# Is the Garment SAM a Hypothetical Data?

Do you agree if someone says it that the standard time (SAM) established for a garment is hypothetical data? If not, share your thoughts to this discussion. Even you agree with this statement, you can share your viewpoints.

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, Hypothetical means imagined or suggested but not necessarily real or true.

In a recent article on Standard Time, one OCS reader posted this viewpoint.

I would like to add one important point regarding SAM value. In the definition of standard time, it mentioned that That is qualified worker. Worker is frequently changing in garment industry. There is no permanent labour for same operation in a line. Some days he is going to remain absent. He will flip the job, there is change in method of new operator. So, I think SAM value is just hypothetical. In the real world, it is showing quite far result. SAM value is just refence. You need to decide your own SAM for each garment you CMT. Still that is going to vary.

I agree that SAM is a reference time. SAM is a benchmark data and standard time for the specific product used by a garment factory. The established SAM of operation either measured through Time-study method or time and motion analysis may vary when the parameters change. We can’t control all the variables all the time. As a result, we get the time difference between the Standard time and actual average operation cycle time.

It is true that if two engineers (from two different factories) are assigned to establish garment SAM for the same garment sample using Time Study method and you pre-define all parameters for both (machine type, material, machine speed), still there is no surety that both will get same SAM.

Still, we need a standard to refer to and measure factory performance and other things.

By using PMTS software, if the motion sequences of operation are defined with other required parameters, then the probability is that you will get the same Standard Time whoever is establish the operation SAM.

We know most of the garment factories establish garment operation SAM and based on the SAM you perform the following activities.

• you calculate production target,
• you calculate manpower and machine requirement
• you prepare initial line balancing
• you calculate direct labor cost of the garment
• direct labor cost calculated from garment SAM is used in product FOB calculation
• you measure factory performance,
• you develop operators’ skill matrix from operator SAH and Efficiency which is derived based on operation SAM
• operator’s earning are calculated and many companies pay piece-rate based on the operation SAM.
If the SAM were only a reference figure without having any meaning, thousands of factories don’t use it. Labour costing and processes are standardized using the product SAM.

You can look it from another angle, establish the SAM with a standard motion sequence and train employees to follow the same sequence when the work on the floor. This way you aim to reach the standard performance level (benchmark level).

Let me share about OCS platform. In 2011, OnlineClothingStudy.com blog became popular after I wrote the article on the standard minute (SAM) calculation method. That time there were not many articles were published on the internet about garment SAM, definition, calculation methods, product-wise SAM data, and its application. Later, I have posted more articles on this topic and bringing awareness about the standard time, its importance. Now you will get a ton of posts, videos on this topic.

Dr. Manoj Tiwari, Associate Professor, NIFT, Jodhpur [LinkedIn]

To my understanding, SAM is a reference value (or maybe as a benchmark value..we use term Estimate the SAM), but it should not be said as "hypothetical" as that means something "Imagined", there are companies (across the globe and in many of the manufacturing sectors, not just limiting to Apparel manufacturing) are using SAM since many years. If it's hypothetical how they have been successfully using SAM based values? Actually, It all depends on how religiously one has derived it. Based on my personal observations in the last 14 years, I have never come across any organization that is actually using Rating while estimating SAM, which is an important factor for SAM determination.
On the other hand standard value extracted from PMTS (maybe using GSD, Pro-SMV, or TimeSSD, etc.) is based on the analysis of body movements, which seems more realistic, but again one (IE or PMTS expert) needs to analyze the motion sequence and suggest a better or improved way with considering other factors. A standard time value (SAM) is used as a reference while setting up targets, or some organizations tweak the values as per their own practical limitations or capabilities such as target set @ 70% of SAM, etc.
In view of this, SAM is used as a reference, but it doesn't mean that it is a Hypothetical Value or something imaginary.

Laszlo Szabo, Director of timeSSD® [LinkedIn]

What it means "standard"?
"Usual rather than special," says the same dictionary.
Rarely the focus is on the "qualified" but more on "average" worker when we are talking about standard time. The "worker" by default should mean that the person knows how to do what she/he does. When the "usual" it comes into the field of mathematics then it became "average", following a kind of statistical distribution. Our usual life is running around the Gauss distribution, in all domains.
Regarding the hypothetical side of the SAM, I can agree if I'm looking only from the purely mathematical side and the following example explain simply.
In a team are 6 members age 22, 24, 25, 28, 30 and 33 years. The average age is 27 years but in fact, nobody is 27. As we increase the team member numbers than more and more will have the age closer to the average but isn't granted to have anybody with the age exactly equal to the average. With the SAM the situation is the same and it's coming from the "average" worker. The "average" is a concept, maybe in a manufacturing unit with thousands of workers nobody can fit exactly as "average" but most of them are enough to close (with a + /- epsilon) to be considered it.
"Average" worker is an "average" human with all of the capabilities criteria.  This is the reason why the standard time is the (same!) "standard" in India, Bangladesh, Columbia, Romania, Germany, Ethiopia … with the condition of "… the same circumstances …". The same circumstances mean a similar working place, same equipment, same transportation system, same fabric, same operation, same all other things but a different worker.

### 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.