Application of Industrial Engineering (IE) Techniques in Garment Industry

Industrial Engineering:
The garment manufacturing industry faces many global challenges due to various factors including competition, increased production costs, less productivity/efficiency and labor attribution. So, there is a need to focus and concentrate on identifying the real issues, taking corrective actions suited to the specific industrial centre of the unit, empowering the technical and managerial staff by enhancing their knowledge and ability, analysing orders efficiently and deciding whether actions are viable for the company.

The world economy has changed in significant ways during the past several decades, especially in the areas of international trade and industrial organization. Two of the most important new features of the contemporary economy are the globalization of production and trade. Therefore today’s technological systems are characterized by orientation to productivity; this can be achieved through the apparel engineering. This paper introduces the various concepts and methods that have been used in Industrial Engineering as a part of Apparel Engineering in Garment industries. Generally, Industrial Engineering is defined an approach applied to all factors, including human factor involved in the production & distribution of production and services.
Industrial engineering in apparel industry
Fig: Industrial engineering in apparel industry
Now we can define Industrial Engineering (IE) as,
Industrial engineering is concerned with the design, improvement and installation of integrated system of man, machine and equipment drawing upon specialized knowledge and skill in the technical, economics and human sciences, either with the principles or methods of engineering analysis and design to specify, predict and evaluate the results to be obtained from such system.

Nature of the Work in IE: 
Industrial engineers determine the most effective ways for an organization to use the basic factors of production - people, machines, materials, information, and energy - to make or process a product or produce a service. They are the bridge between management goals and operational performance. They are more concerned with increasing productivity through the management of people, methods of business organization, and technology than are engineers in other specialties, who generally work more with products or processes.

To solve organizational, production, and related problems most efficiently, industrial engineers
  1. Study the product and its requirements
  2. Use mathematical methods to meet product requirements
  3. Design manufacturing and information systems
  4. Develop management control systems for financial planning and cost analysis
  5. Design production planning and control systems to coordinate activities and control product quality
  6. Design or improve systems for the physical distribution of goods and services
  7. Determine which plant location has the best combination of raw materials availability, transportation, and costs
  8. Develop wage and salary administration systems and job evaluation programs 
Responsibilities of IE:
Though the time study and motion study are the most common function of Industrial engineer, the some other responsibilities are
  1. Planning layouts
  2. Monitoring Production flow system
  3. Deicide the machines and attachments for all style
  4. Pay system
  5. Monitoring and improve the operator performance
  6. Operator training
  7. Production control system
  8. Quality control
  9. Others
Basics Techniques of Industrial Engineering:
There are some basic terms, which are important to know before learning IE. A short description of these terms are highlighted below:

Capacity Study:
It is exactly the measure of the operator same as capability. It means the operator is capable of achieving the performance measured by the study. The major Need for capacity study is to set Quotas, to motivate operator, and to measure the productions section capacity. By measuring the individual operator capacities, supervisor can determine the overall capacity of their section. It is simply the some of individual capacity.

  1. Use of stop watch
  2. Measure the time study
  3. Average the time cycle
This average cycle time measures the operator ability to do the particular job. It’s the measure of the skill of particular operator. Because the Industrial Engineers want to measure the skills and ability of the operator in their average cycle time.
Benefits of Capacity Study:
  1. Check targets
  2. Motivate operators
  3. Measure section production capability
Method Study:
Method study is the systematic recording and critical examination of existing and proposed ways of doing work, as a means of developing and applying easier and more effective methods and reducing costs.

The procedures which need to do follow while doing method study are given as follows. There are seven steps to be followed by industrial engineers to do method study they are,
  1. Select the work to be studied
  2. Define the objective
  3. Record the relevant information and data
  4. Examine information and data
  5. Develop the improved method
  6. Install improved method
  7. Maintain the improved method
  8. Work measurement
Time Study:
Work measurement is carried out by time study. Time study is a work measurement technique for recording the times and rates of working for elements of a specified job carried out under specified conditions and for analyzing the data so as to obtain the time necessary for carrying out the job at a level of performance. The concept of Rating is fundamental of time study. Rating is the process used by industrial engineer to compare the actual performance of the operator with operator mental concept of normal performance. The rating is the numerical values used to denote the ratio of working. In order to rate the operator ether must be a defined level of performance to compare with, an average level. For this the industrial engineers apply the concept of a “Standard operator”. A standard operator is a fully trained and motivated to perform a defined task and is, by definition average in terms of his /her work place.

