Quality Checkpoints in Garment Production

This article is updated on Nov 04, 2020 | Original published date: Feb 05, 2011
Quality checkpoints

When end customers purchase a garment, they look for the quality first. So, to have a satisfied customer, retailers must keep the quality product in their shops. According to the purchase agreement, buyers can penalize suppliers for supplying them with defective pieces. It might cost the factory lot of money and goodwill. So, the garment manufacturers take care of garment quality at each stage of production. In maximum cases, the buyer inspects shipment at the factory before accepting the finished garments. Whatever defects found in the final inspection, it is the cumulative figure of previous processes. So, it is very important to rectify defective pieces in the process where it occurred instead of in the finishing.

How defects come in garments?

A lot of people and machines are involved in producing a garment. There is an obvious chance of making a few faulty garments in a batch due to faulty machines or human intervention. The defective pieces can be corrected by repairing or changing defective parts. But repair work costs money and time. These both increase the inefficiency of the company. And if one defect passed through the initial process without detecting and correction and process go on then at the later stages repair cost will be much more than detecting it in the initial stage.

The production process starts after receiving of fabrics and end after dispatching of packed garments. Generally, the garment export houses place quality checkpoints at the end of each process to ensure that only quality pieces move to the next process. 

Quality checkpoints in a garment factory

In a garment factory, department wise quality checkpoints have been explained in the following.

Quality checkpoints in a garment factory

1. Fabric Store: 
In the fabric store fabric is being checked before issuing it to the cutting department. In general, not all the fabric rolls are checked. Usually, 10% of fabrics are checked for good fabric suppliers. For power loom fabric and printed fabric 100% checking is done. Fabrics are checked on a flat table, flat table with lightbox, or on a fabric checking machine. 4 point system for fabric inspection is used to measure the quality level of the incoming fabric.

2. Trims & Accessory: 
Trims quality is also very important for having a quality garment. Trims inspection is done randomly against the given standards, like color matching. But for trims and accessories quantity checking is essential.

3. Cutting Room: 
It is said that cutting is the heart of production. If cutting is done well then the chances of occurring defects in the following processes come down. In the cutting room, checkpoints are – 
i) marker checking, ii) cut part audit, and iii) bundle checking.

4. Printing Checking: 
Printing is not a compulsory process. If printing is done in fabric form then printing is being checked in the fabric store. For knits garment, maximum printing is done in cut panels. So before issuing cuttings to the sewing department, each panel is being checked properly. Defects that are found here is print placement, color matching, misprint, or print overlapping or shade variation.

5. Embroidery checking: 
Like printing embroidery also is not a compulsory process. If there is embroidery work in the garment panels then 100% inspection is done before issuing to sewing.

6. Sewing Department: Checkpoints in the sewing departments are as follows.
  • Inline inspection: In the assembly line generally check pints are kept for the critical operations. In these checkpoints, 100% checking is done for partially stitched garments and defect-free pieces are forwarded to the next process. This type of checking is used for the high-value garment.
  • Roaming inspection: In this case, checkers roam around the line and randomly check pieces at each operation.  
  • Traffic light inspection system: Some garment manufacturers use this inspection system. In this system, each operator is given a card for measuring their quality performance. The quality checker goes to the operator and does a random check for few pieces and according to the inspection result, the checker marked red or green on the card following rating criteria.
  • End of line inspection or table checking: A checker checks a completely stitched garment at the end of the line. 100% checking is done here,
  • Audit of the checked pieces: some manufacturers follow this audit procedure but it is a very essential checkpoint to assure that only 100% of the inspected garment is sent to finishing from the sewing department. And all defective pieces are repaired before sending it to the finishing section.

7. Finishing Department: 
Checkpoints in the finishing department consist of the followings
  • Initial finishing inspection: checking done prior to pressing of the garment at the finishing room is known as initial finishing.
  • Final finishing Inspection: After pressing, garments are again checked and passed to the folding section for tagging and packing.
  • Internal audit: After garments are packed up to a certain quantity, the quality control team, do an audit of packed garments. This process is carried out to ensure that before handing over shipment to buyer QC
If the completed work is being checked at each process and defective pieces are corrected before handing to the next process then at the end of production there is very little chance to have a defective at the final inspection stage.

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