Why Garment Factories Should Have an IE Department?

why garment factories need IE department

Do you know why? Not sure! 

Read this article.

This question can be presented in another way – why so many garment factories set up an industrial engineering department in a factory. 

Still, more than 60% of garment manufacturing businesses do not have an industrial engineering department. (This percentage could be more). Still, these factories get orders, they manufacture and ship garments.

Small garment factories think of saving money on overheads costs by keeping a smaller number of employees in staff. So possibly they avoid building an IE team for their production.

Well-organized and big garment companies set up industrial engineering departments to reduce factory overhead costs per garment.

Organized and big garment manufacturers know it very well that reduction of factory overhead costs can be done by improving systems and controlling the internal processes. Though reducing the overhead cost per garment is the not main reason for employing industrial engineers. There are many other reasons for employing industrial engineers and setting up an IE department.

There are a group of companies that employ industrial engineers to get the basic thing done. That includes
  1. Making operation breakdown
  2. Calculating the average estimated time for making a garment for the given style
  3. Preparing production report and efficiency report
  4. Calculating thread consumption
  5. Helping production team in production line set up

Many garment factory owners do not yet aware of how they can get benefitted from the IE department by utilizing them in full and having a full team of IE. (I am not saying to set up an IE department with a lot of IE staff, it depends on the factory’s policy and the need of the IE).

Why Garment Factories Should Have an IE Department? 

Let me share few reasons why we need IE in a garment factory. Factories that do not have an IE department, can read this list.
  1. Setting up a better production system 
  2. Standardize the production processes and setting up SOPs
  3. An IE can help in reducing the production cost per garment
  4. IEs can identify the problems that cause the higher production cost and causes of low floor efficiency
  5. They can do better planning for manpower and machine requirement
  6. Measuring work and calculating production capacity of the production floor
  7. Product analysis and calculating machine and manpower requirement
  8. Increasing daily production by implementing industrial engineering concepts like – preparing line layout in advance, faster line set-up, line balancing, reducing non-productive time, improving working methods for sewing operations, identifying useful guides and attachments.
  9. Calculate daily line productivity and line efficiency
  10. IE department works on finding where is going wrong in the factory
  11. They make production data more visible. They manage production data and display it on the floor
  12. They chase production and help the line supervisors meeting the daily production target and meeting the production deadline
  13. They help in production data capturing and measure factory KPIs
  14. Calculate garment cost (CM) based on garment SAM and hourly factor rate.
  15. IE team works on motivating shop floor worker
  16. IE team develop workers' skill matrix and utilize the same for better manpower allocation in new line setting
  17. They help in recruiting sewing operators and training new operators.
  18. Control shop floor production

Read more on the application of the industrial engineering department

Checklist for measuring IE department's performance  

You might already have an IE department. If yes, follow this checklist to make sure your IE team is utilized in full.
  1. You have defined job responsibilities for all IE team members
  2. All IEs are following the job responsibilities
  3. They measure KPIs and do analysis of the KPIs on a daily and monthly basis
  4. Track process improvement and progress of each of their projects
  5. You have the correct number of IE staff for managing the factory
  6. Check if your production floor is organized 
  7. Check if your factory's on-time production completion rate
  8. Verify the projected cost of manufacturing and the actual cost of garment manufacturing - how much gap is there?
  9. Check IEs' performance

To know what you can do with the IE department – read my latest book ‘Industrial Engineer’s Digest: Learn, Practice and Improve Factory Performance’.

In this book, I have discussed basic knowledge industrial engineers should have. I have shared the job responsibilities of the IE team based on industry practices. I have explained how the internal processes (sewing floor) of a garment factory can be improved through industrial engineering concepts and tools. Aiming to improve the floor performance. In this book, I have shown how one can set up the industrial engineering department from scratch. How-to guides for common tasks and questions faced by the IE team are discussed.

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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