'Lean Tools in Apparel Manufacturing' - the Book for Garment Manufacturers by the Industry Experts

With a never-ending search for a low labour wage, almost all the countries are nearing the dead-end. The so-called labour-oriented apparel manufacturing industry is poised to change. Due to fierce global pressure on reducing price and lead time, the textiles & apparel producers will have to banish all waste from their supply chain. Lean manufacturing which removes waste and smoothens the process flow is gaining popularity among textiles & apparel producers and will be a key element for the surviving of the industry in the years ahead.

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Lean tool in apparel manufacturing



Key Features of the book 

  • An overview of various lean tools with a balanced mix of conceptual knowledge and practical applications in the context of apparel manufacturing
  • Valuable industry information which managers and engineers can follow themselves without the need to hire outside consultants
  • Case studies and examples from apparel manufacturing demonstrating how lean tools are being used successfully by leading organizations; an academician’s delight.
  • Possible use cases of several lean tools having potential use in the apparel manufacturing scenario.

About the Book

This book may be a handy resource guide for conceptual clarity and practical aspects of lean implementation in the Textile and Apparel industry environments. Wide coverage of different areas of lean makes this book equally useful to the lean practitioners, consultants, academicians, and students as well who are dealing in the fields of Textile and Apparel. This book aims to provide readers a seamless, easy, and gradual progression for a lean transformation where different relevant tools (not all the lean tools & techniques, as there are many lean solutions practiced by the automobile industry) are discussed with its practical implications in the Textile and Apparel industry. Authors have tried to ensure that the readers can use this book without jumping forward and backward from one chapter to another. At the same time, this book can be referred by the users for specific chapters or topics as well.

Chapter 1: This chapter discusses the brief history and evolution of lean principles, different approaches, and stages of lean implementation. The challenges in lean implementation in the context of apparel manufacturing have also been discussed. The objective of this chapter is to introduce and orient readers to provide an overview of lean management practices in apparel manufacturing.

Chapter 2: Lean is not a single term or technique but a combination of several tools and techniques. Lean philosophy involves different approaches as well. Lean experts have explained them through different elements, principles, as well as tools. Over the years, different academicians, consultants, and industry practitioners have also combined multiple approaches and tools, and given a different name to the combined process. In this chapter, each term is categorized to explain if it is a tool, a philosophy, a manufacturing system, or a simple measure. The nature of the tool is further categorized into diagnostic, improvement, training, or monitoring & control tool. The improvement tool is further categorized into whether it follows waste minimization or production leveling approach. The authors have tried to list those lean terms which are popularly used or have potential application in apparel manufacturing.

Chapter 3: This chapter discusses the step-by-step methodology to kick-start lean transformations in the context of apparel manufacturing. Value-addition (VA), Muda, Mura, Muri (3 M), lean waste (7 W), challenges to lean, Kaizen event, Hoshin Kanri, Lean framework have been discussed in the context of apparel manufacturing.

Chapter 4: This chapter discusses the key tools to find process-waste and problem-solving in the context of apparel manufacturing. The managers and decision-makers in conventional apparel manufacturing are essentially involved in activities, such as communicating necessary information, increasing efficiencies or productivity, and troubleshooting the day-to-day problems. In this chapter, lean based alternatives paths, tools, and techniques to traditional problem-solving have been discussed. Apart from value stream mapping(VSM), the other problem-solving techniques, such as A3, DMAIC, LAMDA, standardized work, Plan do check act cycle, Root-cause Analysis, Ishikawa diagram, 5-Why analysis are also explained.

Chapter 5: This chapter discusses the philosophies of 5S and visual management in the context of apparel manufacturing. Several visual management tools and techniques, such as Gemba, Visual factory, 6S audit, Andon, a different type of charts & diagrams, Dashboard have been discussed in this chapter.

Chapter 6: Developing rapid set-up or Quick Style changeover capability is important for the successful implementation of lean, flexible, or small order manufacturing systems. It has become even more important for apparel manufacturers catering to high fashion garments, with shorter lead times, smaller order quantities with diversified products. This chapter discusses the rapid set-up implementation process in apparel manufacturing. Other related areas such as prerequisites for SMED, changeover approaches, changeover methodology have been discussed with practical success stories in apparel manufacturing.

Chapter 7: Autonomation, in simple terms, is described as automation with human intelligence. Autonomation is a self-reliant work system, that is designed in such a way that it either prevents the user/work system from making errors or by detecting abnormality/error and raises alarm or on detecting abnormality, triggers a rectification mechanism to correct the error/variation. This chapter is an attempt to document autonomation and its allied tools with the methodology of the application of these tools in the apparel Industry.

