Why Measure WIP in a Garment Factory?

Work in progress (WIP) includes the set at large of unfinished items for products in a production process. These items are not yet completed but either just being stitched or waiting in a queue for further processing or in a buffer storage. WIP is in-process inventory.

In garment manufacturing, WIP is normally measured in a number of garments. The end-of-day WIP of a process is the number of total pieces loaded today in the process plus the previous day’s WIP minus total pieces come out from that process. In a garment factory, production WIP is measured every day by the production department or the industrial engineering department.

Measuring WIP in a garment factory

Why measure WIP?

Maintaining a minimum level of WIP at each sewing workstation is necessary to have continuous work for workers. But neither a high WIP nor the low WIP is good for a production line.

Here are a few reasons for which factory need to production WIP.
  • To know whether a line (or workstation) has high WIP level or low WIP level compared to the targeted/planned WIP 
  • If a line supervisor doesn’t look at operations where WIP is piling up, the production line will become imbalance soon. 
  • Allowing unnecessary WIP in the line would increase the inventory requirement as well as financial involvement in a period. 
  • To keep the production line running, it is necessary to feed the production lines and workstations continuously. If the workstation doesn’t get enough work, it will be on the idle situation and no production would be generated from that workstation. In such cases, a line would loss potential output from that workstation.
  • High WIP is the main source of many issues like quality issues, low productivity, and unnecessary delay in production. 
By measuring the WIP, the factory can plan for their next day’s work requirement. 

If you think, there are more reasons for measuring production WIP, post it here. 

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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