How to Reduce Line Setting Time in an Assembly Line?

Engineers and production managers always look for a way to improve the factory’s labour productivity. But they look over things that lower labour productivity. “Higher line setting time” is one of the most visible reasons at present that reduces factory’s overall productivity. When it takes a longer time for setting a line, most of the operators sit idle. That means operators are not utilized in producing garment and operator productivity falls resulting in high labour cost. Following piece of article will help you to reduce line time.

I have seen factories where 1.5 to 2 days are spent in line setting for woven tops. When line supervisor and engineers are asked why they are taking that much time to set a 40 machines line, they give dozen of reasons. Whatever reasons line supervisor have, is the root cause for the delay. Reasons may vary from time to time or style to style.

Why a line setting takes longer time

Let’s discuss the main points that cause longer time for line setting.  
  1. Factory starts loading new style to the line once all operators get free from the previous style.
  2. Frequent change in line planning.
  3. All trims have not been approved or not yet sourced. Until required trims are sourced all operation can’t be started.
  4. Few garment components have been sent outside for printing or embroidery but did not receive on time.
  5. The supervisor did not fully assess the operation sequence or skill requirement for each operation.
  6. Operators were not present in the initial operations or critical operations.
  7. The quality issue, a supervisor not able to give a suitable operator for the critical operation  
  8. Maintenance guy is not able to set-up the machine quickly. Replacement of machine, setting guides and attachment takes a longer time than it should be.
  9. Planning for larger bundle size. At the first day of line setting if bigger bundle size is used then it will take a huge amount of time to reach the bundle at the last operator. 
Reduce Line setting time
Image Courtesy: Denim Expert Ltd. Bangladesh

Tips to reduce line setting time

Now it becomes simple, to start working on reducing line setting time. Work on the above reasons and eliminate them prior to starting the line set-up. Once you know the reason you can resolve it. In the following list, few remedies have been explained.   
  1. Research and development of the style – analyse the style well before putting on the line. By doing so, you will be aware of critical operations, machine requirement, skill requirement for the operations. 
  2. Production file properly checked at the time of receiving from merchandising team – check whether trims are approved or not, if not sourced yet when it is expected. Plan you your line setting according to availability of goods.  
  3. Prepare line plan with manpower requirement for specific skill categories. Ensure that operators selected for the operations are present during line setting.
  4. All necessary attachments, needles, guides need to be arranged well in advance and tested in sampling or Research and development centre.
  5. Dedicated maintenance and quality personal to be provided during line setting.
  6. Start setting a line with a small size of bundles (3 to 5 pieces per bundle). Thus bundle will move fast at the end of the line. Once WIP is build up bundle size can be increased.
  7. Use machine shifting device for replacing machine quickly.
Related Topics:
How to calculate SAM for a garment?
Garment CM cost estimation using SAM or SMV
The Concept of Operator's Performance Rating
How to calculate the efficiency of a batch or line?
How to calculate operator efficiency at work?

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