Chapter 8: The competitive business environment pushes organizations to adopt the Just-in-Time (JIT) approach to survive. Resource balancing which is carefully controlled by the demand is the need of the hour. Lean provides some effective tools such as load-leveling (Heijunka), pull production with controlled WIP (Kanban), and flow management using Theory of constraint (ToC) suitable for such challenging environments. Process balancing using different lean approaches in the context of apparel manufacturing has been discussed in this chapter.

Chapter 9: With the advancement of technology, the business environment is becoming dynamic and competitive than ever. The organizations have to adapt to the changes to survive and maintain a competitive advantage over others. The ever-increasing customer expectations have always pushed for the transformation of manufacturing systems, and as a result, the manufacturing systems have undergone many evolutions and paradigm shifts. This evolution can be witnessed clearly as craftsmanship based make-through systems to the modern lean philosophy based agile manufacturing systems. Lean philosophy-based manufacturing systems helps immensely in achieving such objectives to achieve operational excellence. This chapter discusses various apparel manufacturing systems in the context of lean manufacturing.

Chapter 10: This chapter elucidates the application of principles of Quality management for Lean implementation in the apparel industry. It covers the importance of quality, in terms of quality of design and quality of conformance. It focuses on how to control the processes through the Statistical techniques like Statistical Process Control, how to make a judgment about the quality of the produced lots using Acceptance Sampling and Introduction to concepts of Six Sigma. The use of various control charts and their implementation have also been discussed. The chapter is focused to make us understand that building quality into the design and managing it at the various process levels has to be seen as an integral part of one of the several strategic initiatives taken by the Top Management.

Chapter 11: Any improvement is all about people. The magic is not there in the philosophies, tools, and techniques, but it is in the execution by the concerned people. And the human resource is the one who is going to initiate, implement, and making any improvement sustainable. This chapter discusses this important aspect of Human resource management in a lean journey. How lean and human resources mutually support each other and helps in empowerment, has been also discussed.

Chapter 12: With technological advancements, production has mainly turned out to be unmanned, owing to robotics and automation in industry. Equipment in production has become complex owing to automation. This further affirms that production output as well as the quality depends on the equipment. However, the rate at which production is getting automated and thus unmanned, maintenance is not. This further requires maintenance organization and philosophy to be upgraded for the facilitation of modification in maintenance methodology and enhancement of maintenance skills as well, thus leading to Total Productive Maintenance (TPM). This chapter briefly reviews the basic concepts of TPM and majorly focuses on the evolution of TPM over time especially in the form of smart maintenance which is the need of the hour across all the industry to cope up with Industry 4.0.

Chapter 13: The apparel and textile supply chain is explained with its evolution from industrial dynamics and logistics functions. The chapter discussed the reason behind the bullwhip effect in the apparel supply chain and tools to minimize it, the use of critical chain, virtual prototyping, and collaborative product development to reduce lead time and increase efficiency in product development. The chapter also discusses the evolution of and role of postponement, vendor managed inventory, and Just-in-Time to manage inventory in the apparel supply chain. The different supply chain structure and it’s bearing on lean apparel manufacturing is explained. Examples of lean principles in logistics, warehousing, distribution, and e-commerce operations are also explained to expand the domain of lean in supply chain management.

Chapter 14: The rise of consumerism and the growing desire for unique fashion has paved the way for countless clothing brands promoting creativity and innovation in design. For such brands, change and adaptability are key, rather than value or process perfection. Thus, a methodology like agile manufacturing – which places the main focus on rapid response to the customer - is fitting. This chapter discusses the concepts of Agile and Leagile, which can be considered as an extension to a lean-approach.

About the Editors of this book


Prabir Jana

Dr. Prabir Jana is a Professor at the National Institute of Fashion Technology, New Delhi, India. He has over 27 years of experience in the industry as well as in lecturing and researching in the field of apparel manufacturing.

Currently, Prof. Jana is Shahi Chair Professor, Industry 4.0 at NIFT. He has authored several books and more than 250 articles and papers in leading national and international magazines and journals. He has also delivered various lectures at both national and international forums. His key interest area includes Apparel Technology Management, Industrial Engineering, Advanced Manufacturing Techniques and Lean Manufacturing.

Manoj Tiwari

Dr. Manoj Tiwari is an Associate Professor at the National Institute of Fashion Technology, Jodhpur, India. He has 14 years of industry and academic experience including teaching, industrial training, research & development, and consultancy. He has experience of leading an international project involving capacity building and consultancy in manufacturing and production management.

He has presented and published over 50 research papers and articles in conferences and journals. The book “Industrial Engineering in Apparel Manufacturing: Practitioner’s Handbook” (ISBN: 978-8-19-324720-4) has been co-authored with Prof. Prabir Jana. His key areas of interest include Industrial Engineering, Lean Manufacturing, Ergonomics & Anthropometry.

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