How to Produce Accurate Standard Times?

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Method of developing standard time by using MTM system. Benefits of using MTM system for estimating standard minutes for apparel product manufacturing.

This is a guest submission from Sunaina Khanna

Some times ago we had the opportunity to build a system to establish standard times for the garment industry, this was caused by the continued problem of poor production planning, and not knowing how well the company was performing, how efficiently we performed the various operations, and what our status was in comparison to our competitors.

We needed something that was easy to use, simple, and of course would produce accurate standard times. It had to be able to produce the best possible method of doing the operation and allow performance to be measured to see where we stood in comparison to the rest of the industry.

Development of SMV


The Pro-SMV (Standard Minute Values) development started approximately 20 years ago, it needed to be simple to learn, open to the operators, and to use tried and tested techniques so that the easiest way to perform the operation could be easily developed, it had to be simple and produce results that would help companies become more effective and competitive.

MTM (Method, Time and Measurement technique) had been developed in the early 40’s and has been used to improve the operational performance of many industries since that time, we thought that the advantages of this system could be used to improve Garment manufacturing so that was used to develop our system.

After considerable research we established that sewing, handling, and ancillary work could be broken down into 36 different steps and a simple code was established for each step, together with a time for it to be done, the times for each step are added and the time for every operation is established.

Once this technique is used to analyse how people are working, then the potential improvements are easily established, all unnecessary movements are eliminated, thus producing greatly improved efficiency. This technique was also used to eliminate complex motion patterns, and using the same techniques balancing the various times from operation to operation is simplified since it is possible to adjust the start and end of each operation to produce a more effective balance.

Since we are using Pre-determined times, together with the actions required to perform the action, new operation times can be established and used for costing and estimating purposes.

The sewing time is established according to the speed of the machine, the seam length, the complexity of the seam and the size of the stitch used, and the accuracy required when the seam is complete.

We now have established times for each individual step in the manufacture of each operation; by adding the steps together we have a time for each operation in total.

Features of Pro-SMV

  1. Establishes Best Methods and Standard times 
  2. Automatically establishes Thread consumption
  3. Pictures and Videos can be attached to operations
  4. Easy to copy analyses from one operation to another and amend it
  5. Pictures can be attached to a group of operations required to complete a part/ subsection of a garment
  6. Drag and drop subsections to build new operation sequence within minutes
  7. Builds video library for future training of operators
  8. Extremely user friendly interface
  9. Times can only be approved by the authorised person (normally work study head)
  10. A complete history of analyses can be retrieved to see who did amendments, when was it done and what the amendments were. 
  11. Developed on latest technology 

Benefits of using Pro-SMV

  1. It is very easy to learn and apply
  2. Existing staff will have no difficulty in operating the system in the shortest possible time.
  3. Software is “state of the art” Multi user, Windows, written in .NET
  4. Much easier and faster to use than Time Study, the software is designed to make data entry simple and quick.
  5. Is being constantly developed, and the future development plan is exciting and on-going.
  6. You can develop and improve the work-study department quickly and easily, and if analysts leave, it is a simple matter to train new people.
  7. Analysts can come from the sewing floor a good machinist can become a good analyst in a short time. This has big advantages in Work-study costs and machinists are in a great position to show operators how to perform new methods.

Brief steps to calculate SMV while using Pro-SMV.

Step 1 is to create an operation with proper filing structure; we start by choosing fabric, Garment type, garment Part, and file the operation under a well-defined path. We then proceed to enter a proper operation description along with Machine type, seam length, Skill required and grade of the person who is required to do the operation.
Figure 1: Screen of Prov SMV

Step 2 involves motion analyses of the operation, we recommend that this should be done through a video, each motion is assigned an appropriate SMV code for handling and a sewing code for sewing time, the analyses is then entered in to the software.
Figure 2: Operation analysis Screen

Colours in the above screen indicate the state of analyses , Pink denotes that the analyses has been saved, yellow represents the fact that it has been sent for approval and the approved operations are shown in green colour. At any stage the dashboard of work study manager keeps him updated on the number of analyses his team has done, how many have been sent for his approval and how many he has pending for approval.

Step 3 after the analyses entry analyses can be printed, this becomes ‘Method checklist’ for the IE’s , (Industrial Engineers) IE’s go on the floor to see whether the operator is following the set method or not, if not then the main object of IE staff is to eliminate the unnecessary motions being done by the operator and bring him to the set method. 
Figure 3: Sewing operation analysis

Read this post to learn more about Pro-SMV.

Sunaina Khanna is one of the directors of Methods Apparel Consultants. You can reach to her at sunaina@methods.com

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Online Clothing Study: How to Produce Accurate Standard Times?
How to Produce Accurate Standard Times?
Method of developing standard time by using MTM system. Benefits of using MTM system for estimating standard minutes for apparel product manufacturing.
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