Major Blocks in Implementing Lean Manufacturing in Garment Industry

This is a guest submission from Abhishek Goel.

In this article, Abhishek has shared the major blocks that he experienced in implementing Lean systems in the leading garment manufacturing factories.

Change is must to bring excellence in business. The manufacturing process needs to be improved to survive in the business for the long run. For the sack of survival, lean tools need to be embraced by the global garment industry. There are many benefits of implementing lean tools or lean manufacturing like improved productivity and improved quality.

Awareness of lean manufacturing concept has increased in last 5 years. Apparel business owners are implementing lean philosophy in the shop floors. 5S, Modular sewing line, KAIZEN are common and well known lean tools factories like to install. When we take closer look, things are not moving as supposed to be. There many blocks that stop factories to enjoy the full benefit of lean manufacturing.

Lean manufacturing in garment industry

Following are the Top 5 blocks in lean implementation in the Indian garment industry.

Resistance towards change 

The biggest hurdle is the resistance towards change. People in the garment industry would never like to change their way of working. There is a saying ' if one follows same method to do a job, he will get same output as before.' So, to bring improvement through lean implementation people need to accept the change.

Lack of forming motivated Lean implementation team

We don't get a separate team to implement things and drive change. People who are already so involved in day-to-day activities can’t think of any innovative ways to do the same job. So they are not focused on the goal and implementation process.

Most of the factories are not operating in a professional manner

They don't believe in Industrial Engineering approach or a structured hierarchy. So it’s another task to first teach and get them to operate in a professional structured manner and then think of Lean implementation.

Absence of team work culture

Mutual differences and ego problems don't let people work as a team. They fail to strive towards a common goal of company development and keep themselves busy in tiny day-to-day issues. As a result, the implementation process becomes a very lethargic process.

Age-old factory layout. 

Bad factory layout also prevents Lean implementation in its true flavour.

About the Author: Abhishek Goel is a Lean expert and working in the garment manufacturing industry for the last 10 years as an Industrial Engineer. He is also a Certified GSD Practitioner.

Also Read: 10 Steps for Effective Implementation of 5S

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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