How to Get Maximum Efficiency in Shorter Run Orders?

It is true that for short-run orders when the line reaches its pick performance, stitching get completed. When a factory compares the line performance of a short-run against a long-run order, it gets less efficiency.

Normally, on the first 1-3 days of production loading (depending on the style or production system), a line builds its performance day by day (learning curve) and line works at optimum efficiency level after the learning curve. If the line gets a long run order (that normally runs more than 15 days), the average efficiency of the order comes higher as after learning most of the days, the line works on the higher level.

On the other hand, when an order gets finished by 4th to 5th day of loading, the average line efficiency remains low due to initial days' learning curve.When a line gets 4-5 short run orders in months, they lost the productive time on production line set-up (style changeover). This results in lower line performance during the month.

This question was asked by an OCS reader.

In this post, I have shared few tips that can be useful in achieving maximum efficiency in shorter run orders. Though these tips are applicable for long-run orders too to achieve better performance.


  • By loading the new style back to back. This means when the previous style getting completed from the one operator, load the new style without waiting for completing style from all operations. 
  • Prepare the line layout and process workflow on paper in advance and follow that one during line set-up.
  • All you need to be better prepared. Keep continuous feeding to the line. Before loading the cuttings in the line, keep everything ready- all approvals related to the style, trim, and complete cutting of the order or at least two day's cutting WIP should be there.
  • Train employees (sewing operators) separately, how to do the operation they are going to assign to the style.
  • Supervisors need to be prepared and need to complete line set-up as quickly as possible (no waiting of operators should be there), including machine changing, an instruction to operators, quality specification, approval etc,
  • Reduce bundle size. Single piece flow would better for small runs.
  • If possible use a shorter sewing line for small qty orders. This change will also make difference in achieving line's overall efficiency.

What is a Short Run Order?

An order of small order quantity that runs on the production line for 3-5 days. The order quantity for a short-run order may be different depending on the style design. Garment factories set their own criteria for considering the order short-run or a long-run order.

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Online Clothing Study: How to Get Maximum Efficiency in Shorter Run Orders?
How to Get Maximum Efficiency in Shorter Run Orders?
How to manage short run order to achieve maximum performance?
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