Benefits of Single-Piece Flow Production System

Single-Piece Flow system is one of the many garment production systems. In Single-Piece Flow system only one garment is processed at a time through various operations in a sewing line. This production system is also known as a one-piece flow system. A single-Piece flow system is considered as a part of the lean manufacturing system. So, lean philosophy is applied when one uses a single-piece flow system.

Like other production systems, this production system has a number of merits and demerits. In this article, I will explain the merits of the Single-Piece Flow production system related to the garment industry. Benefits explained in the following are irrespective of lean manufacturing.

Benefits of the Single-Piece Flow systems are as followings:

Reduces throughput time - Time required coming out pieces from the production line after feeding is quicker than traditional progressive bundle system. Reduced throughput time of an order has many other subsequent benefits.

Quicker response – This system reduces overall lead time for an order processing. Factories can respond to market demands quickly.

Faster money circulation - In this system, no much inventory is stored and production lead time is less. The factory doesn't need to block money in a lot of material purchasing, transportation and warehouse.

Easier to change product - Setting up a line for new order or a new style is easier in the one-piece flow system. Style change over time is also less compared to progressive bundle system as there is no much WIP in the production line.

Improves garment stitch quality - Due to less throughput time, faults are detected quickly and feedback on stitching quality is given faster for preventive action. Also in lean manufacturing one-piece flow system quality is in-build. This means each operator is responsible for checking the quality of the work. No defects passed to the following operations. This way defect generation at machines can be reduced. Secondly, when there are fewer defects in garments, quality checker checks a garment in less time compared to existing production system.

Reduces rework level – Fewer defects mean less rework.

Better quality control – In this system, as any fault is detected within a minute of its occurrence garment quality can be managed in a better way.

Improves labour productivity – Productivity in a single-piece flow system is higher than a batch production. Reason – Non-value added activities are eliminated in the one-piece flow system. Thus an operator can produce more standard hours in the given time.

Better line balancing –Equal work distribution to operators can be done by clubbing low work content jobs. As a result minimum bottlenecks exist in the line.

It is considered that the cost of manufacturing for smaller quantity order is less in a single bundle system in comparison to progressive bundle system.

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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