Assembly Line Vs.

Modular System
“A comparison on reality grounds”

Introduction- A lot has been written and discussed about various
manufacturing systems in apparel industry. Different experts have different opinions on advantages and disadvantages of one system on another. But most of the times we miss to cover all aspects altogether and thus unable to realize or visualize the actual picture, which takes shape after a break through change in the manufacturing set-up. Most of the times these big decisions are taken without a proper analysis and it results in big disasters.

This article is an effort to have a comparison of Assemble Line to Modular Line on reality grounds, which will help us in opting the suitable manufacturing system for the plant.

Money matters more and it plays much more important role when you are dealing in apparel sector, as competition is growing faster resulting in everyday shrinking margins.

For any business below factors play vital roles1. Man 2. Machinery 3. Space The ultimate objective is to have the best utilization of above all, so that the profits can be maximized.

Manoj TiwariUser


Modular System “A comparison on reality grounds” A good amount of literature. which helps in quick response to style change with achieving quality standards.0 min. Apart from above. So first let’s have a crux of thatModular manufacturing is a type of Flexible manufacturing systems. Assumed SAM-14.) Rs. experts’ comments and consultants’ views advocating the benefits of Modular manufacturing are available. which provides Faster and efficient through put and better balancing of work by keeping lower WIP and needing less space.000 Cost/Month (Indian Rs. (For comparison and calculations the product taken is 5.) for Modular System 120.* 3000 35.Assembly Line Vs. it increases team spirit which helps organization in improving work environment. /Garment) Type of Salary/ Requirement Assembly Manpower Month for required (Indian Line (Nos. Now let’s try to have a detailed comparison of Assembly line system to the Modular on ground realities. The Modular system enhances multi skill development of operators.Pocket Denim Jean.) for Assembly Line 240.) 20 Cost/Month (Indian Rs.)* Sewing Operator Iron man Quality Checker 3000 5000 1 7 1 -.000 Manoj TiwariUser 2 .000 3000 -6000 40 Requirement for Modular System (Nos.

0 Minutes. Quality Check and Trimming activities.* -. total available minutes/ shift will be 480.Assembly Line Vs. *. SAM given is 14.500 6000 20. shift/Day.As per the modular manufacturing philosophy. manpower required for Assembly line will be= 50 Expected Out put per shift @ 65% efficiency= (50X480)*0. as per the above table. Modular System “A comparison on reality grounds” Helper Trimmer Supervisor 2500 3000 10000 11 2 2 -. which includes. helpers And Trimmers.Salary figures are tentative. hence all these activities have to be done by the Sewing operator itself. Production calculation for Assembly Line So.65/14.0 Min.68 Units/Person/Shift Production calculation for Modular System – Expected Out put per shift @ 65% efficiency= (21X480)*0.times for Ironing. Considering 8 Hrs.000 --10.* 1 27.000 133.65/14.000 *.0 = 1114 Units/ Shift Total Labor Productivity (Assembly Line) = 1114/63 = 17.0 Manoj TiwariUser 3 .there should be NO checkers.000 Total 63 22 331.

4309 / Garment Prima-facie opting Modular System over Assembly Lines seems a good deal.4729 /Garment Gain / Garment by using Modular system over Assembly Line- INR. 9.Assembly Line Vs.lies.9039 / Garment Expenditure on wages/ Day (assuming Avg. 9. damn Lies and STATISTICS” The same may happen here also. 11033 /Day Cost / Garment for Assembly Line = 11033 / 1114 = INR.000/ 30 = INR. 0.“There are three types of lies. Modular System “A comparison on reality grounds” = 468 Units/ Shift Total Labor Productivity (Modular System) = 468/22 = 21. 30 days in one month) for Assembly Line . Manoj TiwariUser 4 .331. but I suggest you to don’t go with this asMark Twain said. 4433 /Day Cost / Garment for Modular System = 4433 / 468 = INR. which may directly or indirectly affect this statistical figure. as we have not covered some crucial factors. 30 days in one month) for Modular System – 133.27 Units/Person/Shift Expenditure on wages/ Day (assuming Avg.000 / 30 = INR.

by which you can successfully run an assembly line. and it shows somewhere we are not properly utilizing the available costly resources. in this case clubbing of machines is not possible due to frequent change in machine settings and we have to go for separate machines for each module. Space Utilization 5. we use 25 machines over 20 Sewing operators.In a modular system machine to man ratio is always kept more than 1. so that the multiskilling can be utilized efficiently. Idle Machine cost 2. Machine usage Vs.Assembly Line Vs. Manoj TiwariUser 5 . by working with 8 Modules for a 5-Pocket jean . if we calculate straight. Consistency in quality of the sewn product 3. Operator’s mentality Let’s discuss all above points one by one- 1. Modular System “A comparison on reality grounds” These factors are1. The another important point. Idle Machine cost. Keeping the sewing machine Idle is definitely a cost. Machine usage Vs.One style having asymmetric Back). Consistency in Production/Day 4. Generally for a 5-pocket jean modular set-up. It means there are always some machines idle at any given point of time. hence 20% of the total machines are always kept idle. incase there are small orders of different styles (For example. we are using (unknowingly) 40 extra machines.

