What is More Important- a Skilled Operator or a Sewing Machine?

When it comes for improving factory performance and improving workers performance in an apparel manufacturing unit, experts would say productivity can be improved either by improving operator's skill level or by purchasing an advanced automatic/semi-automatic sewing machine. That means you have two options. Here the question is which one you will prefer for your factory?

Sewing operator skill building

Simply, we will prefer the one that is more important to us and cost-effective.

An advanced machine could be -
  • equipped with automatic thread cutter
  • automatic sewing workstation for specific sewing operation that reduces manpower requirement
Here are a few thoughts for comparing the two.

1. Purchasing new machines is a one-time investment plus maintenance cost.  But when we hire an employee we need to pay her every month.

2. We can buy an advanced sewing machine easily. To operate the machine we need at least one operator.

3. An operator can be highly skilled in one type of machine and low skilled in another sewing machine.

4. An operator can operate all types of sewing machines after getting training but by using one single machine, you can not make the garment.

5. By improving operators' skill, one can improve labour productivity with the existing resources (manpower and machines)

6. By adding more machines (similar machines) production can be increased but we can't say that labour productivity will be increased.

7. An advanced machine can help in increasing production for some specific operations. But remember most of the time special machines are not fully utilized due to style difference and order volume.

8. Where there is a shortage of workers (sewing operators) and workers are costlier, advanced machines can be the right choice for running a manufacturing unit.

Skilled operators and sewing machines both are important resources for a company. The importance is how we utilize the resources.

Share your thought in the comment section.

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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