The production cycle in an export garment factory starts with the buyer placing an order with the exporter. The order consists of the garment style specifications, dimension specifications, fabric details, size set and order quantity. The order quantity further consists of one single order or multiple orders; single destination or multiple destinations; single colour or multi-colour fabric; and further a single packing ratio or individual packing ratio for each order for the same style of garment.
The garment styling details and dimension details are sent to the CAD/pattern-making department for the pattern maker to make patterns. He prepares patterns for the given size set as well as the shrinkage allowed patterns for the size set. Now, this is where the conventional factories and smart factories depart in their practices and smart factories save cost in cutting room a huge amount yearly.
In a smart factory cut-plan precedes placing an indent for fabric. (cost saved !). For good fabric management the key is to indent for the near exact fabric quantity. Herein order quantity, cutting table length, ply height, packing ratio, is to be factored in. One should arrive at an optimal cut ratio for minimal fabric consumption, minimal plies, minimal markers and sizes. So that the BOM consumption and the actual consumption are not far apart and the mad rush to make up for shortfall of fabric or for disposal of excess of fabric can be avoided.
Once fabric arrives, roll-planning is done. Which means the cutting department is able to give the pattern maker instructions on what shrinkage should be allowed to which size set, depending on their cut-plan and roll-plan. This helps contain preparation of redundant patterns. (cost saved !)
At this stage the cutting department is also able to give instructions to this department on the marker ratios as also the shrinkage and width to be allowed to the markers. So only relevant markers are prepared that too in specified widths as against the practice of making markers with the minimum width of the fabric. This economises on the actual width available. (cost saved !).
Different markers have different lengths and so are rolls. Here lies a natural optimising opportunity. Match rolls with markers so that end bit can be brought down. (cost saved !). At present end bits account for about 2%.
With the advent of online purchase, it has become a norm for buyers to place bulky orders to cater to their retailers and several small orders to cater to their online outlets. This has put the exporters in a dilemma. Whether to consolidate the Multi-Purchase-Orders, produce and then run helter-skelter sorting them out Purchase Order wise. Or to individually tackle each Purchase Order howsoever small and loose out on economies of large scale production. So here comes the acute need for an infrastructure which can process the consolidated Multi-Purchase-Orders practically and economically.
An example: Size-wise quantity break up of 5 purchase orders (PO) is shown here.
Had the above Purchase Orders been taken individually, the number of markers would have run to say, 25. A very similar problem is with three-pronged-Orders for garments in Multi-Size, Multi-Color and Multi-Destination.
Every Purchase Order comes with packing ratio pre-specified. The Lay-wise output may not always conform to this ratio. This adds another dimension to the problem. What if the plies per lay are pre-set to conform to this ratio (cost saved!).
Once production starts, comes the problem of fabric reconciliation. Damages in fabric leads to shortfall in production unless a damage allowance has already been incorporated. Even if incorporated, it is just by way of a percentage of fabric purchased. The actuals may be less or more. Laying of fabric for cutting, sewing and fabric stock taking should take place concurrently to enable production of garments on a continual basis without breaks. (cost saved !)
At the time of finishing, defects concerning measuring problems can be traced back to patterns of a certain shrinkage allowance cut on rolls with a different shrinkage allowance. If only the grouping using shrinkage values had been done properly cut-to-pack ratio could have been improved (cost saved !). So is the case with rejects due to shade mix ups in an individual garment.
You can perform online cut-planning at cut-plan.com and roll-planning at roll-plan.com. Share your thought on this discussion.