort.

Most of the challenges faced by factories and potential solutions are inter-related. SewEasy can bring quick improvement in most pressing issues in sewing floor.

Count Material Handling Time

The report of SewEasy highlights the added-value, focusing the IE’s attention upon the handling waste instantly.

Global Access using a Web Browser

A high fashion garment design sketched in one continent, typed in to the SewEasy system by the fashion designer’s assistant herself; can be explained by a factory analyst or a supervisor to a sewing machine operator in another continent. Both ends of the global supply chain will access SewEasy using a web browser.

Software Implementation Time


Keerthi Abe, Managing Director, SewEasy says exiting staff of the factory (provided garment manufacturer has industrial engineers) can be trained within a day. They provide further training industrial engineers and analysts to impart professional skill. This system can be implemented in a factory as quick as one week time. No need to hire new team member to run this system. Exiting production team can be easily trained to handle this system.

Visit SewEasy for more details.


Different Types of Sewing Line Layout (with Pictures)

Have you designed the line layout in your factory? 

No? All was already set there? You don't need to do anything on designing or re-designing the layout. 

Fine!

Do you know that different types of line layout exist in the garment industry? If you don't know go ahead and read this article. If you already know, you are also welcome to read this post or at least see the images of different types of line layout.

What is line layout?

The sewing line layout can be defined as the way sewing workstations are placed in the sewing floor to form a line (or batch) that works on single style. The purpose of choosing one line layout over other is to achieve best production with existing resources.

The line layout in a factory is not changed frequently. Line layout is designed at the time of plant set up and after that if factory wants to change production system they might need to redesign the line layout. You may reallocate sewing machines while setting line for new styles but you don't change the form of line. 

Different Types of Line Layout

Though there are multiple options of sewing line layout to choose from, most garment manufacturers are comfortable with straight lines having center table in between two rows of machines. 

In this article I will be showing you different types of line layout found in garment industry. This article would not tell you which line layout is good and which one is not so good when compared with others. 

The other common sewing line layouts are as following. 


1. Line with center table and operators facing same direction (Figure-1):


In the line a centre table is placed in between two rows of sewing machines. All operators sit on workstation facing same direction. Operators pick bundles from center table and after stitching dispose bundles on the center tables. 
Figure 1: Straight line.
Image courtesy: Denim Experts, Bangladesh

2. Line with center table and operators facing opposite direction (Figure -2)

Machine layout is same as above one. Difference is on operators’ sitting position. Operators sit on the machine keeping center table left side. This layout is more convenient to all operators for picking up work from left side.
Figure-2. Straight line operator facing opposite direction
Image source: Stitch World via Facebook 


3. Straight line without center table and one raw of machines


In this layout no center table is used for material handling. Instead cutting and finished garments are kept of hangers, on baskets or on trolleys. See the different form of layout where machines are placed in a straight line but no center table is used.

 (a) Overhead material movement (Fig-3): Garment components are placed clipped on hanger. and transported on a rail. 
Fig. 3: Straight line layout with overhead material transportation
Image courtesy: Sahu Exports


 (b) Trolley for material transportation (Fig-4): In this layout instead of center table trolleys are used for material transportation. 
Fig-4: Straight line layout with trolleys


 (c) Line having individual disposal basket (Fig-5): Instead of centre table individual disposal baskets are provided to operators. 
Fig-5: Straight line layout with individual disposal basket
Image source: Stitch World via Facebook 

4. Side by side machine layout (Fig -6): 


In this layout sewing machines are placed side by side. Two rows of machines are faced each other. This type of layout is used for single piece production system.
Fig -6: Side by Side machine layout
Image source: Alibaba.com


5. U-shaped line layout (Fig - 7): 


This kind of line layout is used in lean manufacturing. Machines are placed side by side and U-shape is formed to make a line. Operators sit inside. No center table is used. This line layout is also known as modular line.
Fig. 7: U-shaped line layout.
Image source: Stitch World via Facebook

6. Modular line layout:


In lean manufacturing, to reduce material transportation and increase the machine utilization sewing machines are placed in such a way that neither it forms a U-shape nor a straight line. Instead machines placed that suits better to work into multiple sewing machines sitting in single chair. I don’t know what the exact name of this kind of layout is. This layout is named as modular layout to differentiate from the above one.

7. Machine layout in UPS system (Fig-8)

This is bonus for you. I found this while searching on the web. Machines are placed in straight line but in an angle. In the other UPS workstation machines can be placed side by side.

Fig-8: Line layout in UPS system
Image source: Unknown

Conclusion:

Now it is upto you. You may choose one layout for your factory from the above list. When one layout is selected out of above, you need to consider following fine points
  • Space utilization - Space required per workstation compared to other line layout
  • Means of material transportation
  • Order volume and shipment lead time 
  • Production systems to be implemented  

PS: If you have a different layout in your factory, take a snap of the line and share with us in Facebook page or send me by mail.

Digital Displays for Production Status - the Improved Way Communicating Floor Performance

How do you check production status of a line?

Ask your subordinate to show you the data or ignore to check minute by minute reports? Or wait for someone to update your hourly production board.

All these methods are age old. Display your reports and dashboard on the LCD screen. This is an effective way to monitor shop floor production. Secondly production status will be visible to everyone who is working in the floor. 

Line supervisor or a production manager has basic requirement about production data. 

  • How many pieces are made by the line at this moment since morning? 
  • What is the operations wise production? 
  • At least production update of critical operation in the line? 

You also need data for the same. If you can provide these data on a digital display board, you don’t need to waste time in report making while you need.

