What is Inline Inspection in the Garment Industry?

Inspection means checking the quality of work or a product. Inline Inspection means checking the quality of the product in the process instead of checking at the end of the process when product is completely made. Inline inspection in a garment factory means checking of semi-stitched garments or partially stitched garments while pieces are still inside the line and all sewing operations are not yet stitched.

Inline inspection is also known as roving quality checking or roaming quality checking. Inline inspection is done for 100% of garments or certain percentage of total stitched pieces. Various format of inline checking exits in the garment stitching.

Inline quality inspection in the garment industry
Inline quality inspection in the garment industry 

1) Inline checking at check points: Quality checker checks semi-stitched garment at fixed workstation inside the sewing line at critical operations only. This checking station is known as checkpoint. At this checkpoint quality checker checks all operations done up to that point. 100% garments are checked at this check points. A line may have multiple checkpoints depending on product type.

2) Roving quality checking: A quality checker may be appointed to check garments at all workstations in a sewing line randomly. This inline checker goes to every workstation and randomly pick bundles and checks few pieces. He concentrates only one operation at which he checking. Checking workstation is not provided at each workstation in the line, so this checker checks stitch quality of the garment by standing

3) Traffic light System: Traffic Light System for quality checking is also one example of inline inspection. You can read more about the traffic light system in this article.

4) Inline inspection by buyer QA representative: Whether factory follows inline garment inspection process or not, some buyers send their quality personnel to check garments in the initial days of production start and middle of the production. This inspection process is also known as mid-line inspection. Quality checker checked garment following AQL and prepare reports and give feedback to the factory representative. The factory takes corrective actions based on QA’s comments.

Inline garment inspection is recommended by many international apparel buyers. This inspection process improves garment stitching quality and reduces rate of defective garment at the end of the sewing line. Stitching mistakes is detected at early stage rather checking the defective garment after a garment is completely made and defects found in the starting operations. Quality checker or line supervisor can train the operator who is making defects if he is identified by inline quality inspector.

Purpose of inline garment inspection

1. The main purpose is to stop defect generation at source. Early detective of defective garment can save time and money for repair work. If a defect is not detected when it made and following processes are done on that defective piece defective piece may become more critical. This makes more difficult to open the seam again the repair the garment. Thus repair cost would be high.

2. To improve productivity: Chances of defect generation reduces. Thus no possibility of piling up WIP in certain operations and no chance to stopping work at few operations and let the line to dry.

3. Early feedback to cutting department: If garments are checked inline, defects related to cutting can be detected at the initial 2 to 3 operations. Sewing floor can inform the cutting department about the cutting issues if it exists. Based on the feedback from the sewing line cutting department take action quickly and cut following lays accordingly.

4. Reduce the workload of the end-of-line checker.

For styles with complex operations and having many numbers of operations, inline inspection must be followed by factories.

In one of my earlier articles I have listed explained various inspection stages followed by garment factories. Inline inspection is one of those inspection stages.

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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