Specific steps to improve apparel quality at manufacturing stage.
Being in the garment export business, export manufacturers aim for producing export-quality garments. They have no other choice but meeting buyer quality requirement. Most difficult thing in manufacturing is producing right quality product for all the time. Still it is important to work on improving product quality to satisfy customers, to control production cost and to save energy.
Improving product quality is generally not difficult, but requires deliberate and ongoing attention, and it requires the commitment of every individual within the manufacturing company, from the person who cleans the floors to the most senior manager.
Specific steps that can enhance quality include:
- Communicating the importance of quality, each worker’s role in achieving and maintaining right quality, and expectations of worker performance
- Maintaining a clean and dry workplace, including storage rooms and shipping areas
- Selecting and utilizing proper equipment for each cutting and assembly step
- Providing the proper tools and training to each worker, and communicating management quality performance expectations
- Planning and conducting an ongoing program of machine maintenance
- Establishing agreed-upon quality standards with all fabric and finding suppliers before purchase, including procedures for rejecting/returning unacceptable goods
- 100% inspection of all incoming fabrics to include, at a minimum:
- Visual inspection by a trained inspector running every roll of fabric over a back-lit inspection frame to identify fabric defects such as holes, tears, stains, stop marks, and width variations, and to compare actual width and length to reported dimensions.
- Color shade check, compared to agreed-upon (or buyer imposed) shade tolerances under a five-light box
- Rejection and return of all fabric not meeting agreed-upon quality standards
- 100% inspection of value added processes like panel printing, machine embroidery, hand embroidery etc. No defective panels or components should be sent to assembly. Defective component to be accepted after corrective measure.
- Cutting quality is the second most important area. Checking to be performed for the cut components such as matching cut panels with original pattern, shade variation, fabric related defects etc.
- Full inspection of work in process and finished garments to include adherence to size specifications and stitching related defects such as needle cutting, open seam, broken seam, jump stitch, variable gathering etc.
- Recording defects by garment production lot, source (fabric, cutting, or assembly), type, and operator
- Analysis of defect data to identify sources of quality problems
- Replace – replace underperforming suppliers, equipment,
- Repair – repair ill-functioning equipment,
- Retrain – retrain underperforming workers and
- Reward – reward high performing workers
Implementing even a few of these steps will result in improved quality, but each additional suggestion put into practice will yield significant improvements in product quality.
Quality Controller's Job Profile in the apparel industry
Quality Processes followed by Export-garment manufacturers
KPIs for Quality Management in the Apparel Industry