What are the Common Problems Found in Garment Production?

I would say there are infinite problems in garment manufacturing. A problem can be defined as a matter or situation that effects in production performance, product quality and on-time delivery.

You could not find a single factory that works without having problems on the production floor. Factories face various kind of problems while making garments in the shop floor. Sometimes problems are never ending. When one frequently occurring problem is solved, a new problem comes out. Even problems occur in various forms in different processes.

A problem is not always a bad thing but it is also good to know your problems. Most of the problems reduce line performance, the effect on delivery and product quality. By recognizing frequently occurred problem you can work for the betterment of the production process. Later you can increase performance in garment production.

Read what all the problems I faced while working in garment production. And observed in factories fighting with problems.
Image via Flickr user Mohammad Moniruzzaman

Defect Generation in Sewing

At the end of the sewing line, when garments are checked, a number of defective garments are found. A defect may be occurred due to defective material or defective cutting or defect may be generated at the sewing stage. Or defect in garments may occur due to poor handling. Normally most of the defective garments found after sewing are repaired. Still in finishing stage, one finds number of similar defects. This is a big problem for unorganized factories. Sometimes operators or line supervisors make mistake due to poor communication. Inside quality there are hundreds types of problems.

Also See: List of Garment  Defects (Trouser)

Problem with Raw Materials 

Production floor doesn't get materials on time. Sometimes they receive materials in urgency but with substandard quality and insufficient numbers. Cuttings fed to the lines are not as per standard.

Delay in Production Start

Planning department makes production schedules but in many cases factory doesn't receive fabric before PCD (planned cut date). Line is ready with operators and machines but supervisor doesn't receive cuttings on planned date. Sometimes cutting department takes unexpectedly longer time. Delay in sewing may also happen due to delay in approvals from buyer.

Long Line Setting Time

Due to poor preparation prior to line setting, line setting time increases.

High Lost Time 

Many productive hours are lost by operators due to various reasons. This may happen due poor interdepartmental coordination, delay in completion of previous process, shortage of feeding, and quality issues. See 4 killer non-productive measures.

Operator Absenteeism 

With the operator shortage, operator absenteeism increases labour problem in sewing floor. Factories are paying attendance bonus to attract operators to present maximum days in a month.

Frequent Change in Production Planning

This is often happened in factories that production team loads a style to a line and certainly gets instruction to stop the style and load one urgent style. This breaks the production momentum and reduces line performance.

Insufficient Information

Factories conduct PP meeting and weekly meeting. Even after meetings, complete and correct information is not passed to the production team. Due to delivery schedule pressure, bulk production is started without complete approval.

I know you are working in garment production and facing new challenges daily. It would be a great discussion if you kindly add your points here. I mean what problems you find in your factory frequently. Often visible problems are actually not actual problems but symptoms of real problems hidden in the processes.

We always want a solution to a problem. But prior to looking for the solution you must study the problem and learn detailed knowledge of common problems occurring in garment production.

Prasanta Sarkar

Prasanta Sarkar is a textile engineer and a postgraduate in fashion technology from NIFT, New Delhi, India. He has authored 6 books in the field of garment manufacturing technology, garment business setup, and industrial engineering. He loves writing how-to guide articles in the fashion industry niche. He has been working in the apparel manufacturing industry since 2006. He has visited garment factories in many countries and implemented process improvement projects in numerous garment units in different continents including Asia, Europe, and South Africa. He is the founder and editor of the Online Clothing Study Blog.

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