You will say it is not possible to track production of every minute. Checking hourly report or looking into it every half an hour is not possible. 

With the technology advancement it becomes possible. Now it becomes easier to display production status of line real time. Whatever reports you make in spread sheet can be displayed in the LCD screen. Just you need to take how many reports can be viewed in the LCD screen at a time. 

You know the benefits of displaying real time production and quality status to line supervisors and other staff members. I have mentioned it in another post – Use of display boards on sewing floor and its advantages.

If you have technology to capture real time production then, I suggest you to add display board (digital) in the sewing floor. Our clients are using LCD screen to display real time data on the floor.

I have seen factories to use LCD screen to display production status of the sewing lines. Each sewing line has one display board at the end of the line. They display reports based on their need. See example on few display boards.

Production Quantity and Target Quantity Display


This is very simple one. They display line output quantity only. Other things like target production report is entered to the system. The balance quantity to be produced by the line in balance time and line efficiency at this moment is calculated by the system. See the following screen.

Screen 1: Displaying Production and Efficiency of the Line

Line Efficiency Display


Efficiency data can be shown in speedometer or in digits. If you have multiple sewing line in one floor and you like to display data in one display board you can do that. See the screen no 2, the factory is displaying efficiency data for 3 lines. 

Display Production Quantity of critical operations


This screen will give you production of data of the specific operations. It tells WIP level on those specific workstations.

Displaying production quantity of critical operations of a line will help to see balancing of the line. If there is pick and valley in the bar chart, you know that there is balancing issue in the line. See graphs in screen 2.
Screen-2: Efficiency of multiple lines and Production data for specific operations line wise

Display Quality Performance


You are checking stitched pieces at the end-of-line. You prepare quality reports on defects founds and frequency of defects. You do analysis stitching quality in the form of DHU (defects per 100 units) of checked pieces. If you don't share quality performance of the line your reports have no use.

Display DHU and Pareto Chart of defects on the screen. 

Like production reports you can display other data and analysis on the LCD screen. One factory displays only operator hourly report on the screen. That helps them to monitor each and every sewing operator in the line. If anybody is producing below the target can be found easily.

You might ask how to make report on excel sheet. And how to get real time data if you don’t have real time data tracking technology in your company. 

Prepare report templates and punch data on excel sheet and make dashboard in a separate sheet. Then connect dashboard and reports to the LCD screen.

Consider displaying data on screens and place the screen on the shop floor. Make good reports using graph and charts. As data can't be visible from a distance but a chart can be.

Do you find this information helpful? Share this.


6 Checklists for Bulk Fabric Cutting

Meeting the planned cut date (PCD) is hard. And you always get urgent note to start bulk cutting.

If you are in hurry to start the cutting an order and start cutting without checking pre-requisites for cutting process, you might fall into the trap. Having fabric in store is not enough to go for bulk cutting. You must have approvals on few important things prior to layering the fabric on the cutting table and cutting the lay. If you cut fabric without approvals and unfortunately if something goes wrong in production (or shipment) due to cutting mistakes you will be responsible for that. Other than that if fabric is not approved or if you use incorrect patterns for the bulk cutting, cuttings can’t be used for stitching quality garment. PP sample approval and PP meeting is must be done prior to bulk cutting.

To avoid the risk of making mistakes in bulk production you must consider checking following things.

1. Approved production pattern

Pattern that is made for proto sample is gone through multiple modifications in sample development process and finally pattern is set after size set sample approval. Pattern master may need to modify the pattern further if there is shrinkage in fabrics. Shrinkage is added to the production pattern so that you get washed garment with right measurement. Normally pattern master sealed the production pattern with comments.

So always use sealed and approved patterns.

2. Approved Fabric Consumption

Is the fabric consumption for bulk cutting approved? Normally garment manufacturer recalculate fabric consumption based on production marker. Sometimes variation is found in consumption value between actual production consumption and sampling consumption (based on what fabrics are purchased). If consumption is higher, there might be shortage of the fabric, and short quantity can be produced than the order quantity. There are other consequences of producing short quantity and you might be questionable for cutting short quantity. Later nobody will believe you that it happened due to fabric consumption variation.

So, be safe and take approval if you find variation in bulk fabric consumption. 

3. Approved Fabric Quality

Are all shade bands approved? Are the fabric qualities like - GSM, Shrinkage%, Width of the fabric, FPT report okay for bulk cutting? Take approval from merchant or production head or fabric store (whoever is responsible for giving approval on fabric quality). If you cut the fabric and found fabric quality does not match with the buyer requirement then it is all wastage of fabrics. 

4. Approved marker planning

Saving fabric is saving money. There are many combination of marker planning. You should try your best to prepare best marker plan. Thus you can improve fabric utilization. If you are in dilemma, just take approval from authorized person about the fabric utilization based on your best marker planning. 

5. Approval on pilot run with report 

There is a practice of Pilot run prior to bulk production. In pilot run about 100-200 garments are cut, stitched and finished. This is final check of production patterns with others reasons for conducting the pilot production. If factory gets right measurement in pilot run piece after processing, bulk cutting is approved. Don’t miss to check or ask for pilot run result and if there is any points that is related to cutting process.

6. Preshrink of the process

This is not required for all types of fabrics. But for knits with high shrinkage to wash is essential to pre-shrink the fabric by washing fabric panels. In case there is low shrinkage to wash factory might not go for pre-shrink but add the shrinkage into the pattern. Also check if you need to relax the fabric before layering and if the lay need to be relaxed for certain hours prior to cutting.

That’s all. Be safe and give the best quality in cutting. You will Rock.