How to Reduce Manpower (Helpers) in Garment Factories

To become competitive and increase profit in manufacturing business resources like manpower should be utilized as max as possible. In business term, extra manpower means extra cost to the company. In such situation management must find a way for cost-cutting through manpower reduction wherever possible.

garment factory cutting department
Fabric cutting section
In this article, I will discuss the common things that you can do to reduce manpower in your factory. This article is written to answer the following question.

Question: I am from Bangladesh. I am doing the job in a readymade garment factory. In cutting and quality section we have extra manpower. How can I reduce extra manpower? Give me your valuable advice. This question is asked by OCS fan from Bangladesh.

The steps to take for reducing manpower are explained here.

1. Improve workers skill by training 

When you have low skilled operators (workers) in your factory, normally you need to employ more people to produce planned quantity. A systematic training program for workers, that increases individual workers skill, will increase your capacity. Eventually the need of workers will be reduced.

2. Measure the work and calculate manpower requirement accordingly 

Do you know exactly how many manpower (operators, helpers, and checkers) are enough to produce same production that you are getting right now? It is not possible to estimate the number without work study and work measurement. So first you need to measure work and calculate actual manpower requirement and employ accordingly.

3. Develop multitasking workers/employees as much as possible 

Through training you can increase the number of multi asking operators. In small factories multi-tasking workers is very useful in term of cost saving.

4. Install or increase the number of automatic/semi-automatic machines and equipment 

You might have automatic workstation for some activities. You can further increase the number of automatic workstation wherever applicable.

Remember one thing - don't fire employees/workers for cost cutting. Instead involve unutilized worker in other activities (in other departments) or improve factory capacity to utilize all manpower resources.

In past I visited some of the garment factories in Bangladesh, I show there many unnecessary helpers are allocated in cutting section and stitching lines. The activities done by these helpers includes - helping in spreading fabric in cutting room, trimming threads after stitching, arranging stitched parts, cutting chain of parts at overlock machines.
These are unnecessary manpower that can be easily reduced by improving method and practice.

Reduction of manpower in stitching section:

Use of UBT machine: Thread trimming from each lock stitch operations can be done by using auto thread trimmer (UBT machine).
Handling stitching parts: You can place one trolley or basket parts in the front of the machine for disposing stitched garments or garment. Why operators need someone to stand there and pick each stitched piece and bundle it? If operation needs bundling, same operator should do that job.

Cutting stitching chains: I would say it is really a luxury in work by allocating extra manpower (helper) at overlock machine those are overlocking small components and stitched parts are coming out from the machine in chain from.

What do you think? Are these helpers are really needed for improving production?

In sewing floor other kind of manpower like data recording person can be reduced.

Reduction of manpower in cutting section:

In cutting section, I have seen helpers to stand both sides of the cutting table and they align fabric edges on the lay (see the above image). They help in spreading the plies.

Solution: You can train cutting room workers how to spread layer with two persons (max 4 persons).

Secondly, you can use automatic or semi-automatic fabric spreading machine (for fabric rolls). Yes installation of such machine needs some investment. I would say automatic spreading machine are cost effective if you have high production volume. Additionally you can also improve cutting room production by installing automatic cutting machine.

Reduction of manpower in quality team:

Do you believe that by checking garments you can improve stitching quality of your products? No. That is not possible. Garment quality (stitch quality) is made at sewing needle and made by sewing operator. Checkers just segregate good and defective garments. By improving quality awareness among sewing operators and other workers in the floor; and providing training to checkers and quality team, you can improve effectiveness in quality checking. This way you may reduce need of checkers to some extent.

These are some of ideas that can be followed to reduce extra manpower in a garment factory. What do you think about these ideas?

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.

Post a Comment

  1. Very useful article... By these process we can reduce worker or employer in garments industry

  2. Very insightful! As you mentioned repeatedly training has a great impact not only on the manpower efficiency but also on the production quality.
    Sometimes changing the wages policy can improve the manpower efficiency notably.

  3. @ Fatima: Thank you reading this post and writing comment.
    What you said about increasing/changing worker wages can bring improvement in production and quality.

    @ Rafiq: Glad to know that you like this post.

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