How to Improve First Hour Production in a Garment Factory?

It is a normal fact that on the shop floor, the first-hour production is less compared to the day's hourly production. If you look at your hourly production report, you will realize it.

It may be due to some standard minutes are wasted for setting up the workplace by each operator, unavailability of inventory to sew, waiting for the work, warm-up time for each sewing operator.

All of these are genuine reasons.

Knowing all these facts, one engineer is trying to improve the first and last hour production in his factory. 

And this question is to all the garment industry experts and engineers - how garment factories can increase the production of the first and last hour. Your suggestions will be valuable to many factories. It is also true whatever one does, we can not achieve the same production quantity in the first hour as we get in the 3-6 hours of the shift. But you can surely improve the production rate from the present level of production.

improving hourly production in a garment factory

My suggestions to him - To improve the current production rate of the first hour, eliminate the root causes that causing less production in the first hour. 

  • Keeping enough WIP for each operator for starting the operator in the morning. At least keeping enough WIP at the last operation of the style (line output operation)
  • Machine cleaning and workplace setup should be done prior to first-hour starting
  • Tracking and monitoring all operators are starting their work on time. To manage this, garment factories can use technology solutions.
  • Developing SOPs for maintaining inventory for each workplace, raw materials (including threads, needle, fresh cuttings, etc.)
  • Automation in the sewing process can improve 1st-hour production. (Still, the garment manufacturing is labor-intensive and secondly, there is no enough automation for sewing operations).

The improvement can be brought through managing the employees and production floor, workplace. I am looking for suggestions and comments on this from the readers. 

Read readers comments

Suggestions from Ashokpal Sathiyanathan, Industrial Engineering Manager at Lenny Fashions Limited (29/06/2020 via LinkedIn)

  1. Make sure pervious day operator balancing which are planned leaves, unplanned leaves covered by Line floaters/ multi skill operators 
  2. Sewing operator check the quality of 1st pieces stitched in machine related any defects, like oil stains/ poor stitch quality. It avoid unnecessary lose due to quality.
  3. Adding we can't focus on all operations in 1st hour...mainly IE / Prod mgmt team ensure the bottle neck operations we had poorly performed yesterday, we already found action plan to over come next day. May CRITICAL operation. 
  4. Pervious day all production related issues MUST ( MC breakdown/ quality challenges) found solution with proper action plan with responsible person, before leaving the shift. 
  5. HR/ Prod mgmt alert on late comers? Make proper counselling and understand important of 1st hour production for the day 
  6. Implement the incentive system which boost of 1st hour production

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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