QC Systems for Quality Assurance of Raw Materials in Garment Manufacturing

This article is contributed by Shobhit Jindal. 

Since quality is one of the most critical factors for the customer and no one will accept less than the acceptable quality norms, many factories employ their own quality systems as per the requirement of buyer or customer. But to become the most efficient in terms of quality a factory needs to set their standards a little more stringent than what is expected from them. This will ensure that there is less rework and zero customer complaints from the customer. 

Following are the basic quality standards that could be implemented for incoming raw materials to assure quality without any failure.

Quality inspection in Fabric store

1. Visual defect inspection: 
For the visual defect inspection, we have a world wide tested parameter of 4 point system to check the fabric defects like contamination, slubs, neps, stains, holes, etc. We need to check at least 20% of the total fabrics received so as to ensure no defective fabric is issued to cutting. 

The major mistake many factories make in choosing the rolls is they take rolls with big quantities to cover 20% figure so as to reduce their workload. It is recommended to cover as many rolls as possible (with a mix of small and big rolls) so that the actual condition of the fabric is known. It is also advisable to put some layers of fabric under the checking area when light color fabrics are checked esp. white color. Many defects will not be visible in a single layer in light colors.

2. Shade inspection: 
There are three types of shades present in fabrics. Below are the criteria to check the shade for each type:

a) Roll to roll variation: To check roll to roll shade variation, cut 30 cm full-width panel of 100% rolls and make a shade band. Grouping needs to be done from a lighter to a darker shade. Cross verify the band with the approved color standard received from the brand (buyer). You can get the same from the concerned merchant. If there is no major variation in the shade then it can be approved internally. In case of major variation is found then we need to take the approval of same from customer. Always mention the volume of each lot while sending it to the customer so that decision-making can be done accurately.

b) Center to selvage variation (CSV): This is one of most critical shade which can cause high rejection if not caught. Many factories randomly check CSV panels and take decisions. It is important to check 100% rolls for CSV and take decisions accordingly. If a major variation is present in the panels then it is advisable to reject the fabric and don’t proceed with cutting. Putting CS maker for every variation is not the correct step. CS marker is only advisable for variation which is minor. In case of doubt make a garment mock and take a call accordingly.

c) Within roll variation (lengthwise): Few shades which are dark like black, navy blue, khaki has variation over length. The best way to check the same is to cut a 30 cm full-width panel from the top and bottom of each roll (taking fabric from the start and end of the roll). Then check the same for shade. If present then we need to communicate the same to CAD so that long length marker can be avoided for same. It must be noted that if the fabric is having CSV and length-wise shade variation then a factory should reject the fabric and not proceed to cut.

3. Physical testing: 
Physical testing can be done randomly as per the buyer manual. We can do it on any random roll. In case of wash order, washing shrinkage needs to be checked of 100% rolls. One thing that is the most important which many factories don’t do is to verify the test result with the FPT report received from the supplier. Also, the FPT report must be cross verified with the quality manual of the brand so as to ensure all the required tests are being performed in the report. Many cases came across me when a few tests were missing from the FPT report and during GPT fabric is not meeting required testing standards. At this time the whole shipment will be in jeopardy and the supplier will not accept the debit as the fabric is cut and stitched.

Related post: Essential fabric quality reports required before bulk cutting

Quality Inspection in Trim Store

Trims can be checked randomly 10% of the total quantity received. It is advisable to take as many packets as possible so as to assure quality more efficiently. In case of wash orders, it is advisable to pre-shrink labels and trims, tapes. Colorfastness to wash and rub also needs to be checked for colored material like labels, trim tapes, tags, etc. Also, ask for testing reports of trims from suppliers so that a record can be maintained for trims quality. This will be helpful to claim loss from suppliers in case of any failure. For carton bursting strength is important to check.

If the above mentioned systems are followed then there will be less rework in production due to raw quality issues of materials. 

About the author
Shobhit Jindal is graduated from NIFT with a degree in apparel production. He has done his MBA from Amity University in Operations. He has a total experience of 6 years in the apparel industry in fields of Industrial engineering, Quality Control and Audits, Production, and Product Development.

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