A Case Study of Garment Order Processing

This is a story of an order that had been gone through various manufacturing processes. I had made this order three years ago but still, I can remember all issues I have faced with this order. 

Name of the style was Bangalore Tank. It was a simple tank top with the floral print on front panel and self-binding at neck and armholes. During its production, we faced numerous problems which are unforgettable to me.

100% organic cotton, 2/2 rib, 180 GSM fabric was used for the garment.

The front panel of the garment had allover print. So we planned for block cutting of front panels. Then printed panels would be reshaped. We got surprised when the fabric was layered on table and patterns were spread to check fabric consumption. Fabric consumption increased by 1.5 times. With the available fabric, only 60% of garments could be cut against the order quantity. We took permission from buying house for moving ahead with cutting with short quantity. 

We reordered fabric for the balance pieces.

The print had a combination of seven colors. At the same time different types of printing had been used for printing – pigment print and color discharge print. Approval of print colors was a difficult job. Each time strike off was sent to buying house for color approval, only four to five colors out seven colors got approved. Merchant sent back those strike offs with comments. In fourth submission we got approval on printing but in different strike-offs for different colors. It was true that all colors did not match exactly with Sales sample.

Another mess was in approval of print screen. As a standard practice before print strike off approval, the screen was approved for design in size medium (M). During printing of initial garments, it had been noticed that design was not covering the whole front panels on larger sizes. Design was not reaching up to side seams. So we had increased the size of the design and prepare new screen according to the panel size of the largest size of the panel.

Cut blocks of front panels were sent for bulk printing. Printing master prepared colors for production. Before starting of production bulk color should be checked and approved by us. But then printing master was not getting exact colors what was approved. Two colors were in discharge print, which were making trouble. Two days were gone in the approval process, but we didn’t get any result. Reason, as per printing master, was the bad weather – days were cloudy and dull. I saw it was going out of control so I informed Neha, a merchant from buying house, and called her to visit the printing house. She gave standing approval for print colors. She further compromised for color matching. Thus bulk printing was completed. Printed blocks were received in cutting for re-cutting. In checking printed panels were found with color variation. Now what to do with those panels with color variation? Already we had cut short quantity. Color variation in printing was approved by internal team and panels were re-cut and issued for sewing.

Sewing was seemed an easy process than others. Few pieces had been stitched on an urgent basis and get washed for production approval in terms of after wash effect and print look. At the same time we were preparing TOP (top of production) samples. Those initial pieces were finished immediately. Internal Quality Auditor Okayed 3 pieces and pieces were sent to Neha. Next day I got a mail from Neha with digital photos on the initial pieces. Look of the garment was okay but there was mistake related to construction. ‘Organic Cotton’ labels and size label attached at the neck line were not correct. The logo of the organic cotton was not visible from outside – in some garment logo got stitched under the seam and in others logo was down side of the loop label. In a case of size labels, sizes were in down side of the loop label.

Similar mistakes were found in almost all stitched pieces. All pieces were got repaired and sent for washing. Dimensional stability of the rib was very poor. So after washing garments were line dried instead of tumble drying. All pieces got washed. We started finishing of the washed garments. Due to shipment pressure we put full energy in finishing. It was necessary for this particular buyer that we should take approval on the TOP sample before starting of bulk production. But TOP sample was not ready to send to the buyer though finishing had been started. Not a single piece out of initial pieces was defect free to send for buyer’s approval.

In finishing stage, another problem had been noticed which reduced our finishing speed. After washing the print color got faded in some areas. I was frustrated with this style. In the factory, we were busy with sorting out the problems. On other side Neha was sending mail one after another to create pressure to ready the shipment as early as possible. In initial mails she wrote buyer would charge for discount. Rate of discount would be directly proportional to the delays. Then she requested us and even sent mail to our directors to help her in completing shipment. Finishing was taking unexpectedly higher time. When she found that her threat for discount and kind request was not working, she even cried on phone for the style. She had taken 15 days extension on ex-factory but she was not able to meet that extended deadline.

Each piece was corrected by color touching with matched color. Finally, shipment of 1150 pieces was ready and it had been offered to buying house quality auditor for final inspection. It was more than just an inspection. Auditor had checked each and every piece for visuals. After a long struggle auditor passed the shipment.

Quickly we made the packing list and forwarded it to shipping department of the buying house and one copy of the packing to Neha for buyer’s approval. We received the reply from shipping department that shipment would not move then. As it had got delayed, buyer had already charged for 40% discount. Shipment would be sent by vessel. So they had decided to club this shipment with other shipments to compensate discount amount.

In the mean time we got buyer’s feedback on the initial pieces. Buyer sent us digital photos of the live model wearing Bangalore tank. They are very much happy with the fitting and attractive look of the tank top. This one simple message brought a smile to all of us and wiped away all tiredness and frustration on that style.

The latest surprise was that the packed shipment was remained with us for one and half month. After three and half month we shipped it with other three shipments.

Also See: How to stop missing of garments in production processes?

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