The steps to do the time study is as follows,
  1. Observe the job and analyse to determine the element
  2. Rate each element to compare with the accepted standard
  3. Use the stopwatch to time each element
  4. Average the selected element times
  5. Multiply average element time by rating
  6. Add the basic time for all the element
  7. Add allowances
Here the elements are the small components into which an operation is divided for study purpose. They are selected for the convenience of the observation, measurement and analysis. These elements should be clear and fully describable during the data presentation and analysis that.
Operator Performance:
Basically the operator performance can be monitored with the help of three efficiency factors. 
  1. Single cycle efficiency 
  2. On-standard efficiency 
  3. Global efficiency
Single cycle efficiency = [Target single cycle time in minutes (SC@100%)] / [Average observed single cycle time in minutes (SC average)]

Here we are considering the cycle time only.

On-standard efficiency = [Operator production × SAM per piece for the operation] / [Working time in minutes − Off-standard time in minutes]

Here the unproductive time is not considered.

Off-standard Time:
The time spent by an operator at his work under a condition that is not considered as productive. Types of off-standard
  1. Machine break down (m/c failure, thread cuts, needle breakage, etc.) 
  2. Waiting time (No WIP , Waiting for the bundle) 
  3. Quality problems 
  4.  No feeding 
  5. Un familiar job (Working other than her regular operation) 
  6. Training
Global efficiency = [Operator production × SAM per piece for the operation] / [Working time in minutes]

Here, the total working time is considered (even unproductive time is also considered).

This requires that someone checks on and stays with something until desired results are achieved. Any project being implemented successfully may fail if the follow-up is not consistent. Here we are going to concentrate on operator performance follow up.

Benefits of Operator Follow-ups:
  1. Improve performance (motivate) 
  2. Prove job quotas 
  3. Spot troubles
Types of follow-ups 
  1. Bundle by bundle follow-up 
  2. Bundle diagnosis
Bundle by Bundle Follow-up:
This follow-up is done when the operator’s on-standard efficiency is much less than his single cycle efficiency in that operation.

Single cycle (SC) efficiency is arrived considering the cycle time taken by the operator to complete each piece. Whereas the on-standard efficiency is arrived considering the pieces produced during the productive time spent in that operation for a definite period of working time.

 So, if the on-standard efficiency is much less than her single cycle efficiency, it means the operator is unable to maintain the pace in all the pieces when she is working for a long time. During this condition, the bundle by bundle follow-up will help in finding/solving the problems that occur between each bundle.

Bundle Diagnosis:
This is done when the operator’s single cycle efficiency of the operation is less.

Process of Bundle Diagnosis:
  1.  To do a bundle diagnosis, a stop watch and the format is required. 
  2. Write down the descriptive data required (IE, operator, operation, instructor, etc.). 
  3. Determine the SAMs for the number of units in the bundle. 
  4. Measure the time for each activity of the operator and write it in the appropriate category in the format. 
  5. After finishing the bundle, calculate the bundle efficiency, the single cycle efficiency and compare against the SAMs. 
Key Points for Bundle Diagnosis:
  1. Do not interfere in the operator’s work 
  2. Be alert and prevent any interruptions 
  3. Write down everything 
  4. Analyze the information and obtain your conclusions 
It is equally important that the conclusions obtained turn into specific actions that can be taken to improve the operator’s performance. Perform bundle diagnosis and give your comments clearly.

Work in Process (WIP):
The semi-finished or finished goods which transported from one work station to next work station are called work in progress. 
  1. WIP is made up of all garments and their parts that are not completely finished. 
  2. It can be measured in units (pieces) or time (minutes). 
For example – if an operator a takes 0.8 minute per piece to stitch and if she has 3 bundles of 10 pieces each to be processed, then the WIP in that workstation is 30 pieces or 24 minutes.

Need to Control WIP:
Two major cost areas can be reduced if WIP is controlled.

1. Investment in inventory Inventory is the money invested in raw materials. If the inventory is not moved through the plant quickly then it affects cash flow directly.

