11 Reasons Why Garment Factories Need a Real-Time Production Management System

A real-time production management system (PMS) is not a new thing. The real-time PMS system is being used by the garment manufacturing industry for a long time – more than four decades. The real-time production management system is also known as a real-time production tracking system (RTS) and a real-time shop floor control system.

In a real-time PMS system, majorly barcode or RFID technology is used for tracking the movement of the material or a garment item on the production floor.

In today’s high demand for real-time production and inventory data and data transparency, a PMS system is a correct fit for manufacturing companies to manage production with confidence.

In this post, we will discuss 11 reasons why garment manufacturing factories need a real-time production tracking system. I will be sharing these from my own experience.

The garment manufacturing businesses which include apparel manufacturing with a complex process flow, face many challenges around the year. And some of those challenges are –
  • Factories cannot complete the production on time
  • Factory managers do not get the accurate production number from the floor staffs, and
  • It takes time in understanding real problems faced by the shop floor teams.
Many problems can be resolved on time by having information early stage.

It is said that all problems have solutions. In today’s digital age – one of the paramount solutions for reducing shop-floor issues is the real-time production management system.

Why a real-time PMS solution?

Many garment factories have invested in cutting room technology, sampling, pattern making, and inventory management. 

Now, most of the organized garment factories have ERP systems. ERP is mainly used for PO generation, generating challan, adding MRN, maintaining inventory of each material, and with many other uses.

The real need of the hour is helping production engineers and line supervisors to perform their production floor tasks in a better way. Data capturing and data analysis on the paper is not the right tool for this age. Even maintaining records on spreadsheets is not good enough in this digital age.

We love to see all the updates on our smart mobile phones. Then why not expect the factory’s production status in a mobile phone. Now, with the help of the right technology and a software solution, you can digitize factory production and inventory data, get analytics and the best thing is all the data can be available in real-time.

To utilize most of them a software control system essential in today's factory.

If you are not using a real-time production management system, you are missing these benefits and improvement potential.

11 Benefits of a Real-Time Production Management System

#1. Full transparency of workers’ actual working hours. How many hours are spent on the machine and how many hours operators were absent from their workstation can be tracked.

#2. Getting process-wise and operation-wise production quantity and inventory records. Product data and the process-wise WIP data are the key information, for managing apparel production orders from start to end. In absence of a PMS system, you are missing the opportunity to see real-time production line balancing as you do not have a tool to see the process-wise (operation-wise) capacity and actual production. Loss of employee utilization and machine utilization.

#3. Non-productive hours are not measured (loss time hours) by many garments manufacturers due to the non-availability of the right tool. NPT hours are those hours operators sit idle and on the production floor due to some reasons. Many NPT times are considered as low-hanging fruits for improving factory performance. Without a technology solution, it is not an easy task to capture the NPT hours. It is an impossible task of recording NPT hours in different categories. A real-time production tracking system can make tracking NPT easier.

#4. Managing operators’ incentive earnings. Some PMS system comes with the inbuilt incentive system, that keeps a record of individual employee’s daily performance by the operation, by machine types they handled and by the product type they manufactured. Calculating incentive earning which is normally given for additional effort of the operators becomes easy and quick using a real-time system.

Workers need motivation. Introducing an incentive scheme whether as a group incentive or individual incentive is critical. Where money involved there might be a chance of data modification. A real-time system can resolve this issue. If you do not have a PMS system you will be struggling is managing your incentive scheme or you will drop the plan of introducing an incentive scheme for your operators.

#5. Improves data transparency. When we order something online, we are confident that the item will be delivered to your home on time. You can track each movement of your order online if needed. This is a kind of data transparency. The same can be applied in apparel order tracking in the manufacturing sector – you can see where your order currently reached. Either it is still on the cutting floor, or it moved to the preparatory section. You can track how many prices out of total order quantity has been reached to the packing section. All the product information and inventory movement data should be available in a common platform for all who need to know the same.

You cannot be transparent on production data and quality data if you have not yet installed one PMS.

#6. Accessing factory’s production status from a remote location - You cannot access production data, WIP status of your factory, production lines from a remote place. This helps in improving decision-making and helps in getting updated on the order status without calling or asking for a report from your team. Improved visibility and data transparency.

#7. You can capture the real performance (efficiency) of each employee. With the real performance measure, you can do your production scheduling better.

Do you know the on-standard efficiency of the individual operator the real performance of an operator? Normally on-standard performance of employees is not measured.

#8. You cannot manage your floor in the same way the factories do with a real-time production management system. You need real-time production data to manage the floor. A few of the reports are -
  • Hourly report
  • KPI data and analysis
  • Order status (by style, by color, by size, by customer etc.)
  • WIP data (inventory status at each stage/production processes)

With the RTPMS system, you will get all KPI reports generated automatically in a given template. You can see the production status on the dashboard.

#9. Managing quality, checking stitched garments, finding defects, and send the defective pieces for repair work is another part of managing production. Just stitching a number of garments without maintaining the required quality level, is not the production output. Quality data capturing is also part of the PMS system. In absence of a real-time PMS, you will miss the opportunity of real-time quality data capturing and improving quality performance.

#10. With real-time production and quality data, this PMS system keeps historical records and analytics which help in production planning and production scheduling. With the PMS system, you can be better prepared for the following orders.

#11. Today’s production managers need digital solutions for managing the factory and controlling production. And a real-time PMS system can help on digitizing production data and bringing the data in real-time. 

You might be thinking, how does a real-time production management system provide such detailed information on real-time. Read this article to get an answer to this question.


A system that can help shop floor managers; administrative staff must be considered by the factory management. Some investment is required to set up a new system and technology solutions. Before purchasing such a system, check the ROI of a real-time production management system.

I am sure, a company will get many tangible benefits as well as intangible benefits from the real-time PMS.

Still, do you have a question in your mind? Read this blog post. RFID based real-time production tracking system in apparel manufacturing  

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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