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Improving productivity

Jul 01, 2019
Improving productivity

Garment Industries face many global challenges due to various factors including competition, higher production costs, less productivity and labour attrition. A research work by J Anandha Kumar, Dr M Senthil Kumar and Sarkar Samakulam suggests steps to improve productivity in the garment industry by implementing the 3M concept.

Higher productivity brings higher margin in a business. And increment in productivity level reduces garment manufacturing cost. Hence factory can make more profit through productivity improvement. In this article, the ways of productivity improvement are discussed that will certainly help factories to boost up current labour productivity. All the means that had been explained here can be implemented as because most of these are within your reach. Machine productivity as well as labour productivity increases when a factory produces more pieces by the existing resources like manpower, time and machinery. When we look into the processes and operations during factory visit, we find improvement potential is there in every area. Initially, you may not be able to find and measure potential areas but you can improve productivity. Most of the tips mentioned in this article are mainly on time-saving tips, discipline and proper planning. To get an excellent result you may need external recommendation and support, but without the external help, you can surely get measurable improvement by implementing the 3M concept.

Methods & approach

  • To implement 3M concept in the garment industry and productivity improvement,
  • to suggest modified work practice to attain higher productivity,
  • to assess the change in output in a specified time, and
  • to identify areas in a garment industry that requires attention for improvement.

The organisation studied manufacturers, exporters and suppliers of a wide range of high fashion knitted and woven garments for men, women and kids. They are a professionally-managed company that rests its back on efficient work force and manufacturing facilities. Backing on these, they have been able to cater to the needs of numerous clients. They have acquired an enviable position in the market and have grown rapidly in a matter of a few years. They have established a rapport with all their clients and understand their needs closely. They have successfully managed to register its presence among the eminent manufacturers, exporters and suppliers of a wide range of high fashion knitted and woven garments for men, women and kids. They take pride in our sophisticated manufacturing facilities that have enabled us in meeting the bulk requirements of our clients. They have a highly productive manufacturing plant that is spread in an area of 60,000 sq feet. Outfitted with the latest and advanced machines and instruments that reduce work load and turnaround time.

Present practice of organisation

  • Lot inspection: The percentage of garments checked are only 20 per cent, which should be avoided.
  • Cutting section: In this section, the labours will take the approved lot for cutting. Then the lot is arranged as in the form of lay. By using straight band cutting machine, they will cut the fabric. In this, factory the labours were not following any safety measures. So if it injures, it will damage the lot and effect the production.
  • Sewing section: The factory has an improper machine layout. The labourers are working on a contract basis.
  • After stitching a bundle of cloth, they will arrange the bundle in the rack. Non-skilled labours were working. There is no ventilation in that building.
  • Checking section: The labours were talking and working, and don’t have proper team leader with poor light system.
  • Ironing packing & dispatch section: The labours are working on a contract basis. So they are working according to the piece rate.The labours are stretching the garment a lot, which causes quality issues. Proper supervision is lacking.

Implementation of 3M

Lot inspection

  • Latest machines should be used for the lot inspection
  • Skilled labour to be used for the lot inspection
  • After inspection, the lot to be get sealed and signed with the authorised person
  • About 80 per cent of fabric to be checked
  • Check and categorise the fabrics as repairable and non-repairable
  • Repairable can be sent to the cutting section whereas non-repairable can be rejected

Cutting section

  • The cutting master should wear suitable protective materials
  • The roll for cutting should be kept in a clean place
  • The model of the pattern style along with the fabric should be hanged
  • Before cutting the lot they should get the signature from the authorised person
  • Proper shrinkage allowance should be given
  • Skilled person should guide the labour
  • The labours should wear the shoes while working
  • The labours should wear the face mask