there is provisions for audits only. who is trained for 3 operations in absent. unmatched notches. till the time you come to know about poor quality of the product. the production and productivity of that day for that module is in serious danger. 2. there is NO quality check as each operator is responsible for checking and rectification in the product if required). Manoj TiwariUser 6 . Consistency in the Sewn Product quality level. wrong sewing margins. once out put is done. which results in cost of poor quality. Producing and making things wrong are bigger losses than less/no producing. 3. Unfortunately if he is a crucial operator expert in Inseams or waist band attach. Modular System “A comparison on reality grounds” Assigning/allocating 2 different separate machines for individual modules is a costly affair and at the same time machines are not fully utilized referring to their capacity. As there is only final audit in modular system. material and money has already been done. a big loss of time.Lets assume on a fine day 1 modular operator. In this scenario when there is production pressure. the quality of sewn product has to be ensured by the modular team itself. Consistency in daily production. operator misses to check the quality (uncut threads.Assembly Line Vs.Believing in the Modular manufacturing concept for garments. and wrong parts attachment is very common problems).

this scenario of key operator’s absent is very normal. you have to deal with one and only one operator.In general practice for a 5. either use a multiskilled operator from somewhere else or use three different operators for these operations. both the solutions are going to add extra cost to the process with no guarantee of achieving required quality level. Manoj TiwariUser 7 . 4. we have to provide space for sewing preparatory for individual module and space for the non productive or idle machines in the module.Pocket jean. production of 250-300 Pcs . 500-600 Units/Day out put. Apart from it. which is equivalent to a space of a line. At the same time if this operator absence scene happens in assembly line. the space consumed by 2 modules is equal to 1 Assembly line. Space Utilization. whereas from a line you can get easily 1100 Units/Day.Assembly Line Vs. Modular System “A comparison on reality grounds” In a country like India./Day ( against 468 Units/Day as calculated above @ 65% efficiency) and in the same conditions a line starts producing out put Avg. 1100 Units/Day(As calculated above) from 8th or 9th day of the line starts. It means from a space of 2 modules. till that time you have to compromise with daily avg. who does only one operation and finding out a replacement for it. It has been observed that on an average a module takes 2 years to get matured. Here as a replacement you are left with two options. health issues and climatic calamities are very often. will not be a big deal for you. we will get approximately avg. where festive seasons.

This is a well known fact that operator’s training and making them multi. In both the cases. and the above results show better to have an assembly line over modules. Multiskilling will put extra burden on him without giving no significant monitory benefits. Space is definitely a big cost. he may think below two pointsA. but as soon as he learns all this. it shows somewhere we are loosing space and not unable to get a logical out put from the given space. But most of the times we skip this point taking as a secondary priority. we need infect 4 modules (Equal to the space of 2 lines).Assembly Line Vs. resources in terms of money and manpower as well as managements patience also. Why he should learn different operations or different works when salary is going to be more or less same. Modular System “A comparison on reality grounds” Hence its clear that. B. the MANAGEMENT who invested so much time and everything in the operator training and multi-skilling is the LOOSER. 5.skilled takes a good amount of time. OK. to get equivalent out put to an assembly line. he will learn more than one or two operations and will become a multi skilled operator. Manoj TiwariUser 8 . Operator’s mentality.This is one of the most crucial factor which decides the future performance of any manufacturing system. he will leave this job and join another company who can pay him better. Now lets think about this concept of multi-skilling from operator’s mind set.

otherwise blind follow-up of modules may come up with bigger disasters. No doubt. Modular System “A comparison on reality grounds” These scenes don’t occur to such a scale while we are working with assembly line.From above discussed points. but the requirement is to run modules with discipline and religiously. Manoj TiwariUser 9 . Conclusion.Assembly Line Vs. Modular philosophy has its own advantages and benefits. There must be no compromise with fundamentals. Their success stories reveal the uniqueness and excellence right from automobile sector to apparels. it’s clear that such a strategic decision like converting a set-up from Assembly line to modular or vis-versa may decide the future of the plant and a good deep thought or brain storming considering all the aspects should be done before decision making. there is nothing left all across the globe for modular systems to prove further.