2. Ability to reduce the production cycle
  • By having low inventory between operations, garments usually have less waiting time and go through the production cycle in less time. Large inventory levels between the operations keep the goods waiting longer to be processed. This increases the overall through put time.
  • Low through put time permits better co-ordination between sales and production.
  • Low cycle times give manufacturers the ability to handle multiple styles.
  • Clients/buyers are looking for the factories that can meet production schedules, that can handle multiple styles, and that can handle low inventories which will reduce their investment.
  • The factories that work with low WIP only will be able to sustain in the present market.
How to Manage WIP?
The WIP can be managed by following the activities given below strictly.

1. Production planning
  • This requires planning from marketing and sales to determine the type, period and quantity of products to be produced in the factory.
  • Efficient pre-production team (sampling, R&D and merchandising) should play a key role in order selection and preparatory activities before starting the style.
2. Trims control
  • Trims are buttons, zippers, labels, thread, elastics, and so on.
  • All the trims should be in house before commencing the bulk production.
  • An updated trims inventory report should be kept. The unavailability of even a small label could stop the production.
3. Production build-up
  • Loading should be done based on the date-wise production build up plan, prepared by considering the capacity of the sewing line. If the loading greatly exceeds the quantity that the line is able to process, it will end up in huge WIP, thus affecting the complete flow.
4. Balancing
  • Even if the line is loaded based on the capacity, there is a chance of increased WIP in the line due to unbalanced production.
  • This may happen due to absenteeism, labor turnover, change in style, bad cutting, etc.
  • Based on the inventory level data in each work station, the line can be balanced using utility operators, through required operator transfers and over time.
5. Cut flow control
  • To control WIP, the cycle times are to be kept low by following FIFO procedure for every cut.
  • This can be ensured by utilizing cut tracking sheet and bundle tracking sheet. 
Why Industrial Engineering is Need in Apparel Industry?
Industrial way of garment production needs a thorough preparation of production because in the same time, it is necessary to combine a few factors: people, time, machines and place of production, organization and material in a coordinated and rational system. Technological system of garment production must enable expected quality of product, necessary scope of production, delivery of ready-made garments in the expected time, maximum use of capacity with minimum expenses. An Industrial Engineer can perform several activities to fulfill their task, Processes and Procedures of manufacturing or service activities can be examined through Process Analysis. Industrial engineers can use Work Study comprehending Method Study and Time Study. The mentioned activities are also called operations Management. Furthermore can Industrial Engineering involve inventory management to make a manufacturing process more feasible and efficient . Industrial Engineers used to increase efficiencies and cost-effectiveness of operations by the products strategies like High-volume production, long-runs and minimal variations.

This concept of Industrial Engineering is a key to apparel industry to improve their work nature and the methods. The apparel industry is identified as a buyer-driven or customer driven industry, so the apparel production has become more intensified by global competition. To survive in this competitive world the industry should work more efficient. The concepts which are outlined here are the most important factors to improve the productivity and efficiency of the industry. The application of industrial engineering method like method engineering, work study, capacity study, line plan and other operations management systems are ultimately leads the industry to timely delivery of goods, high profit and develop the working environment as a happy place.

  1. Industrial engineering in apparel production by V Ramesh Babu
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  2. An Overview of Work Study in Textile Industry
  3. Concept of New Product Development
  4. Factors Influencing Productivity in Textile Industry
  5. Line Balancing in Apparel Production
  6. Primary/Basic Elements of Lean Manufacturing Process
  7. Product Life Cycle | Stages and Limitations of Product Life Cycle (PLC)
  8. Risks of Higher Productivity in Garment Industry
  9. Roles of Industrial Engineer in Apparel Industry
  10. Some Essential Formula and Example for Industrial Engineer (IE)
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  12. Techniques of Work Measurement and Their Applications
  13. The Strategies View of Industrial Engineering and Its Discussion
  14. Tools and Techniques of Industrial Engineering Used in Apparel Industry
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  16. Working Flow Chart of Method Study
  17. Duties and Responsibilities of the Apparel Industrial Engineer  
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Mazharul Islam Kiron is a textile consultant and researcher on online business promotion. He is working with one European textile machinery company as a country agent. He is also a contributor of Wikipedia.

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