Time and Action Calendar Format for Apparel Merchandisers

The time & action (TNA) calendar is one of the most important tools for managing a project. In garment manufacturing, each order is not less than a project to a merchant. Because from order receiving to order completion involve a number of tasks of various duration and requirement of resources. Few tasks come one after another and others move at the same time. Like a number of processes, a lot of people are involved to accomplish an order. Secondly, each order is unique in terms of process and time demand. So, a detailed plan with well-defined responsibility is a must for each order to finish it before time or on time.

What is a Time and Action Calendar?

Normally merchants prepare a plan in a spreadsheet listing down key processes in one column and the planned date of action for each process is noted in another. This planning sheet is called the time & action calendar. 

Once the TNA calendar is made, a merchant can easily list down her daily 'to-do list' for the day and start doing work one by one. According to TNA schedule processes are executed on a daily basis to track whether an order is on track or getting delayed. 

Now the question is "How to prepare a TNA calendar in a given format for order and How to maintain the same with less effort?" 

How to prepare a Time and Action calendar?

In this article I have explained two formats used for time and action planning - one is for detailed scheduling of orders with defined responsibility and another one is for quick follow up of the multiple orders. It is not that you have to use both formats at the same time. It depends on individuals - you can use both or one out of two. The main purpose of preparing and maintaining a TNA calendar in to improve performance in managing processes as per plan. If each stage of an order is controlled then most of the time you can finish an order on time. I have briefly explained how to develop these TNA calendar formats and maintain the same. 

In the first TNA calendar format (Format 1), planning is made for a single style with detailed tasks, schedules, job responsibilities, and remarks. Steps to be followed during making the TNA calendar are listed below.

Time and action calendar

Format 1: Time & Action Calendar (For Single Style/Order)
Click on the image to enlarge the image view

  1. Create a table like the above format (Format 1) in a spreadsheet on your computer. Add header as per your need or just copy the above format.

  2. Add details of the order like style name, style description, order receiving date, ex-factory date etc.

  3. In the column "Key Processes" list down processes as per your style requirement. Go through style detailing to identify all key processes to be involved. Few processes are mentioned in the techpack and buyer comments and some processes are to be understood from the style (physical sample). 

  4. Do backward and forward planning for deciding the planned date for the task. Take advice from respective department heads for the capacity availability and time requirement for the processes. Then add dates against the tasks. Where processes required multiple days add a planned completion date. 

  5. Note the name of the person or department who is responsible for the task. 

  6. Keep the "Actual date of start and end" column blank during TNA calendar preparation.

  7. Distribute the printed or soft copy of the final TNA calendar to all persons you have mentioned in the "responsibility" column.

How to Maintain a Time and Action Calendar?" 

From my real-life experience, I found that it is easy to make a TNA calendar but maintaining the same is a very difficult task. But you have to maintain it on a regular basis. Otherwise, there is no use of a TNA calendar.
  1. Take the signature of a responsible person when you distribute the TNA calendar to them. It is assumed that once they sign they agree on your plan. So that on later nobody shows disagreement on your plan. 

  2. Take a printout of each calendar, make a bunch and keep it on your desk for easy access.

  3. When you make days plan "To-do lists" refer to the bunch of TNA calendars. At the same time update each calendar by marking done or not done on the printed copy. Fill up the actual start and end date for the completed processes.

  4. Where you find something is getting delayed notify the respective department or the person and ask for the reason for the delay. And check if the delay is manageable. If any delayed process is not manageable (complete on due date), next processes will move forward. In this case, you may need to make a new plan for the rest of the tasks.

  5. Update your new plan in the original TNA calendar.

  6. Update your spreadsheet (TNA calendars) at the end of the day. If daily update is not possible then do it at your convenience. But it must be done at regular intervals.  

Second Format

In the second format (Format 2) scheduling of multiple styles is done in a single sheet. It helps you to keep eye on each order quickly. All key processes are listed in the header row with columns for the start and end of the process. Against each style, you have two rows for planned dates and actual dates for the tasks. This format reduces no. of sheets when a merchant handles dozens of orders. The difference is that you don't keep the names of the responsible persons or departments.   

Format 2: Time & Action Calendar (Multiple styles per sheet)
Click on the image to enlarge the image view

The time and action calendar preparation and maintaining it are the same as the first format. This TNA calendar format is handier as you need to carry a less few sheets of printout than the previous one.

If you like to use both formats then take a printout of the second one only. Do all updates and modifications on this format manually. Later update the TNA calendar on your computer (Format 1) for easy maintaining.

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Change History:

First post date: 22 July 2012
Update on: 22 June 2022

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