Why Measure Non-Productive Time?

Non-productive time tracking

In the manufacturing sector, non-productive time is one of the key challenges in improving floor productivity. So, as a production manager or an IE, you should not ignore measuring and reporting non-productive time on the production floor.  

In this post, I will discuss the reasons why you should measure and find actual non-productive time on the production floor. Non-productive time is also termed 'NPT' and 'Loss time'. 

In an earlier article, I explained what non-productive time is and how to measure non-productive time. I have also discussed the major causes of non-productive time. You are suggested to read these two articles as well.

Why measure non-productive time (NPT)?

Let's discuss why we should measure loss time?

1. To know the fact of the shop floor that how productive hours are lost and how many hours are lost every day. Company management just looks at the daily line efficiency data and labor productivity. But why efficiency and productivity are low in your factory? The major reasons are lost time. That is why you should capture all the non-productive time on a daily basis. 

2. You can only manage (reduce) lost time in a line when you measure it and you have enough data for making a decision. That's why you need to measure non-productive time.

3. Unmeasured non-productive time is the potential area for productivity improvement. Productivity can be improved by reducing lost time.

4. By tracking loss time and reducing it you can reduce the production lead time. At least you can be in a position in shipping goods on time.

Case Study: NPT Measuring and Its Benefit

I would like to share one case study. One trouser manufacturing company had undertaken a project to reduce lost time in their production lines. After two months of the project initiation by reducing lost time in different lost-time categories, the company has improved line productivity by more than 10%.

You may be thinking how this is possible? 

Let me assure you that this improvement is possible provided you know how much total time is lost in your factory and know how to convert those lost time into productive time. Track improvement opportunities within your reach. Let me share how they did it.

Earlier they don’t have any measure for loss time data. They started using a real-time production system and instructed their operators to record loss time when they don’t have work and when they sit idle for any other reasons. Operators were also instructed to enter lost-time reasons in the real-time production tracking device. 

They have extensively captured lost time data in different categories. They analyzed data for one month. They got a clear picture of the major lost time categories and the number of hours the factory is wasting. They prepared a plan to reduce top-level lost-times categories and found good results in one month.

In the garment industry, many factories don't know how much productive time they are losing every day. In case sewing operators and helpers are not working the full 8 hours a day (though they are present in the line) that means you have lost time.

Also read: 4 Non-Productive Measures

Utilize the operator’s time as much as you can. There is no better alternative than just stopping operators sitting idle, to improve operator productivity. Non-productive time such as waiting for work, machine breakdown, power failure, and repair work kill your productivity. Start eliminating such non-productive time as much as possible. To start work on this point you have to track non-productive time data in different categories. Once you have the analysis and Pareto of non-productive time you can think and plan on reducing it.


Do you measure the non-productive time of the sewing lines in your factory? 

If you do, you are on the right track improving resource utilization and productivity. If not, you should start measuring non-productive time on the shop floor.

Also read: How to measure non-productive time (NPT)?

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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