Preproduction Inspection Stages Followed by Buying House


In the apparel export business a buying house works as middleman who collects orders from overseas buyers and places those orders to export houses for manufacturing. To supply quality products to the buyer consistently, buying house develops an internal quality and technical team. To assure about the garment quality buying houses follow standard operating procedures. Here I have explained the quality checking procedures in each stage of manufacturing processes from fabric development to shipment. Most of the buying houses do inspection as following stages.

Fabric development stage: 

In the fabric development stage fabric Lap dips are checked and approved by quality personnel for dyed fabrics. For yarn dyed fabric quality team check bit looms for fabric design and yarn colors. Strike offs are checked for print artwork, print colors and embroidery works in the garment. Then fabric quality is checked by quality checkers for looks, hand feel. Like fabrics, when trims are being developed by vendors similar inspection and approval procedures are followed.

Bulk fabric inspection: 

As soon as supplier (export houses) sourced bulk fabric, quality team gets informed by factory merchant or their internal merchants. For the bulk fabric quality assurance personnel basically checks fabric color whether it is matching with the approved sample or not. Secondly they check fabric hand feel as per requirement. They also check fabric lots (in case there are multiple lots) for shade variation. If they found shade variation, quality personnel inform the same to concern merchant in the buying house. Merchants give approval for some of those lots. Merchants reject lots those are out of shade and they write to supplier for not to use rejected lots. In the mean time supplier sent fabric sample to testing labs for FPT or for specific tests. Until buying house merchant gives approval on bulk fabric, factory will not proceed with bulk cutting.

Sampling Stages: 

Though merchants take care of sampling part, in most of the buying houses they prefer - sample should be checked by technical or quality team before sending it to buyer. For FIT sample they especially check and measure garment measurement according to the fit requirement. It is better to check garment fit on dress form. For pre-production sample, quality team checks for all actual trims and accessories. Also check whether fit comments are incorporated to the pre-production sample or not. For size set samples, suppliers are asked to make one or two pieces in each size. (Size ranges as per order sheet). Once size set is approved by quality team, factory get go ahead for bulk cutting.

Cutting Stages: 

In this stage quality team checks for patterns or cut component to ensure size set comments on measures is corrected before bulk cutting.

Production Stages: 

Once bulk production is online, quality team do initial and mid-line inspection. Then buying house asked for TOP (Top of Production) sample, which represents final packed pieces that includes hang tags, garment folding, poly bag size and quality.

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