Industrial Engineering in Apparel Quality Control System













Industrial Engineering in Apparel Quality Control System

Author: Saiful Sabuz
Department of Textile Engineering
Ahsanullah University of Science & Technology (AUST)
Email: saifulsabuz.tex23@gmail.com
Cell: +88016-77057646
Facebook: Saiful Islam




Introduction:
For every industry or business, to get increased sales and better name amongst consumers and competitors, it is important to maintain a level of quality. Especially for the businesses engaged in export business have to sustain a high level of quality to ensure better business globally. In the garment industry, quality control is practiced right from the initial stage of sourcing raw materials to the stage of final finished garment. For textile and apparel industry product, quality is calculated in terms of quality and standard of fibers, yarns, fabric construction, color fastness, surface designs and the final finished garment products.

What is Quality:
Quality in textile trades might perhaps be defined as the degree of conformity to a specification, the specification itself having been drawn up with the object of providing an article which has suitability for an end use. Generally, quality is a standard of a material acceptable to the buyer and the customer.

Some main quality aspects for export basis:
Below are some of the main quality aspects that are taken into consideration for garment manufacturing for export basis:
  1. Overall look of the garment
  2. Right formation of the garment
  3. Feel and fall of the garment
  4. Physical properties
  5. Color fastness of the garment
Quality is a multi-dimensional aspect:
There are many aspects of quality based on which the garment exporters are supposed to work.
  1. Quality of production
  2. Quality of design of the garment
  3. Purchasing functions – quality should be maintained
  4. Quality of final inspection should be superior
  5. Quality of the sales also has to be maintained
  6. Quality of marketing of the final product is also important as the
  7. Quality of the garment itself
To ensure quality:
To insure quality some factors are considered:
  • Recognize who the customer is
  • Build processes that anticipate and prevent defects
  • Make a plan to achieve the desired quality level
  • Set up ways to measure progress
  • Work as a team to achieve goal
In this context, customer is the entity receiving a service or product from our work. For example, we can take a short production line.

Receiving Cutting Sewing Inspecting Finishing

Quality problem in cutting may lead to problems in sewing, inspecting and finishing. It’s like “garbage in garbage out”. In other words, one needs to have good quality materials to produce good quality goods. So this has to be applied to every process in the system to have a total quality control.

A good plan requires:
(a) A clearly defined objective
(b) Goals or expected results
(c) The activities needed to achieve the desired results
(d) Defined roles and responsibilities for the activities
(e) Dates for beginning and completion of each activity
(f) An analysis of potential problems

Measurements are a vital part of any quality improvement program. Anything that is not measured does not improve. We need to establish these standard measures and measure the progress periodically.

Team work is also an essential element for the success of the program. Remember “ONE of us is NOT better than an All of US”. The whole effort needs to have a direction that a team leader will provide.

Way of control quality:
  1. Have the proper approach toward operators.
  2. Train the operator to sew with good quality from the beginning.
  3. Know quality specifications and tolerance. Be sure you understand what constitutes good and poor quality. Be consistent in your decisions toward quality.
  4. Comment on both good and bad quality. We all have a tendency to be silent during good times and vocal during the bad.
  5. Be sure to check each operators work daily.
  6. Use a check list. Do not rely on memory of specifications.
  7. Do not rely on inspectors to tell you the quality level of your operators, instead find out yourself.  
  8. Do not have a compromising attitude towards problem related to quality.
Basic quality inspection procedure in cutting area:
  1. Marker is checked for all parts and for any variation against pattern.
  2. Spreading has to be inspected
  3. During cutting:
  4. The marker line had to be followed
  5. All notches should be located correctly with even depth say 1/8 in. (± 1/16). When cutting, care should be taken not to shift the stack of parts to a side or cut with the blade at an angle.
  6. In bundling and shade marking, care should be taken to ensure that the numbering is correct. For the final audit process, the quality inspector will determine how many bundles to check from every size depending on the sample size.
Basic quality control procedure in sewing line:

(a) 100% inline parts checking
The operations which are difficult to re-process after assembling is checked 100% to avoid damages and waste of time.

(b) Inline inspection
During the production of garments the operator’s finished work is audited in an inline inspection. A quality inspector moves from one operator to another at random inspecting a pre-determined number of parts from a finished bundle. This helps to control quality at needle point.

(c) 100% end-line inspection
At the end of a line or section there should be a checker to inspect all the parts before they leave the section. The inspections should be effective in identifying all defects in a garment. The checkers should have their forms filled correctly. A good source of information to determine the quality performance of the section is the point of 100% inspection. The section supervisor should check the quality level at the point of 100% inspection periodically. With this information, the supervisor should address the problems, correct the possible causes and make plans to prevent them.

(d) Pre-final audit
A pre-final audit should be performed on packed items on a daily basis to ensure that the good packed items are meeting the quality standards. Any problem seen can be arrested at the early stage. If pre-final audits are done properly, the final audit of the buyer should also be carried out without any issues.

Quality Training:
The purpose of the training program is to train operators to attain high speed and production together with good quality work. Good quality comes from the consistent use of correct methods

The steps to be taken to achieve good quality are as follows:


1. Initial instruction
Point out the key points of method and quality to the trainee and be sure that she understands them.

2. Trainee practice
When the trainee first practices an exercise, the instructor should watch her methods very closely and correct any incorrect methods immediately. The trainee should not be timed or be permitted to start timing until she is doing the exercise correctly. Even after starting her timing, the instructor should keep a close watch on her methods and quality.

3. Quality checking
Whenever the instructor finds any faulty work, or whenever defects are found by other inspectors or operators, the instructor should:
  • Look at the faulty work or record to determine what mistakes the trainee is making.
  • Tell the trainee not just what she is doing wrong, but what she must do to perform the work correctly.
4. Methods checking
The best way for an instructor to ensure good quality is by watching the trainee while he is working, by inspecting some of his work and by correcting any faults immediately. It is much easier and more effective to correct a fault when it happens, than to try to change the method after he has turned out a quantity of bad work. In order to become skilled at this part of training, the instructor should take every opportunity to stand and watch each trainee at work, in order to detect and stop any defects in method, immediately.

Conclusion:
However, quality expectations are related to the type of customer segments and the retail outlets. Quality is ultimately a question of customer satisfaction. Good quality increases the value of a product or service, establishes brand name, and builds up good reputation for the garment exporter, which in turn results into consumer satisfaction, high sales and foreign exchange earnings for the country.

References: 
  1. Book of “Industrial Engineering in Apparel Production” By- V Ramesh Babu 
  2. http://textilelearner.blogspot.com/2011/08/quality-control-system-in-garments_2589.html

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