Application of Industrial Engineering in Garment Industry

Many articles have been written and published in industrial engineering since the inception of this blog. What is the new in this post? This post is written to explain the application of Industrial Engineering (IE) concepts in the Garment Industry. To many, this is important to know why one should set up an IE department in a garment factory. I have taken help of two questions to explain this topic in detail and also recommended a book at the end of this post for your further reading on this topic. Two questions are -
  1. What is the application of Industrial Engineering in the apparel industry?
  2. How Industrial Engineering concepts are used by apparel manufacturers?

What is the application of Industrial Engineering in apparel industry?

Industrial Engineering concepts are used in garment manufacturing to fulfill the following purposes -
  • Monitoring production floor and having better control over the production floor
  • Improving processes and improving method of working to increase the factory's overall performance and standardized garment manufacturing processes
Overall application of Industrial engineering can be explained better by describing common tasks of the IE department. Common tasks of an IE department are as following but not limited to these
  • Work measurement of sewing operations, cutting room jobs and finishing jobs
  • Setting standard time for sewing operations and manual operations
  • Style analysis and conducting research and development (R&D) of the styles 
  • Improving method of work and design workstation 
  • Production planning and factory capacity determination
  • Work aids development
  • Workstation designing and machine layout planning
  • Labor cost estimation
  • Performance measuring of workers 
  • Training of workers (sewing operators)
  • Designing incentive scheme and calculating incentive for sewing operators
  • Setting line production target of the sewing lines and chasing production from line supervisors and operators
  • Application of lean tools

Read the full list of job profile of the industrial engineering department in a garment factory.

How Industrial Engineering Concepts are used by apparel manufacturers?


Factories those are using IE techniques mostly have a complete IE set up (department). An IE department consists of an IE managers (in-charge) and Industrial Engineers and juniors engineers. The strength of IE team widely varies based on the maturity level of the department and on the focus of application of Industrial Engineering. Without having enough team members, an IE department cannot work effectively.

Industrial Engineers are utilized in the following ways but not limited to those -
Factories apply all or few of the above listed functions to
  • assist line supervisors by preparing resource requirement plan (machines and equipment and manpower), line setting and line balancing etc. 
  • assist production managers in target planning and production planning, 
  • help merchandiser and marketing personnel by providing labor cost and production lead time, 
  • help HR department by providing operator performance level, and help in operator recruitment 
  • prepare MIS reports and show management team product status on daily basis and alert management team if their attention is needed
  • set up standards operating procedures for new tasks, the new process required for ever-changing fashion products

More than the regular jobs, IEs are also responsible for thinking of continuous process improvement. Initiation of new projects and implementation of the project that has been undertaken, showing the improvement opportunity within the factory to a management team. Engineers are involved in performance improvement tasks of the cutting department and finishing department.

Companies those have limited manpower in IE team, only involves engineers for routine jobs like, making operation bulletin, thread consumption, preparing daily production reports etc.

Conclusion:

No doubt that Industrial engineering department is adding a lot of values to the company. Without having the Industrial Engineering team one would not know how things are going on the shop floor, what corrective measures need to take on time, effective utilization of manpower and machines.

Industrial engineering concept needs to incorporate at the time of plant set up instead of changing and modifying things later after factory starts making garments.

Applications of IE tools are also explained in other articles. Check our archive page of industrial engineering articles. You can also refer to the free eBook 'Industrial Engineering 101' on which you will get the full list of industrial engineering topics. Details of the topics are available on this site. You can read those articles by clicking on the topic.

To increase your knowledge of Industrial Engineering subject and production management irrespective of industry, I recommend you to read this book.

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