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Application of Lean Thinking in Apparel Industry

By 25th September 2019 January 7th, 2020 No Comments
lean thinking

The Lean Manufacturing concept in the Apparel Industry can diminish the operational expense in manufacturing by wiping out the process waste, engaging individuals with more prominent communication, expanding the higher efficiency in the execution procedure and transforming the company into a learning organization.

Lean Manufacturing is a precise methodology for accomplishing the shortest possible cycle time by eliminating the process waste through continuous improvement. In this way making the activity productive and just comprising of value adding steps from beginning to end. In simple words lean is manufacturing without waste.

Key requirements for success of Apparel operations

  • Consistent quality with minimum rework and improved First Time Right (Through)
  • Efficient operations at Sewing and Finishing
  • Handling complex cutting requirements in terms of handling low volume and high mix versions.
  • Effective planning for On-time in Full Deliveries
  • Managing operations with regular working hours (no overtime for any section).
  • Skill development for people
  • Attracting and retention of right employees.
  • Factory is meeting safety standards and ever ready for any buyer visit or compliance audits.
  • Reduced Turn-around time for cash-to cash cycle through reduced Manufacturing Lead time.
  • Optimum cost of manufacturing for the value of products.
  • Common scenario observed and challenges faced in a typical garment industry.
  • High resistance for change from old methods to new methods across the functions.
  • High attrition of employees due to low morale in the past.
  • Low skill levels
  • Non-flexibility of people to work in different operations (unable to come out of comfort zone)
  • Un-predictable attendance and lack of punctuality.
  • No ownership for quality.
  • Less team work among employees.
  • Work gets done only with heavy shouting.
  • Heavy pressure for shipments.
  • Things will not move without overtime.
  • Short shipments due to rejection, stains, non-traceability of good garments due to mix up etc.
  • High operating costs due to many of the above reasons.
  • Most of the staff perform one to two levels below.

What is Lean Thinking ?

  • Lean Thinking is a concept in a nutshell focuses on creating value to the customer and eliminating non-value adding activities.
  • It gives value to both customers and garment industry. Value from the customer perspective is that any activity that changes of size, shape, properties or special features which customer is willing to pay for.
  • From Lean perspective, value addition on a garment in apparel industry is less than 1%  i.e. on time lapsed from RM receipt to dispatch.

Some of the benefits which we have helped companies achieve in Apparel Operations are given in the table below:

1Overall improvement in product qualityCustomer delight, more business
2Reduced Manufacturing Lead timeFaster delivery, reduction in air-shipments, Overtime cost.
3Increase in First-time- RightReduction of re-work cost and rejection.
4Increased efficiencyReduction in overall cost of manpower
5Flexible work force with multiskillingPredictable output with good quality.
6Reduction of change-oversReadiness for low volume, high mix, high profitable business
7Stable operationsReduction in overtime costs.
8System drivenConsistency in performance over time
9Transparency, fair practicesImprovement in employee morale.
10Reduced attritionReduced cost of re-training
11Reduced absenteeism and late comingPredictable delivery and quality.
12Increased  Cut-to-Ship ratioBetter profitability

Seven Steps Business transformation helps in deployment of continuous improvement culture in organizations through their flagship training programmes conducted through Seven Steps Academy of Excellence.

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