Sewing section

  • Proper machine layout according to the garment style
  • Display the style in which they were stitching
  • Proper leader should be appointed to maintain the staff
  • Only skilled labours should be appointed
  • Quality sewing threads should be used
  • An extra bobbin should be kept near to the tailor
  • The needle should be changed after every 500-800 pieces
  • Floor trolley should be used with a labour to collect the stitched pieces
  • Labours should always wear a mask while stitching
  • The industrial engineering team should set the machinery for every style of the stitches

Checking section

  • Should improve the speed of reversing the fabric
  • Skilled labours can be used
  • Proper team leader should be there
  • Should arrange the checked pieces according to size wise

Ironing section

  • Skilled labours are to be appointed
  • The measurement chart to be fixed on the table
  • The style to be hanged on the side of ironing table
  • The mistakes noted should be marked
  • The labours should wear the face mask

Results & discussions

  • To cut a fabric in t-shirt pattern by three operators the total time = 5 mins, 79 sec Working hours =10 hours
  • Lunch and rest time allowance = 1.30 hours
  • According to our point view the time wasted by labours = 45 mins
  • To cut a garment they takes =1.93 mins So when it is divided by 465 mins, it gives 240 piece for one labour

After 3M implementation

By regaining the wasted time by 45 min, we get:

  • 45/1.93min =23 pieces
  • By reducing the break into 15 min we get
  • 15/1.93min = 7 pieces
  • So 23+7=30
  • When it is added with 240 +30=270 for a labour
  • The factory we visited has nearly 17 labours
  • 7*270=1890 Pieces
  • 7*240=1680 pieces 1890-1680=210 pieces
  • To stitch a fabric in t-shirt pattern it takes total
  • time =13 mins and 28 secs
  • The working hours =10 hours
  • The lunch and rest time = 1.30 hours
  • According to our point view, the time wasted by
  • labours = 1.55 mins
  • Lets calculate, 600-90-115=395 mins

After 3M implementation

  • To stitch a garment they takes = 4.26 mins
  • So when it divide by 395 mins, it gives 92 piece/ labour
  • By regaining the wasted time 115 mins, we get 115/4.26
  • mins =27p
  • By reducing the break into 1 hour and 15 mins, we get
  • 15min 15/4.26min =3p
  • So 27+3=30
  • When it add with 92 +30 = 122 for a labour
  • The factory we visited had nearly 17 labours
  • So 17 x 92=1564 piece
  • 17 x 122=2074 piece
  • Total Production Improvement =2074 - 1564 = 510 piece
  • To check a fabric in t-shirt pattern, it takes
  • total time =23.5 secs
  • The working hours =10 hr
  • The lunch and rest time = 1.30 hours
  • According to our point view the time wasted
  • by labour = 55 mins
  • 10 hrs = 600min 1.30hr = 90 mins
  • 55 mins, 600-90-55 =455 mins
  • To stitch a garment they takes =23.5 secs
  • So when it divide by 455 mins, it gives 1,213 piece
  • By regaining the wasted time 55 min we get
  • 55 mins/23.5 =140p
  • By reducing the break into 15 mins, we get
  • 15/23.5=38p
  • So, 140 +38=178
  • When it add with1213 + 178 =1319 for a labour
  • The factory we visited has nearly 6 labours
  • 6 x 1213 = 7218p
  • 6 x 1319 = 7914p | 7218-7912 = 634


The outcome of this research work is that lack of productivity in garment industries is due to varied reasons and bad work practice. By implementing 3 M concept in garment industries, the productivity of the organisation is increased. The work practice and modification in layout paves way for improvement in productivity. The factors like good team leader, time management, individual attention of staff on their work, good layout, pre-planning process, motivation, proper attitude towards work, machines maintenance and material handling. This research work indicates the departments like cutting, sewing, checking are given more attention to improve the productivity.


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  • J Anandha Kumar is a a Lecturer with the Department of Textile Processing, G.R.G. Polytechnic College, Kuppepalayam, Sarkar Samakulam, Coimbatore.
  • Dr M Senthil Kumar is an Associate Professor with the Department of Textile Technology, PSG College of Technology, Peelamedu, Coimbatore.