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How to save time and cost in cutting room

Dec 01, 2018
How to save time and cost in cutting room

By responding faster to make a product as per customer demand, the company can capitalise less money and more savings, say Rhea Sinha and Padma Priya.

The growing demand of apparels and the fast-changing fashion is creating a challenging atmosphere for the manufacturing units to complete the demand. Generally in an industry more focus is given on profit. Though there are different costs involved in cost reduction internally spent by an industry through finding wastages, avoiding and improving faulty work would end in vast reserves. Non productive activities designate that the customer does not ponder as adding value to his product. One of the ways to decrease wastages can be elimination of non-productive activities that can result in drop in time, cost, and lead time. As it is acknowledged that time is money, if additional time is mandatory in a product or service extra money is involved. By responding faster to make a product as per customer demand, the company can capitalise less money and more savings.

For any industry, cost and time related to production and quality management or wastages reductions have important impact on overall expenditure. Internal cost spent by an industry made by eliminating internal throughput time or redraft or any type of surpluses are important for management to keep the industry economically sound and safe. Emphasising on it steps has been taken to investigate and eliminate wastages, that is, non-productive activities in production process in order to save time and cost and lessen internal process time. The outcome of this observation would reflect that an industry may gain higher productivity and profitability by eliminating non value added activities.

Taiichi Ohno defines waste as: “Anything other than the minimum amount of equipment, materials, parts and working time absolutely essential to production”. Chethan Kumar CS, NVR Naidu, illustrated the importance of using the lean principles to eliminate non value added wastes in garment industry. “a value stream is the sequence of activities an organisation undertakes to deliver on a customer request.” (Martin and Osterling, 2013).Martin and Osterling summarised the benefits of value stream mapping. In the work of Rother and Shook (2003).provided the first way to “see” the value streams that Womack et al. introduced. In the study conducted by Hines and Rich (1997), seven new tools were presented regarding the seven wastes.

Based on the analysis of the existing system at X Exports Pvt Ltd and studies done, the industry plans to improve production rate with less wastages. Generally these wastes are overproduction, correction (rework), transportation, waiting and inventory of the manufacturing product where it ploy to increase the productivity of the industries alongside it tries to reduce the wastages of the manufacturing and lead time to manufacture the products.

  • To identify the wastes and reduce in cutting department
  • To reduce the time of an operation through process improvement
  • To reduce the cost involved in non-value added production activities


    Process study
    This process study includes time study and method study. A through time study of each operation such as has been a complete hand movement of the operator is done with time to find out the non-value added activities through a method study.

    Identify waste: The wastes are identified, which creates hindrance in production with the time through non-value adding (NVA), necessary but non-value adding (NNVA), value adding (VA). Total Time involved in all the activities: 836.48 minutes.

    Identify the problems: The problems should be identified and studied so that solutions can be suggested

    Inventory-related issues

    Waiting in cutting room, high inventory in cutting room, WIP kept in aisle space resulting in higher transportation time, trolleys filled with rolls left for waiting in aisle space and hindrance in trolley movement.

  • Effect: Travelling time is higher and the workplace doesn’t look clean
  • Solution a: Create a product matrix to manage inventory in the cutting room
  • Solution b: Change the layout of cutting room to reduce travelling time

    Shrinkage sticker is put on fabric rolls manually:
  • Effect: Time and manpower wastage
  • Time involved in this operation (44 rolls): 25:40
  • Manpower involvement: 2
  • Solution: This activity can be combined with the process when computerised inspection sticker is put on every fabric rolls.

  • Fabric rolls are stored on the spreading table:
  • Effect: Spreading table is not free for further process.
  • Solution: Everyday requirement of fabric in cutting is approximately 50,000 m but the capacity of cutting store is approximately 30,000 m. So, there is requirement of more shelves for storage. Adding more shelves on the top of available structure will provide more space to keep rolls. Eight more shelves can accommodate 20,000 m of fabric, which is stored on the table and aisle space. Additionally in each shelf, the space should be occupied by the fabric rolls. Each and every shell should be given a name. After the fabric is received in cutting store each roll should be allocated a name and the same will be shown in ERP system. According to the requirement of the fabric for cutting they should be given the shelf.

    Different width of the fabric used in lay
  • Effect: Fabric wastage from each lay being spread is higher.
  • Solution: There should be prior planning before the process starts. Planning for cutting in terms of nap of the fabric, alignment of the fabric, spreading key areas: Fabric handling/fabric specialties, etc. If there is any case of re cutting of block, decide the venue/table and to involve the concerned the person in PPM meeting too, deciding fabric threshold/consumption and re-order dates, ticketing rules to be defined/ taken care of for block ticketing, dependency in terms of different fabrics and cutting plan.

    Fabric rolls are opened before spreading
  • Effect: Time wastage and fabric messed up in the trolley
  • Time involved in this operation: 4:56
  • Solution: The trolley is having clamps which can hold the roll while spreading and opening of the roll will not be the prior requirement.

