Major Factors Affecting Factory Efficiency

One of the OCS readers asked this question - What are the major factors that affect factory efficiency directly? 

The right answer to this question depends on the current factory practices. Depends on the production systems, workflow and effectiveness of the managerial team. The direct reason may vary from one company to another.
Factors affecting efficiency
In general, the following are the key factors that may cause maintaining and improving factory efficiency in garment manufacturing.

1. An imbalance production line 

If you are having assembly lines and workload are not balanced in a line between workers, some workers will not get enough work for the day. And a few workers will have a pile of works. This situation causes the utilization of standard hours which in turn affect the line efficiency.

2. Unmeasured lost time and no action on lost time reduction 

The time when workers are not doing standard work and waste their time being idle is called as lost time. Many times in a day, operator wait for work (feeding). Sometimes they wait for trims. Operators wait for the line to set up. Factory loses productive time that affects the factory's efficiency.

3. Unskilled employees 

The production rate of a highly skilled worker is higher. An unskilled operator works at a low production rate compared to skilled employees. Secondly, unskilled operators make mistakes and produce defective pieces.

4. Not using time-saving equipment, folders and attachment 

This kind of time-saving tools can reduce operation cycle time and can help to improve the operator's efficiency.

5. Demotivated workforce 

Production speed in the shop floor in a factory also depend on the workers' mood. Demotivated workers can reduce the factory's performance. Untimely payment and low wages may demotivate workers.

6. Stitching quality issues 

When quality issue is there, the operator needs more explanation and training, which in turn reduce the operator's production rate and cause efficiency fall of the given line. Secondly, if the garment quality is not made right the first time, there will be repair work, rejection and requirement of additional manpower.

7. Wasting productive time during style changeover

Excess waiting time for line set-up during style changeover cause factory's efficiency fall.  This mostly happens when line supervisors, production and engineers are not pro-active and not ready with manpower and machine allocation, line layout, work aids,  and pilot run.

8. Failing to monitor production 

No monitoring of hourly production and not chasing the operator for target quantity and efficiency. 

9. Employee absenteeism

When some of the employees do not come to work, it causes production loss, creates an issue in the workflow. If the workers leave or absenteeism is not planned, it reduces line and factory efficiency.

10. Machine breakdown and maintenance delay

Machine breakdown is a common fact. It may happen. But if the machine maintenance team takes a longer time to resolve the machine issue, line efficiency will fall. 


The factory efficiency is one of the many business performances measuring tool in the manufacturing sector. Factory's growth and earning is directly linked with factory efficiency. That is why every business owners must take care of improving and maintaining factory efficiency. 

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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