    Three people involved in spreading and cutting process
  • Effect: Time consuming and more number of manpower involvement
  • Time involved in this operation: 2:10:07
  • Salary of three manpower per month: Rs 37,500 (Rs 12,500 each)
  • Solution: Automatic Spreader – Eastman
  • Alternate Solution: Automation in cutting room is a huge investment which is not possible so soon. So, the alternative of this would be reducing the manpower in this process keeping the same time.
  • Proposed method of working: The rolls will be loaded on the clamps available in the trolley and two people from opposite sides will carry out the spreading process. Before the third person was cutting the fabric from the ends, so that can be done by any of the two workers now.

    The third operator was not fully utilised during the process. For cutting, two people are sufficient as one will cut and the other would tie the bundles and the same person will carry the bundle for the next operation. In this way the third operator will be utilised in other group.

    No prior allocation of table
    Shifting of lay from one table to another

  • Effect: Time wastage as well as repeat of the process
  • Time involved in this process: 9:32
  • Solution: Proposed master cutting board

  • No. of activities: 5
  • Eliminated activities: 3
  • Waiting time: 6.48

  • Trolley carried to cutting room (2.10)
  • Shrinkage sticker is applied according to roll no. and stored (22.41)
  • Time saved: 31.39
  • Manpower saved: 2
  • Per minute cost of the company: Rs 3.26 Cost saved from eliminated activities 31.39 x 3.26 = Rs 102.33 Per month (30 days) salary of one manpower (semi-skilled worker) = Rs 7,980 30 days = 240 working hours at eight hour per day = 14,400 minutes Per minute salary of one manpower = Rs 0.55 Salary saved from eliminated minutes (22.41 minutes) = Rs 12.32 So, salary saved from two manpower = Rs 24.65 Cost saved from the pre-spreading process = Rs 126.98

  • No. of Activities observed: 7
  • Eliminated Activities: 4
  • Fabric unrolled on the trolley 4.56
  • Change cutting table (Brown sheet taken off) 3.58
  • Re-spreading of brown sheet 2.16
  • Re-stick brown sheet and measure 3.58
  • Time saved: 15.08
  • Manpower saved: 1

    Cost saved from eliminated activities 15.08 x 3.26= Rs 49.16 Per month (30 days) salary of one manpower (skilled worker) = Rs 12,500 30 days = 240 working hours at eight hour per day = 14,400 mins Per minute salary of 1 manpower = Rs 0.87 Salary saved from working minutes (2:11.37 minutes) = Rs 114.29 Cost saved from the spreading process = Rs 163.45

  • No. of activities observed: 3
  • Eliminated activities: 3
  • Lay is moved on the same table (1.42)
  • Irregular length is cut according to the marker from all four sides (10.13)
  • Waiting time (35.28)
  • Time saved: 47:23
  • Manpower saved: 1

    Cost saved from eliminated activities 47.23 x 3.26 = Rs 153.96

  • Per month (30 days) salary of one manpower (skilled worker) = Rs 12,500 30 days = 240 working hours at eight hour per day = 14,400 mins Per minute salary of 1 manpower = Rs 0.87 Salary saved from working minutes (21.54 minutes) = Rs 18.74 Cost saved from the Cutting process = Rs 172.70

  • No. of Activities observed: 3

    Re arranged (These activities to be carried out simultaneously with the fabric spreading process and not after the cut blocks are received Fusing paper spreading (1:50.41) Fusing Paper cut according to the requirement (4.48) Fusing machine setting (5.04) Time saved: 2:0.33 Cost saved from pre-fusing process 120.33 x 3.26 = Rs 392.27

    Ticketing of blocks
  • No. of activities observed: 8

    Combined process (Storage of the parts after receiving the bundles from cutting is not done and the process happening after fusing was combined)

  • No of activities observed: 4
  • Simplified process (as the fusing material will be cut prior to the process, fusing could be done immediately and will even reduce WIP)

  • No. of activities observed: 6
  • Eliminated Activity: 1
  • Waiting time (20.59)
  • Cost saved from re-cutting process 20.59 x 3.26 = Rs 67.12

  • Auditing
  • No. of activities observed: 4

  • Conclusion
    This study is an attempt to improve the process flow and reduce the non-value added activity’s time in cutting department. The number of non-value added activities in cutting room is reduced to 8 from 19 after the implementation and travelling distance per lay is reduced to 148 m from 252 m. This study also shows the improvement in the process reduced time and manpower and save cost of the company. The total time saved from one lay in cutting room is 235 minutes and the total manpower saved from one lay in cutting room is four then the total cost saved from one lay in cutting room is Rs 922.52.

  • Hines, P., & Rich, N. (1997). The seven value stream mapping tools. International Journal of Operations & Production Management
  • Martin, K., &Osterling, M. (2013).Value stream mapping: how to visualise work and align leadership for organisational transformation. New York: McGraw-Hill
  • Rother, M., & Shook, J. (2003).Learning to See: Value-Stream Mapping to Create Value and Eliminate Muda: Version 1.3 June 2003. Lean Enterprise Institute
  • Womack, J. P., & Jones, D. T. (1996).Lean thinking: banish waste and create wealth in your corporation. Simon and Schuster.
  • Rhea Sinha is Student, Department of Fashion Technology, National Institute of Fashion Technology, Chennai. She can be contacted at: Email: sinharhea28@gmail.comPadma Priya is Assistant Professor with the Department of Fashion Technology, National Institute of Fashion Technology, Chennai. She can be contacted on: Email: