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Sewing Room Production



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• Process Flow 03
• Process Planning 09
• Factory Capacity Planning 10
• Concept of Industrial Engineering Department 13
• Product Analysis 18
• Balancing 21
• Production Follow Up 25
• Maintenance Guidelines 29
• Cost Control and Incentive Plan 37
• Quality Procedures in Sewing Area 52

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The process flow starts once the order / fabric commitment is received and the product
development department hands over the file to production merchandiser and ends when the
goods reach the buyers. The entire cycle involves all activities directly or indirectly related to
procuring of materials, planning and monitoring of the order. A brief outline of the procedure
is as below:









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o Receipt of an order means final confirmation of the order from the buyer.
o Since, this is the final confirmation it is done by means of a legal document
called a PO (purchase order) or an FC (fabric commitment)
§ PO (purchase order) – this is a legal document stating the quantity,
delivery, price, style no, buyer, vendor details. On receipt of a PO it is
very important that the merchandiser checks all details and confirms
that they are correct like – quantity, delivery date, price, style no, style
description, color no & reference if mentioned, shipment mode,
shipment port, vendor address, buyer address.
§ FC (fabric commitment) – fabric commitment is a legal document
confirming that the buyer will be buying the said quantity of a
particular fabric. A garment style no need not be mentioned on this
document as it is a commitment only for buying fabric. This kind of a
legal document is used by the buyer when there are very probable
chances of change in the style or the same fabric is being used in a
number of styles and the buyer has still not decided on the quantity to
be purchased in each of the styles. Hence in such a situation the buyer
gives a block booking for fabric.
o Once the order is received four different activities are started off
simultaneously. These activities are – preparing a detailed T&A, Fabric
Ordering, Trim Ordering, fit cycle and sample approvals.


o Preparation of a detailed time and action (T&A) calendar is very essential in

production merchandising. The reason being, large no of activities have to be
followed up for each order and a merchandised may be handling large number
of such orders and hence it is essential that all activities are listed. This
minimizes the risk of missing out any of the activities. Hence while preparing a
T&A one should list down as many activities as one can think of which are
essential in smooth running of the order. A detailed discussion on T&A is done
later in this module.
o This T&A is prepared by the merchandiser in consultation with all the
concerned departments such as – sourcing (fabrics & accessories), production,
and quality assurance, logistics.
o Once the T&A is finalized the same should be circulated to all concerned
departments. Another important aspect of the T&A is fixing the responsibility.
Along with finalizing the date by which a particular activity has to be
completed, the merchandiser should also mention the name of person who is
responsible to complete the activity by that time.


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o This activity involves ordering of fabric with the mill. The important points to
be taken care of during this activity are:
§ Accurate computation of the requirement. This is essential to ensure
that during bulk production the materials do not fall short nor are they
in access and there are leftovers after the order is shipped. An accurate
calculation of material requirement can be done if the BOM (bill of
materials) as provided by the buyer in the specification sheet is studied
thoroughly. Apart from just ensuring that the quantity is correct the
BOM also helps in checking that all materials required in completion of
the order are ordered and nothing has been missed out.
§ Selecting the best vendor for materials in terms of quality, price and
o The fabric order is places by the merchandiser by means of a purchase order.
The purchase order should list down the following very clearly –
§ Name & Reference no of the article
§ Quality description of the article
§ Quantity
§ Price
§ Delivery date
§ Quality parameters as required by the buyer
§ Payment terms
§ Pilot yardage requirements if any
o The mill sends a PI (Performa invoice) confirming the details as mentioned in
the PO. In case of any changes required in the PO the same are also mentioned
in the PI. The mill also provides its bank details on the PI so that the factory
can work out the payments.
o There can be various kinds of payment term agreements between the buying
and the selling parties as below –
§ Some %c of payment in advance, the balance at sight – example, 20%
advance, 80% at sight. This means that 20% of the total value of goods
is paid in advance, the balance 80% is pain once the goods are received
by the buyer (factory). This payment can be done by means of DD
(demand draft), cheque or TT (telegraphic transfer)
§ LC (letter of credit) – in this payment mode the banks of both parties
are involved. The buying party (factory in case of fabric) opens up a LC
with its bank and the same is transferred to the mills bank. On
acceptance of the LC by the mills bank, this becomes a legal contract
between the two parties. Once the goods are dispatched the mill
submits the dispatch details (Invoice, packing list and Air way bill
details) in its bank and get the payment for the goods. The mills bank
then approaches the factories bank and gets its payment from the same.
The factories bank then gets the payment from the factory. The LC
once made, a copy of the same should be called in by the merchandiser
and studied to make sure all details as mentioned are correct. The
details to be looked at are:

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§ Name & Reference no of the article
§ Quality description of the article
§ Quantity
§ Price
§ Delivery date
§ LC expiry date
o Pilot Yardage – pilot yardage helps is ascertaining any problems that may
come in the bulk yardage. The mill processes the first 100 – 200 yardage to
ensure that the same meets the quality, color parameters as laid down by the
customer. This helps the mill in taking corrective actions to eliminate any
defects or problems. On the other hand the factory also requires yardage to
complete all the pre-production processes such as sample approvals, size set
etc. This pilot yardage helps the factory in making all the pre-production
samples. Also the factory does fabric inspection and fabric shrinkage test to
have an idea of how the bulk fabric will behave. At this stage if factory
observes any problems in fabric behavior the same is immediately conveyed to
the mill so that the mill can take corrective action.
o Next, prior to bulk fabric shipment the mill dispatches fabric shade bands,
fabric inspection report and fabric test report.
§ Fabric inspection report – this is generally a third part inspection done
by buyer nominated inspection company like ITS, MTL etc. The most
common and used method of inspection is the 4-point system. In this
system every defect is given a point between 1 to 4 based on the nature
of the defects. A maximum of 4 points per yards of fabric can be
allocated. Fabric having more that 40 points per 100 square yards is
considered to be reject. Different customers have different point levels
depending upon how premium the brand is and also on the nature of the
fabric. For example: a man made fiber should have lesser defects that a
natural fiber and hence acceptable points level for polyester is kept
lower that that of cotton.
§ Fabric shade band – the mill segregates the fabric on the basis of shade
and makes a shade band. In general a maximum of 3 shade bands are
acceptable by customer, however this can again vary from customer to
customer. The customer evaluates the different shades by means of a
grey scale rating as acceptable.
§ Fabric test report (FPT – fabric performance test) – yardage from bulk
is sent to the nominated testing laboratory such as MTL, ITS for testing
the physical and color parameters of the fabric as required by the
customer. The testing laboratory also provides a wash care instruction
for the fabric, which essentially means the best washing conditions for
the fabric.
§ Fabric shrinkage report – the mill tests 10% of the fabric to confirm that
the fabric adheres to the specifications as laid down by the customer.
For example if the customer accepts +/- 3% shrinkage, fabric having
5% shrinkage is rejected. The determining the shrinkage the fabric is

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tested as per the best washing conditions advised by the testing
laboratory on the fabric test report.
o Once fabric passes through all the above tests and inspections it is shipped to
factory. The factory again checks the fabric on 4-point system and also checks
the shade bands and also does fabric shrinkage test to confirm that they adhere
to the requirements of the buyer.
o With regard to fabric inspection, factory generally inspects 10% of the fabric,
in case there is a problem the factory goes on to inspect 100% of the fabric.
o For fabric shrinkage test – different procedures have to be adopted for
ascertaining the shrinkages for a washed and a non-washed style.
§ In case of a non-wash garment testing 10% of the fabric is sufficient to
determine the shrinkage that needs to be included in the pattern. The
fabric is washed based on the recommended wash care instructions in
the FPT.
§ In case of a washed garment, 100% fabric should be tested for
shrinkage. The test is done as per the wash recipe. Once all rolls are
tested, the rolls are segregated as per the shrinkages and different
patterns are made to incorporate the shrinkages.
o Factory then also checks the fabric for shade banding, compares the same with
the once sent by the mill and if found acceptable sends one sent out to log the
same with customer. Once the buyer confirms that the shade bands are ok, the
fabric is ready to be cut.


A similar process as done for the fabric is done for trims. The factory can call
in trims for sampling and these are called as PROMO TRIMS.


While fabric and trim ordering is happening, simultaneously the sample

approval procedure is also underway. The moment a style is selected it goes to
the tech department for fitting. Here models wear the samples and they are
evaluated in terms of fit, construction, measurement. The buyer then sends out
comments, which are called as fit comments. In case another sample is
requested the factory makes the same incorporating the comments and send
again to buyer. This process is called fit cycle. Different customers have
different no of fit cycles.


Once the fit sample is approved the factory makes a PP (Pre-production)

sample. This can be called by different names such as sealer sample, green tag
sample etc. This sample is sent out the buyer for final approval and once
approved becomes the final sample on the basis of which entire production is

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made and audited. This is the most important sample and one should take care
that everything on this sample is correct as this then becomes the standard.


Once PP sample is approved the nest step is to make a SIZE SET. All the fit
samples and the PP samples are in the medium size, now the medium size is
graded into the different sizes as per the purchase order. The basic purpose of
size set is to ensure that grading between sizes is correct.


In this meeting everybody concerned with the style sits together to make sure
that everybody is on the same page and understands the product. Hence, this
meeting has the merchandiser, production in-charge, cutting, finishing, fabric
in-charge, line supervisor, pattern master, sample master etc. All tentative
problems are discussed and solutions sought to execute the order smoothly.


Once pre-production meeting is done the factory does PILOT RUN. Factory
cuts 100 – 200 garments based on the order quantity. The pilot run is done on
the assembly line and is aimed at ensuring that the operators of the assemble
line understand the required quality levels. This is very essential since all
sample prior to the pilot run (fit samples, PP & size set) are made in the
sampling unit.

Once PILOT RUN is approved the factory goes into bulk production. In line and
interim inspections are preformed during the production process to ensure that the
final product quality meets the required quality level.

Once 80 – 90 % of the goods are packed a pre-final audit is done. This helps in taking
corrective action if required before the final audit. Generally since the final audit
happens very close to the shipment date, the pre-final gives factory a chance to amend
problems if any.

The last is the FINAL AUDIT. This is the last checkpoint before shipment. All aspects
(packing, packaging, measurement, construction & visuals) are evaluated. Once the
garments adhere to the required quality standards in all the parameters the shipment is
passed and then the shipment is moved to the logistic team.

Now the merchandiser interacts with the logistic department, takes the shipment
schedule and sends the same to the customer.

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The ability to meet increasingly stringent delivery commitments while also maximizing
profits is critical to any company's success in today's global business environment.

Every season, fashion/apparel companies must continually design and develop new lines and
collections to keep retailers interested and spur consumer sales. Being able to meet delivery
dates and quickly respond to market trends is critical, increasing the need for more accurate
forecasting, planning and scheduling.
These goals can only be achieved if a company recognizes the critical role played by planning
and scheduling in the manufacturing and distribution processes. Poor planning costs money -
orders are delayed, priority orders are overlooked, sales and customers are lost, and the level
of obsolescent inventory increases.
Effective planning relies on rapid, accurate and up-to-date information, efficient
communications and the ability to make fast and informed decisions, as well as to realistically
predict the outcome of those decisions.

The planning process can be broadly divided into 2 heads:

• Macro level planning – Factory capacity planning
• Micro level planning – Detailed planning of each order / style. (Time & Action Calendar,
Material planning, Sample room planning)

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This is a very important tool and helps in decision making while confirming an order. By
planning the capacities of the production facility, the merchandising division comes to know
the exact production slot available before confirming an order.

The label on a denim pant says “Made in Pakistan” but it is quite possible that the fabric came
from China, Zippers and trims came from Hong Kong and the cutting, sewing, finishing,
inspection & packing happened in Pakistan.

When several organizations across countries have to work together to produce a single
garment, co-ordination of production schedules becomes a necessity. The real challenge lies
in planning production schedules in a manner that allows reasonable utilization of factory at
all given point of times. It is not only the garment manufacturing units that need to plan the
factory capacities, but also the fabric and trim suppliers in order to deliver the goods on time.
This coordinated planning should also be flexible to respond quickly to unforeseen changes
and that is the most difficult challenge.

Thus Capacity planning helps in:

• Decision making – confirming the order delivery dates.

• Optimum utilization of resources – ensuring that the factory is adequately utilized

throughout the year. This is very important as it helps in bring down the costs. For
example take this case –
v A manufacturing unit which employees salaried operators, does not have adequate
work for 2 months of an year and has more that capacity bookings for another 2
months of the year. So the months when there are not enough orders, the company has
to still pay the wages of the operators & also the months when there are more than
capacity orders, the unit has to run on overtime to meet the delivery dates. In both
cases the cost of operations increases.

• Easy visualization of effects of delay OR preponement of one order on the subsequent


How to plan factory capacity?

The most common question is how do we plan and calculate capacity when the company does
multi style products?

The answer is – a factory capacity should be planned in a manner that it is independent of

styling. Hence production capacities for all styles have to be converted into a common unit of
measurement, which is TIME.

The following parameters have to be calculated to ascertain the factory production capacity.

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• SAM for a garment – Standard Allowed Minutes for a garment
• Factory efficiency Levels

SAM and Factory Efficiency Level calculation

• SAM is the total time taken by a 100% efficient operator to perform a particular job /
• The Industrial Engineering department by means of Time & Motion study calculates
• Once SAM has been calculated the operator efficiency level is determined. This can be
illustrated by the below example:

SAM of a operation = 2 minutes

Total available time = 8 hrs shift x 60 minutes = 480 minutes
Total no of SAM’s produced = no of operations done in 8 hrs x SAM of the operation
= 150 x 2 = 300 minutes
Efficiency = (Total SAM’s produced / Hours Worked) x 100
= (300 / 480) x 100
= 62.5 %

• Similarly line efficiencies can also be calculated. In this case the total available hours are
calculated and this include the hours worked by operators and helpers in the line.
• By combining the efficiencies of all lines in a factory, the Factory Efficiency is
ascertained. The below example illustrates how the calculation is done.

Style A B
SAM 20 minutes 30 minutes
No of Operators 60 40
No of helpers 15 10
Total available time 75x8x60 50x8x60
36000 minutes 24000 minutes

Total garments produced 1200 500

Total SAM’s produced 1200 x 20 500 x 30
24000 minutes 15000 minutes

Total available time for the factory = 36000 + 24000 = 60000 minutes
Total SAM’s produced by the factory = 24000 + 15000 = 39000 minutes
Factory Efficiency = (SAM’s produced / Available minutes) x 100
=(39000/60000) x 100
= 65%

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• The Factory efficiency is calculated on a daily basis and over a period 3-6 months the
Average Factory Efficiency is determined from the data collected.
• This Average efficiency is then utilized for calculation of factory production capacity.

Explaining the same with the help of below example:

A 500 machine factory employees a workforce of 600 people (operators & helpers). The
factory on an average works for 26 days in a month, 8 hours shift per day.
The average factory efficiency as calculated over a period of time is – 60%

From the above details we can calculate –

Total available time = 600 x 26 x 8 x 60
= 7488000 minutes

Productive time = available time x efficiency

= 7488000 x 60%
= 4492800 minutes

Hence FACTORY CAPACITY = 4492800 minutes

No of garments that the factory can produce = Capacity / SAM of the garment

Based on the above calculation Factory Capacity can be determined for any product, if the
below information is available:
• SAM of the garment
• Average Factory Efficiency
• Total workforce
• Working hours / shift / day

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Production is an organised activity in a manufactured organisation. The industrial engineering

department has to decide about a systematic production system to generate customer

The objective of having an industrial engineering department is to replicating best practice

methods on each operation. Time standard developed for each operation will be the base for
incentive payment and must be accurate to defined 5% tolerance level.

The industrial engineering department role and responsibilities are defined on the following
notes along with a standard form set.

Department Specification

a) Overall Responsibility

To maximise the overall efficiency of the manufacturing functions through the

provision of an effective, appropriate and timely work study and industrial engineering
service and maintenance of an ideal production environment.

b) Key Tasks

- Product Analysis

• Determine the optimum method of construction to achieve required

finished product efficiently.
• Establish the operation sequence (Operation bulletin).
• Specify the equipment type and work aids to be used.

- Production Planning

Production planning is an essential prerequisite to production control. It

involves management decisions on the resources that the firm will require for its
manufacturing operations and selection of these resources to produce the
desired goods at the appropriate time and at the least cost.

Production planning is defined as, "“the technique of foreseeing or picturing

ahead, every step in along series of separate operations, each step to be taken in
the right place, of the right degree and at the right time, and each operation to be
done at maximum efficiency.”

Production planning provide a line for effective, balanced flow of product,

incorporating line and individual (operation) productivity standards.

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Planning Procedure

The end product of production planning efforts is the formulation of production

plans. The plans are formulated in light of specified future period. The plans are
to be implemented in the light of the estimated cost and agreed policies

The policies are farmed in the light of planning techniques and strategies, which
have been developed for particular plan. The important steps in production
planning are:

1) Demand forecasts: The production planning function is geared to the

estimated demand for the products. The demand forecasting represents
and anticipates level of demand and it also reflects pattern of the demand.
If seasonal or other kind of symmetry can be predicted, production can be
planned to take advantage of the predicted pattern of the demand.

2) Specification of production requirements:

Though demand forecast provides the bases in production planning, it is

not every thing in production planning. The demand forecast must be
converted in to a specification of production requirements. The forecast
demands are adjusted as under while planning the actual production:

a) On the basis of available production capacity, the forecast

demand is put on the calendar schedule.
b) Reasonable allowances are made for possible errors in
c) The deficiency or surplus of the existing production capacity
is ascertained in the term of the machine capacity and labour
d) A schedule of materials requirements is prepared. While
deciding the quantity of materials due consideration is given
to seasonal advantage, cost of excess inventory carrying, cost
of stock outs etc.

- Performance Development

Apply industrial engineering techniques to develop the performance of teams

and individuals by motivation and organisation. This goal is achieved by
working together with the production department to build the production

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- Industrial Engineering

Industrial engineering is a key part of a project. One of the basic functions of

engineering is to get facts. These facts may be in form of a time study, the
engineer has made or cost report the engineer has designed. So we can say that
the basic need for engineering is the need for management information.

The industrial engineering is very useful in:

a) Standardisation

You can appreciate the need for standard convocations in managing your
department. Think of confusion that would result if each operator on a job
performed his or her work differently from anyone else. Suppose quality
specifications changed every day so that what passed yesterday rejected today.

Effective supervision is impossible without standardisation of methods,

equipment; and conditions. Engineering helps to standardise.

b) Production Scheduling

In order to run your department efficiently, you need a firm schedule of

production. Suppose there was no way of knowing how more work your
section could handle. Do you think that there would be much of that
someone could guess exactly right as to how much work to load in? Of
course not!

In order to schedule work accurately, someone needs to know how long

it takes to go through each operation. Engineering data helps to make
this decision.

c) Fair Payment of Employees

In order to pay employees fairly, we need to know the value of the work
they produce, Since part of engineering function is to measure work.

d) Prevention of Chaos

Any attempt to run a department without standardised conditions,

without a production schedule, and without fair payment to the
employees is doomed to chaos and failure.

So main functions of engineering are:

a) Develop detailed production methods, from detailed manual moments to
major decisions on technology.

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b) Documents all the methods using manuals, computer based system as
c) Justify all changes based on analyses of the work content in the operation,
taking account of skill requirements

- Operator training

Support the operator training and recruitment function with AAMT

documentation, including targets and controls.

AAMT involves the systematic training

- Maintenance

Ensure that the incentive scheme, production methods, production equipment

and work places, work-studies and time standards are effectively and rigorously

Proper maintenance leads to better capacity utilisation of same asset, avoiding

thus the investment in addition facilities. So far industries has a tendency to
neglect maintenance function, thinking it be a not so important job, however
necessary. it has been taken just for granted.

The two dimensions to maintenance are preventive maintenance before

breakdown and maintenance after the breakdown happens. Though preventive
maintenance reduces the number of breakdowns. We have to take consideration
the cost of failing to prevent.

Maintenance is a sort of quality control problem, but as applied to standard of

service expected of the machine.

Plant maintenance is important and inevitable service function of an efficient

production system. It helps in maintaining and increasing the operational
efficiency of plant facilities and thus contributes of the revenue by reducing the
operating cost and increasing the quality of quality of the production.
Regardless of the type incentive plan used, to be to be successful the following
must hold true:

- It easy for the operator to understand and to calculate his or her pay.
- The plant must have an adequate incentive between the base rate and
the minimum rate.
- Off standard time (machine delay, waiting time, sample time etc.)
must not affect incentive earnings.

To make the incentive plant effective, it should be up to date and properly


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Work study is defined as a technique that embraces method study and work
management which are employed to ensure the best possible use of human and
material resources in carrying out the specified activity.

The main objective of work-study is to improve productivity of men, machine

and material.

Better production methods is the prerequisite for reducing the work content and
involved primarily the unnecessary movement on the part of materials or
operatives by substituting good methods for poor one.

So maintaining good methods in the department for continuous improvement in

productivity is the important task for the engineering department.

Standard time has been defined as `the total time in which the job should be
completed at standard performance’. Standard time express the total time a job
will take at standard performance, i.e., work content, contingency allowance for
delay, unoccupied time, and interference allowance, where applicable.

The standard time for each operation should be standardised according to

conditions and maintained in the engineering department.

- Continuous Improvement

Continuous review production methods to identify and take cost save


Constantly monitor operator performance against time standard and targets and
take action to improve performance and eliminate causes of under performance.
Give some targets to operators tell them about the target clearly and check their
performance against the target, give continuous feedback to the operator about
his or her performance. It will take very important part to motivate an operator.

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Product Analysis consists of

• Determining the optimum method of construction to achieve required
finished product efficiently.
• Establishing the operation sequence (Operation bulletin).
• Specifying the equipment type and work aids to be used.

Documents used for the product analysis is

Ø Operation Bulletin

Operation bulletin is a documented form of sequence of operations in a

product. It contains all the information about the machine required and the
total no. Of operations, total no. of operator required.

§ Operation bulletin contains the standard times for each operation.

Operation bulletin also contains some other parameters as follows:

§ Output (pieces per day)

§ Target efficiency
§ Minutes per day
§ Total standard time
§ Total no of work places

In simple way we can say that operation bulletin is a record of

§ Equipment type
§ Machine attachments
§ Workplace engineering aids
§ Standard time for each operation

It can be extended to include

§ Hourly/ period targets for each operation

§ Manpower Requirements
§ Equipment Requirements

It should cover all operations that can be directly related to single unit of a
product e.g.

§ Spread and cut

§ Sew including manual operations
§ Finish and pack

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The operation bulletin is a fundamental planning tool used for many
functions such as

§ Capacity planning
§ Methods engineering
§ Line planning
§ Performance measurement
§ Manpower planning
§ Investment appraisal
§ Incentive payment
§ Factory loading

The operation Bulletin should be developed at the earlier stage of product


Ø Method Description

In order that the operation selected for method study may be visualised in the entirety,
with a view to improving them by subsequent critical analysis, it is essential to have
means of placing on records all the necessary facts of the existing method. There may
be different way to method description such as charts & phonographic or electronics
methods of recording etc.

Hand charts are especially useful when work is confined to a single workplace and
consist of the use of the hands and arm as in our case.

A two-handed process chart is made of two columns in which are recorded the
movements of the left hand and right hand respectively.

Activities are interrelated by the spacing between the movements of each hand so that
simultaneous movements by both hands appear opposite each other.

Movements of two feet if any can be recorded by making two additional columns.

A sample of two-handed process chart is given below:

Ø Quality Specification

Quality is an asset, which may be offered to the potential customer of a

product. There are two aspects of quality, which contribute to the ultimate
quality of the product. The intrinsic quality intended in the design that is
the quality of design is the first aspect, which is acquired at the sampling
stage and depends on the type of materials used, specs specified by the
buyer, method of production, knowledge of the design and skill level of the

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The degree to which this quality is achieved in production that is the
quality of conformance is the second aspect. Here quality specs of the
buyer and experienced gain at the sampling stage play a important role in
maintaining the quality. Important is that quality specs should be defined in
such a way that each one could understand it better way. Specifications
should include all technical parameter, and performance specifications.

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Balancing is a subject that relates to every decision taken on the production floor. It is a very
important topic that we will cover in detail.

What is a balanced production system?

It is a system where you meet the production expectations and you can find the same amount
of work in process in every operation at any point in the day. To be able to achieve this is
extremely difficult. If we choose to have balanced inventories at the end of every day that will
prove to be a reasonably difficult challenge.

How do you keep all operations producing at the same rate? Well this is very difficult since
operator’s skills vary. We are able to balance using Utility operators that “fill holes” in
production. We also try to keep operators at the expected level of production or higher if

How do we start balancing the production line?

Well we can start by determining how many operators for each operation are needed for a
determined level of production. After this we need to determine how much WIP we need to
anticipate production problems. KSA recommends a 1-hour inventory level for each
operation. A good range would be from 30 min to 120 min inventory level. Any variation
outside this range should be avoided. A variation of this magnitude signifies an unbalanced
line and should be looked into immediately.

We balance the production line for a number of reasons. Some of these reasons are:

• Keeping inventory costs low results in higher net income

• Keeping normal inventory levels lets the operator work all day long giving him/her the
opportunity to earn more money by increasing his/her efficiency
• Keeping the line balanced let’s the supervisors improve other areas because they can use
their time better
• Balanced production keeps prices low which turns into repeat sales
• Balanced production means better production planning.

It is very important that all supervisors put balancing the line in their daily plans every day.

There are 3 rules for balancing:

1) Have at least ½ hour of WIP for each operation

2) Solve problems before they become any larger
3) Meet production goals by keeping every operator working at their maximum capacity

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Balancing Tools:

There are a number of tools that can be used for balancing. These are applied according to the
plant’s needs.

The most basic ones are Production Sheets, the Daily production report, the inventory levels
by operation and the Production Boards.

Items to take into account when making balancing decisions:

1) You should meet production goals

a) Using Regular operators
b) Using utility operators
c) Using temporary transfers
2) Work flow must be constant through all operations
3) Avoid Overtime
4) Determine Human Resource needs
a) Operators required at 100%
b) Capacity of actual operators
c) Actual operators equivalent to need in (A)
d) New operators to train
e) Utility operators
f) Cross training
5) Balance the Human Resources
6) Know how much work is needed for each operation
7) Check absences daily
8) Assign Utility operators based on absences
9) Update Daily Production report every two hours
10) Make balancing decisions every two hours and check them to the production manager

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The Balancing Matrix
When You need to

The operation can produce more than the Keep the operators where they are but
goal but right now you have accumulated remove some of them when the inventory
inventory in front of the operation. level is back to normal. If there is only one
operator then have him reduce the
inventory to a normal level and meet
his/her quota then put him to work on
another operation.

The operation can regularly produce more Remove resources and place them in other
than the goal and the inventory is at a operations
normal level now.

The operation can regularly produce more Move some resources from the current
than the goal and the inventory is currently operation to a previous one.
below its normal level.

The operation has the required capacity but Make sure that the operators are working at
inventory is high at this point full capacity and transfer some resources to
this operation temporarily

The operation regularly meets the quota set Do nothing. This is your ideal situation.
by production and the inventory is at a Keep the operators working at full capacity
normal level and the inventory at a normal level.

The operation has required production but (Something is causing the limited supply to
at this point inventory is at a lower than this operation.) You should transfer
normal level resources to the previous operation but
examine it to find out what is causing the

The operation has low production and the (This is a bad but not unusual situation)
inventory is high Transfer resources to this operation and
make sure the operators are at full capacity
doing a bundle by bundle follow-up.

The operation has low production but the Transfer resources to this operation but
inventory is at a normal level make sure the operators are at full capacity
doing a bundle by bundle follow-up.

The operation has low production but the (Something is causing the limited supply to
WIP is lower than normal this operation.) Investigate the previous
operation but transfer resources to this one
so that the next operation is not affected

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The Balancing Matrix

Transfer OUT
Transfer IN Transfer IN +
after WIP is
temporarily BBB Follow-up


Transfer OUT Transfer IN +

No Change
now BBB Follow-up

Transfer OUT to
Transfer OUT to previous operation Transfer IN +
previous Temporarily + Study previous
operation Study previous operation


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"Follow up" means that someone "checks and Stays with" something until the desired results
have been achieved. Many worthwhile plans and projects have failed because someone did
not follow up. So for the purposes of this training, follow up means to stay on top of
something until the desired results are achieved."

In an apparel plant, the supervisor's concern for follow up is related to operators performance.
The desired situation is to have all operators performing at or above the 100 percent level.
However, this is not usually the case. In order to move towards the desired state, follow up is

Relating back to the capacity study sample, the over lock operator showed a capacity of 96
percent. However, one fact that was unknown at the time of the study was that during the prior
week, she had a capacity of 116 percent. Her capacity dropped 20 percentage points from one
week to another. Why? The answer to this question cannot be answered until follow up
occurs, at which time someone will find out what is going on with the operator. The most
widely used operator follow up is bundle by bundle follow up, which will be discussed In the
following section.

Bundle by bundle follow up:

Bundle By bundle follow up, usually performed by an engineer or follow up technician,

consists of watching an operator while she performs her operation on several bundles. It could
occur for three or four bundles, or could last as long as a full day or even a week. During the
follow up, the operator is timed to see how long each bundle takes to complete. This time is
then compared to the piece rate installed by the engineering staff. Not only is each bundle's
time compared to the engineered standard, but the total production time for all bundles
watched during follow up is compared to the allowed time engineering has figured the
operator should take.

During observations, any problems or difficulties should be noted. Talking with the operator
is a good way to find out how things are going, as is watching several operators performing
the same operation. Anything the operator does especially well or especially poorly should be
noted, as this information can be used later.

Uses of operator follow up:

There are a number of uses for operator follow up:

1. Improve Performance (Motivate)

In many cases, operators are not producing as much as they can. They have no particular

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problems, but are just not giving it the effort to be a 100 percent operator. Follow up in this
case is a matter of motivation. The person doing the follow up should not only show the
operator that she can do well, but should also make her want to continue to do well. Most
people who are capable will perform well under follow up. And once they have performed
well for several days or a week (or maybe more) they get used to this type of performance
(and earnings) and then tend to stay there.

2. Prove Job Quotas

Perhaps the most common use of follow up (at least by engineers) is to prove a new quota. In
other words, the quota will be proved if the operator performs well when compared to the new
quota. Very often operators have a psychological resistance to change. It is essential to get the
operators to overcome this psychological barrier, and that can be done through follow up and
showing the operators that changes can be made satisfactorily.

3. Spot Troubles

Occasionally, there seems to be no logical explanation as to why an operator is not

performing. Follow up in this case can uncover problems that need to be solved such as
machine delay, work flow, small bundles, too much personal time, etc.

Other forms of follow up:

The bundle by bundle form of follow up is the best for operators who have the capacity to
perform at 100 percent because it can yield quick results. There are several other forms that
are useful in bringing operators up to full capacity:

1. Hourly - set hourly goals and check hourly

2. Two Hour - set two hour goals and check
3. Four Hour - set four hour goals and check
4. Eight Hour - set eight hour goals and check

It is extremely important to check back when the time period is up and reassign goals based
on performance during the previous period.

Daily Production Report

The DPR is a tool that let’s the supervisor:

• Have an accurate perspective of the situation of his/her throughout the day.
• Make well-informed balancing decisions based on production goals.
• See if the section is ahead or behind set goals throughout the day.

The DPR is a production summary that includes the following information:

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• General data (date, section)
• Operations in section
• Operator names
• Production data
• Production goals
• Efficiency

Work In Process (WIP)

IP is made up of all garments and their parts that are not completely finished. For example a
bundle of shirts that has everything attached but has no bottom hem.

We can measure WIP in Units or in units of time. For example, if we know that an operation
X takes 0.5 minutes per unit to process and we have 5 bundles of 12 units each then we have
30 minutes of WIP for that operation (5 X 12 X 0.5).

In some factories you can find some operations that have days of inventory waiting to be
processed! This is unacceptable for many reasons.

There are two cost areas that can be reduced if WIP is controlled:
• Investment in inventory
Inventory is money invested in raw materials. When we don’t move the goods through
the plant quickly we are affecting cash flow directly.

• Ability to reduce the production cycle

By having low inventory between operations, garments usually have less waiting time
and go through the production cycle in less time. Large inventory levels between
operations keeps goods waiting longer to be processed. This increases the overall
throughput time.

Low throughput time permits better co-ordination between sales and production. It
also permits a quicker turnaround on which improves cash flow. Low cycle times give
manufacturers the ability to handle multiple styles.

Clients are looking for manufacturers that can meet production schedules, that can handle
multiple styles, and since they want to invest as little as possible in inventory, manufacturers
that can handle low inventories. Only factories that work with low WIP will be able to sell
their services.

Managing WIP:

1) Production planning
This requires planning from marketing and sales to determine what will sell and what
needs to be produced and when. This provides the basis to determine how many operators
and machines will be needed.

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2) Trims control
Trims are buttons, zippers, labels, thread, elastics, and so on. A cut should enter the
production line only when someone has verified that all the trims needed are available.
An updated inventory of trims should be kept. A missing label could halt a 12,000 unit
cut. Holding the 12,000 units in inventory is not acceptable and could lead to other

3) Production Build-up
Careful consideration should be given to loading the production lines. If you feed into the
line more product that can be processed you will overload the line with work that will just
sit stagnant.

4) Balancing
Even if you load the line based on its capacity, you might find the inventory accumulating
due to an unbalanced production. Absenteeism and turnover can greatly affect the line’s
balance. A change in style and bad cutting are two other factors that can put a line off-
balance. To keep a line balanced you need information on the inventory levels. To help
regain balance in an unbalanced situation you can use Utility operators, operator transfers
and overtime.

5) Cut Flow Control

In order to keep control over WIP and to keep the cycle times low you need to have cuts
go as close as FIFO as possible. For this reason strict control must be placed on the
tracking of cuts as they flow through the production floor.

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When a mechanic is called for help with a machine a procedure should be followed.
Following an established procedure will reduce Machine Delay time, reducing the cost related
to it. It will help the operator earn more money, and it will save the mechanic valuable time.

Preventive maintenance checklist


• Library of Machine literature

• Updated parts catalogue
• Adjustment instructions (instructions, user manual, etc.)
• Plant notes for reference on past repairs and experience
• Library material should be studied by maintenance personnel
• Spare Parts
• Well kept parts cabinet
• Up to date registry of used parts, ordered and received parts
• Maintain an adequate inventory of needles, bobbins, presser foots, feed dogs,
throat plates and other necessary parts
• Maintain an updated individual machine card
• Off-Std time, Needles or parts that have been changed
• Major repairs
• Borrowing parts from one machine to another is strictly prohibited
• Maintenance shop and equipment
• Well kept and equipped shop
• Appropriate tools and deposits
• Adequate supply of sewing machine oil and grease
• Labelled and marked containers for different types of oil
• Labelled containers with machine grease
• Chart on wall explaining what type of lubrication is needed for each machine, the
locations and the frequency to do it.
• Labelled containers for used oil
• Fire proof container for cleaning solvents
• Adequate supply of dry compressed air for the repair shop as well as the sewing
• Safety regulations posted on wall

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• Lubricate all machines specially if the operator cannot do it
• Check appropriate supply of air, oil, vapour, and electricity
• Check regularly used shop tools
• Report to the Executive any negligent action on the operator’s part
• Check all machines and remove with brush/air/tweezers all foreign objects when
necessary (when using air to clean take care not to stain WIP with oil)
• All oil deposits should be free of foreign objects
• All machines should have the adequate oil level
• Order all necessary parts for adequate inventory
• Order and stock necessary needles and bobbins
• Review machine cards and report to manager any excessive use of parts, needles,
or off-standard time
• Keep all used equipment functioning properly
• Keep extra equipment in working conditions ready to replace used equipment
• Keep all necessary shop supplies to adequate level


• Remove all threads around the work area with a brush or with tweezers
• Clean excess oil from machine specially the needle point.
• Check all oil level meters
• Oil when necessary
• Turn motor off when machine not in use
• Leave a piece of cloth under the needle when machine is not in use


• Check that operators are following their daily maintenance responsibilities
• Make sure that all safety measures are being followed.
• Refill the needle stock box with the appropriate needles
• Place all broken needles in the appropriate container. DO NOT leave them in any
other place.
• Check how much thread is being consumed and make sure it is not being wasted.
• Make sure all machines are threaded correctly and that the threads are not too close
to the machine’s pulley.

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Mechanics Checklist

• Ask the operator or Executive what the problem is

Possible answers:
1. Needle thread breaking
2. Bobbin or looper thread breaking
3. All threads break
4. Skipped stitches
5. Stitch formation is unusual
6. Needle breaks
7. Irregular feeding of material
• shirring
• stretching
• feeding to the side
8. Oil leak on machine or over fabric
9. Uncomfortable set-up for the operator
• The pedal is not located properly
• Presser foot lever is not located properly

• Observe the operator sew one or two parts to verify problem

Before starting on the machine

• Check the type of thread being used and check for proper threading
• Adequate thread and needle type for the operation
• Thread cone is placed properly (even level) over holder
• Thread guides don’t produce any unusual friction to thread
• Guides threaded correctly
• All tensioning plates threaded correctly
• All needles/bobbins/loopers are threaded properly
• Needle point is not broken

Watch the machine and evaluate its operation

• Silently softly and firmly at the maximum RPM’s
• Noisy, violently, vibrating at slow or high speeds
• Belts appropriately placed on machine pulley or motor pulley
• Belt tension is too tight or too loose
• Thread stuck on pulleys or belts
• Belt is broken or worn-out
• Belt is soaking in oil
• Machine or motor pulley is loose or damaged
• Pulley size is inappropriate (check RPM and check against recommended)
careful not to keep machine at high RPM’s or injuries can be expected

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Check lubrication
• Check oil gauges
• Check for leaks

Observe the operator’s position when sewing

• Is the table’s height appropriate (at elbow level)?
• Are the pedals in the right position?

Check the motor adjustments

• Clutch adjustments
• Pedal movement doesn’t engage machine
• Machine engages too easily and abruptly (too little movement of the pedal

Before opening the machine:

• Verify that the needle is:

• Located properly
• Not bent
• Not broken (specially the tip)
• Not too sharp around the tip and eyelet
• Appropriate type for the thread and fabric being used
• Check the machine for appropriate threading
• Thread guides
• Thread pullers
• Tensioners
• Needles
• Loopers
• Spreaders
• Clean all thread and oil from the sewing area
• Check the appropriate movement of the needle
• Check the presser foot, throat plate and feeders to see if they are working correctly
• Check if the minor adjustments have improved the sewing problem

Danger signals (Use all your senses)

• Excessive oil concentrated on one area of the machine
• Unusual machine or motor movements
• Excessive threads, fabric rags around sewing area
• Smoke


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• Strange sounds like:
• Shaking/Vibrating
• Crushing
• Thumps
• Screeching
• The sound of the motor
• Excess speed
• Dragging (too slow)
• Low voltage
• Inadequate electric phase
• What the operator/Executive reports
• Air or vapour leaks
• Machines that remain on when not being used
• Security alarms, bells, whistles

• To feel unusual vibrations in motors or engines
• To make sure that the motor is turned off when not in use
• To feel unusual heat from the machines
• To check worn parts for shaking or looseness

• To see if there is smoke due to
• overheated metal
• electrical insulation burned
• Burnt oil
• Burning thread
• Electrical parts on fire
• Solenoids
• Cables
• Transformers
• Rectifiers
• Unusual odours

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Machine Problems Checklist

The Operator can often help himself/herself when the machine is not working properly. The
following list shows solutions to common problems. Following the advice can many times
save the time wasted waiting for the mechanic.

Problem Solution

Upper thread keeps breaking

Top thread tension is too tight Loosen the tension by one turn
Machine is improperly threaded Check for proper threading
Thread is not placed through tension rings Check for proper threading
Thread is twisted in guide posts Check for proper threading
Broken or bent tension spring Inspect the action of spring
Thread is not placed through guides Check for proper threading
Needle bent or burred Try a new needle
Bad cone of thread Try another cone

Lower thread breaks

Bobbin spring is too tight Loosen tension

Bobbin is not threaded properly Check proper threading
Bobbin is too tight or warped Try another bobbin
Lint or threads in Bobbin case Clean inside bobbin case
Lint or threads in hook Clean inside hook
Warped bobbin case Check bobbin case/Try another one

Skipped stitches

Broken needle point Try another needle

Needle is not located properly Check needle placing
Thread is not place through guides Check for proper threading
Thread is not place through tension rings Check for proper threading

Irregular stitch formation

Knots on top Tighten Bobbin tension or loosen

upper (needle) tension
Knots on bottom Tighten upper tension
Bobbin not placed properly Replace bobbin
Bobbin thread slipped from under tension Check for proper bobbin case
Lint or threads in top tension Clean tension rings

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Machine Adjustments

All the standard rates for operations are based on a machine that can do so many stitches per
inch and can do them in a specified time. For this reason all machines for the same operation
need to have the SPI’s and RPM’s adjusted to a specified value. Having machines adjusted
differently will not be fair to the operators. A machine’s SPI’s need to be checked often as
they change depending on fabric and number of plies and it is also easy for the operator to
change. RPM’s are not adjusted as often since they are a function of the pulley size and as
long as the pulley is not changed the machine will remain within ±150 RPM. (although this
may vary a little more depending on the belt)

Handling machine delays

To be able to control the company’s costs it is necessary to identify them and identify the
cause. For this reason the company keeps track of how much time the sewing machine delays
the sewing time. This category is called Machine Delay (MD). During this time the operator
is not able to work normally due to machine failure. For this reason the company will make
sure he or she is not penalised in efficiency points. To be able to manage this cost category
more effectively we have a set procedure:

• The operator informs the supervisor that he/she is having trouble with the machine
• The supervisor checks the machine
• make any quick adjustments to the machine if possible
• Call the mechanic if necessary
• Take the employee to a temporary location either to another workstation where
he/she can continue with the work
• If this is not possible then
• to another area where he/she will wait for the machine and mark the production
sheet with MD off-standard category
• The mechanic repairs the machine
• The operator returns to his/her workstation
• The operator sews a specified number of garments in front of the mechanic
• If the machine is working properly then you mark the operator’s production sheet and put
him/her back on standard time
• The supervisor moves the work back from the temporary workstation

Other related considerations

• All workstations should be at (operator’s) elbow level

• All machines should always be ready to start work:
• Threaded correctly
• Connected
• Covered

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• Clean
• With Needle, bobbins, chairs and work-aids
• All work-aids should be as approved and in good condition (no exposed splinters, screws,
• All underbed trimmers, needle petitioners, stackers and other mechanical workaids should
be working properly, if they are not they will be a source of machine delay and the
operator will be working off-standard costing the company money.

Gen-Prom (UNDP) 36 KSA-Technopak

Reduction in costs leads to improvement in margins, which keeps the manufacturer ahead in
this competitive world. Let us take a look at the costing for a garment.

Element % of Total Cost

Fabric 60-70%

Trims & Accessories 5-10%

CMP 15-30%

Others 5%

Total Cost of Garment 100%

Total Cost of Garment + Quota Cost* + Mark up = FOB

Main contributors to exceeding costs

There are two main areas that contribute to more than the expected cost of manufacturing.
First, Costs related to personnel and second Costs due to inefficient material utilisation.

Costs Related to Personnel

1. Operator performance

• Not using the best method

• Switching operators
• Equipment problems
• Excessive conversation
• Unnecessary absences from work
• Deliberate loafing

When the waste of time is intentional, it means the supervisor does not control his workers.
When it is unintentional, it usually means the workers are not properly trained or supervised
in methods, or the flow of production needs closer attention.

Excessive conversation is a double waste of time. The supervisor must distinguish between a
natural amount of conversation between workers, which is helpful to morale and good feeling,
and excessive conversation, which is destructive to good discipline and morale. The wise

Gen-Prom (UNDP) 37 KSA-Technopak

supervisor does not frown on all conversation between workers, but does curb it if it becomes
Do not change operators from job to job anymore than is necessary to avoid running short of
work. Train and use utility operators, so that regular operators will not lose their efficiency on
their regular operations. When capacity is excessive, transfer an operator so that the remaining
operators will be balanced.

The operator performance report shows the money spent on direct labour and the value
received from direct labour. It measures the performance of the management & supervision in
controlling these costs. It also measures the performance of the operators.

Guaranteed Minimum Pay

Amount paid to the

Value of operator's work


Cost relationships

1. Efficiency = Output / Input

= SAH produced / Clock hours worked
2. Utilisation = Hours on standard / Clock hours worked
3. Excess cost = anything paid above piece rate earnings - e.g. Make-up, transfers,
MD, OT premium
4. Excess costs can be reduced by:
• Increasing SAHs (Standard Allowed Hours) produced without increasing clock hours
• Reducing transfers (to operations where operators are paid an average earning rate).
• Producing SAHs during transfers to the above operations
• Reducing (MD) Machine Break Down
• Reducing OT (Overtime)

2. Production flow

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• Inadequate supply of work leading to the operators slowing down
• Drops in production because of absenteeism or other reasons
• Necessary supplies, equipment and information is not ready on time

Switch operators if and when required to maintain balance.

Identify the bottleneck operation. Ensure that there is always feeding for this operation. A
minute lost on the bottleneck operation is a minute lost on the entire line.

All re-cuts and repairs should be made promptly, so that "cuts" will be completed on schedule
and "boxing" will not be delayed because of incomplete assortments.

Absenteeism and labour turnover also affect the flow of work. Anticipate "quits" as early as
possible, so that someone else can be trained for the job before the quit occurs. Interview each
operator who voluntarily quits; in order to obtain first-hand information on the reason.
3. Quality

Producing bad quality costs money. It reduces the operator's performance.

Some supervisors depend entirely upon general watchfulness of the work and workers to
secure good workmanship - but often good workmanship is not enough. It is not sufficiently
thorough to accomplish the necessary results.

The supervisor should schedule time so that each operator's work gets checked, after having
given special attention to the workers who are inclined to produce poor quality.

When changes are made in materials, be especially watchful that folds, feeds, stitches etc. are
proper with the new material. Sometimes the condition of equipment is a cause of poor

When the flow of work causes idle periods in the worker's time and she has time to think of
things outside her work, the average quality of work is lower than when there is ample flow of
work. Be especially watchful for poor quality when this condition exists.

The supervisor's attitude towards the job will make a big difference. If his manner indicates
that he is not concerned with the quality of an operation, the worker is not likely to be much
concerned either.

Ensure that a safe environment exists. Guard against workers adopting practices that are
harmful to good order. These practices are often because of disregard by the worker of what
she thinks is an unimportant work-rule. (Example - putting finished work, materials, thread
etc. in some place other than the right place.) Continued neglect quickly forms a bad work
habit. Constant vigilance will lead to the correction of such conditions.

Gen-Prom (UNDP) 39 KSA-Technopak


A. Direct Labour Cost Reports

Before discussing how to control direct labour costs, we must be sure we all know what we
are talking about, define some terms, and establish some benchmarks.

The basic document we work from in looking for D.L. cost is a D.L. cost report. Some
companies refer to this as an effectiveness report, a direct labour analysis, a plant performance
report, etc., your company refers to it as manufacturing cost analysis.

Regardless of what you call it, all D.L. cost reports contain the same basic information.

Purpose of report is to show the money spent on direct labour and the value received from
direct labour.

Director Labour-Pieceworkers Cost report measures the performance of pieceworkers. It also

measures the performance of management and supervision in controlling these costs.

B. Terminology and Cost Areas

1. Pieceworkers (Direct Labour)

2. Piecework dollars
3 . Excess costs
- Make up
- Machine delay
- Transfers
- Overtime premium
4. Percent excess
5. Base rate
6. SAH-Time value of piecework earnings
7. Clock hours
8. Standard hours
9. On-standard efficiency
10. Plant and section efficiency
11. Cost/unit produced

C. Cost Relationships

1. Efficiency = output: input

SAH produced: clock hours worked

Clock Hours - SAH produced = loss (positive or negative)

2. Utilisation (direct labour) = Hours on-standard Clock Hours

Gen-Prom (UNDP) 40 KSA-Technopak

3. Excess Costs - anything paid above piecework earnings. Make-up, MD, transfers, OT
4. Efficiency impact on profit
Excess cost impact on profit
5. Relationships between efficiency and excess costs.
a. Increase efficiency by increasing standard without increasing clock hours
b. Transfers should produce standard $ if possible.
c. Decrease excess costs by reducing M-U.
d. Decrease excess costs by reducing MD.
e. Decrease excess costs by reducing transfers.
f. Decrease excess costs by reducing OT.


The control or non-control of departmental costs is reflected in every action a supervisor

takes. This season will point out the areas of cost control a supervisor can affect - the
following session will cover the specific techniques that can be used to insure a satisfactory
cost performance.

A. Major Areas of Excess Costs (Direct Labour)

Make-up, overtime, transfer can be directly related to operator performance and intelligent
handling of production flow by supervisor. Achieve high operator utilisation through -

Operator Performance

Supervising Methods

• Understand thoroughly the best methods to use on each operation, and see that the
workers use them; See that the trainer and I. E. technician do not overlook anyone.

• Know the possibilities and limitations of the machines used, and see that proper speeds,
stitches, etc., are used. Insure the machine is set up properly prior to sewing/assigning

• Methods have been standardised and these standard practices should not be changed
without a corresponding change in the piecework standard.

• When methods are changed, make certain that all operators are instructed properly and
follow-up to make certain that the instructions are followed. If the change is extensive, get
a trainer to give the instruction and follow-up, so that they will be more complete.

• Where changes in design of the product occur, operations and methods should be worked
out and approved on one or two bundles before the remainder of the cut is put into
production. This method will often save a Bottleneck in production later.

Gen-Prom (UNDP) 41 KSA-Technopak

Waste of Time

The greatest waste of all is the waste of time, because it wastes machines and lowers the
productive capacity of the department. Some of it may be intentional, deliberate loafing,
excessive conversation or unnecessary absences from work. Much of it however is
unintentional-time, which is improperly used, resulting in more time and energy being
consumed than is necessary for the amount of work being produced.

When the waste of time is intentional, it means that the supervisor does not control her
workers - and when it is unintentional, it usually means that the workers are not properly
trained or supervised in methods or the flow of production needs closer attention.

Excessive conversation is a double waste of time because it also wastes the time of the worker
being “visited”,,. The supervisor must distinguish between a natural amount of conversation
between workers, which is helpful to morale and good feeling and excessive conversation,
which is destructive to good discipline, and morale. The wise supervisor does not frown on all
conversation between workers, but does curb it if it becomes excessive.

Production Flow

Maintaining Production

• See that there is an adequate supply of work between each two operations, to keep
operators from slowing down or waiting for work.

• Watch for "drops" in production on each operation because of absentees or other reasons,
and immediately take the necessary steps to bring it back to normal before the following
operation is affected.

• "Switch" operators if and when required to maintain balance. Anticipate "unbalance" and
take countermeasures to assure maximum production without transferring operators, if
possible. (This calls for compromises, as you usually cannot achieve both. You must
decide if "switching" her to another job where you sacrifice efficiency and increase
"make-up" - or working overtime on the operation behind schedule - or asking for
permission to cross-train more "operators".).

• See that necessary supplies, equipment and information for jobs are on hand before they
are needed.

• Keep informed as to the work schedule for your section and see that it is stored in the
proper bins before it is needed.

• All recuts and repairs should be made promptly so that "cuts" will be completed on
schedule and swiping of finished garments will not be delayed because of incomplete

Gen-Prom (UNDP) 42 KSA-Technopak

• All bundles must be complete.

When production is excessive, transfer the appropriate operator to other work so that the
remaining operators are assigned so that there will be sufficient work and the opportunity to
keep their earnings up to normal (with discretion towards moving trainees and the effect of
transfers on performance).

Do not change operators from job to job any more than is necessary to avoid running short of
work - train and use relief or utility operators instead, so that regular operators will not lose
their efficiency on their regular operations.

Keep in close touch with the trainers and technicians concerning the progress of learners,
fitting the learner's increase in production into your plans.

Make certain that all workers get full credit for any lost time that occurs, but make sure that
they go back to work as quickly as possible so that lost time will be held to a minimum.

See that anyone transferred to other work or working on unmeasured work uses the best
methods and extends a reasonable effort. This rule applies to utility operators, shiftees and

Parts to be sewn should fit without having to be cut, trimmed or stretched by the operator.
Any need for trimming or stretching should be reported to the quality manager.

B. Other Areas of Cost Control

Supervising Quality

Top management of a plant can set up certain standards of quality, but they must be applied to
the work and maintained by the supervisors. A supervisor has the responsibility for good
workmanship. Under usual conditions, the quality of workmanship should take-up most of a
supervisor's time. Just as the quality of a worker can be measured by the quality of her work,
the quality of a supervisor is measured by the quality of work produced in her section.
Watchfulness is the keynote of good quality.

Some supervisors depend entirely upon general watchfulness of the work and workers to
secure good workmanship - but often general watchfulness is not enough. General
watchfulness is not sufficiently thorough to accomplish the necessary results.

• Schedule your own time so that each operator's work gets checked, after you have given
special watchfulness to the workers who are inclined to produce work of poor quality.

• When changes are made in materials, be especially watchful that folders, feeds, stitches,
etc., are working properly with the new material.

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• When the flow of work causes idle periods in the worker's time and she has time to think of
things outside her work, the average quality work is lower than when ample flow of work
is coming through. Be especially watchful for poor quality when this condition exists.

• Sometimes the poor condition of machines or equipment is the cause of poor quality.
Checking of machines should be done regularly and often enough to maintain them in good

• The supervisor's own attitude toward the job will be a big influence. If her manner
indicates that she isn't much concerned with the quality of an operation, the worker isn't
likely to be much concerned either.

Waste of Materials

• There should never be any waste of power, light, heat, oil, water, threads, pins, needles or
any other supply. Proper storage facilities for some of these items and watching to see that
these facilities are used will help to conserve them.

• Surplus accessories such as bindings, hooks and eyes, elastic and straps should be returned
to stock and not allowed to accumulate in bins or workboxes at the machines.

• Recuts should be used sparingly and should be kept locked up when not being used.
Review recut ordering procedure.

• When stitching must be ripped out, the supervisor should see that the method used will not
tear or cut the part.

Work Force

It is important that the supervisors continually look ahead and foresee the relation between the
number of workers needed at present and those needed for future production.

• Anticipate the need for more workers due to changes in design or production requirements
and take the necessary measures to provide them as far ahead of time as possible so that
they will be properly trained when needed.

• The supervisor should report possible “quits" to the production manager as soon as she
learns of them so that measures may be taken to train someone for the job before the quit

Labour turnover is an important element in maintaining an adequate working force. Careful

thought should be given to the subject and it's effect on the cost of operating.

• Interview each worker who voluntarily quits; in order to obtain First-hand information as to
the reason.

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• Be careful in exercising your authority to discipline or discharge workers.

On the other hand, remember that everyone is not suited for this type of work. Be able to
detect the Square pegs" and do not waste time trying to fit them into round holes". These
workers are the ones, who in spite of everyone's efforts including their own, develop to about
75 percent and then stop. Discussing such problems with your assistance and supervisors will
bring out the facts and help you arrive at the best decision.


• See that fans, light, heat, etc. are properly regulated at all times for the comfort of the
workers. Restrooms, drinking fountains, etc. must be kept clean and sanitary. Aisles and
spaces around the machines should be kept clear, and equipment and bins should be
cleaned regularly.

• Good housekeeping can't be accomplished “with a lick and a promise, nor can you have it
by a Good cleaning once in a while." It requires constant attention to the little details. You
must secure the co-operation of the workers -- work through them -- set a good example for
them to follow.

• Guard against workers adopting practices that are harmful to good order. These practices
are often due to thoughtfulness -- or to disregard by the worker of what she thinks is an
unimportant work rule. She will begin to put finished work, materials, thread, etc., in some
place other than the right place. Continued neglect quickly forms a bad work habit.
Constant vigilance by the supervisor will lead to the correction of such conditions before
habits are formed. It will be easier to do so then, and it will not put as severe a strain upon
good working relations between the supervisor and her workers.

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A. The Use of Incentives

An Incentive plan is to recognise through pay, a fair days wage for fair day's work.

An incentive plan is simply a means of paying a person based on his or her individual efforts
and abilities. Another way to say this that each person is paid according to his or her
performance. In most cases we automatically think of incentive pay being based on the
amount produced, but this does not always hold true. In some cases quality is the basis of an
incentive plan. In other cases it might be material utilisation. There are different incentive
plans for supervisors but the common factor in all plans is that pay is based on performance of
some type.

Incentive pay is very much a part of life. How many times have you heard stories about men
born into poverty eventually becoming millionaires?

There is little argument about the concept of incentive plans for determining pay. Most people
agree that people who perform the best should be paid the most. But every incentive plan has
to have some yardstick to measure performance against, and it is in this area that
disagreements often arise. For production workers the yardstick is often the quota for the job
performed, and there are constant arguments as to whether or not job quotas are correct.

The alternative to an incentive plan is to pay everyone a straight hourly rate regardless of

The morale of those who were normally high performers would certainly be hurt if they see
lower performers receiving their same rate of pay. The incentive to work hard would be
severely hurt if each person was paid the same thing each hour regardless of how well he did.

We can agree that incentive plans are a fair way to pay employees and they are far superior to
straight time work as an influence on productivity.

B. What Incentive Systems to use

1. Key Points
• Where does it get out of makeup?
• When does it pay base rate?
• At what point does it break even with a regular straight incentive plan? (Split plans
will always break even at double the guarantee if using 50 percent as base).

2. Easiest way to see the relationship of various plans is to graph them.

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C. Types of Incentive Plans

Now that we've talked some about the ideas behind incentive plans, let's look at some specific
examples of how different types of incentive systems are used in our industry.

Regardless of the job done in setting the standard, an engineering installation will not succeed
if the incentive system is not right.

Straight Incentive



Incentive Factor does not affect grading. We are simply using a lower production standard in
lieu of a higher base rate. One reason for this is the low minimum to base spread.

Modified Incentive Systems

1. Jump Base

On a jump base system, operators earning less than 100 percent have their earned hours
multiplied by one base rate, and those above 100 percent receive a higher base rate.

This creates an incentive for operators close to, but below 100 to "get up there." It also causes
operators who ran 102 percent on Monday and have a streak of bad luck on Tuesday,
knocking them to, say 87 percent, to feel - "What's the use of working hard on Wednesday,
Thursday, and Friday can't possibly make up the loss sufficiently to get into the jump bonus

Most jump base plans use 100 percent as the jump point. This is not inherent in the plan since
the jump could take place at any point.

The increase in pay is usually a fixed amount (e.g., Rs.5 or Rs10 per hour)

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100 %

Jump base plans are not used too often today. The usual practice today is to simply adjust the
base rate both above and below 100 percent.

2. Fifty / Fifty Split Incentive

Non-repetitive operations are subject to greater swings in conditions than are repetitive
operations. For this reason, we usually recommend a form of split incentive.

Many non-repetitive operations occur in cutting groom and warehousing installations. These
operations are normally covered by multivariable rates. Use of a split incentive will dampen
the swings in performance caused by changes in conditions on these operations.

Fifty/fifty refers to the manner in which the operator will be paid: 50 percent of base pay plus
50 percent of all coupon dollars earned.



100 %

3. Modified Split Incentive

Operator is paid on split incentive, but is paid straight incentive for a portion of her
performance. (Typical example is from 100% to 120% on straight).

One word of caution: The standards must be developed accurately regardless of the incentive
plan to be used. The split is only used to compensate for conditions which vary widely. The

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use of a split incentive is never justification for sloppy rate setting.

4. Transfer Incentive Plans

Whenever an operator has to be transferred from her regular operation, she can be paid at
Average, Minimum, or at Base. What is lacking in all three of these plans?

Answer: Incentive pull. It is desirable to keep people on incentive as much as possible.

Some jobs will have to be paid at minimum, average, or base, depending on whether she has
been transferred for company convenience or for her convenience.

Example: Assume base rate is Rs1.75/hour. If an operator averages 105 percent on her regular
operation, her average rate of pay will be Rs1.84 per hour.

If this woman is transferred on Tl (60.50 plan) and performs at 80 percent, the results will be:

60% of Rs1.75 = Rs1.05

40% (half of 80%) of Rs1.75 = Rs0.70

D. Supplementary Plans

1. Some form of the above may be useful during periods of change or retraining. After the
change is past, return to straight incentive.

2. In high style jobs, because of many changes, it may be necessary to use a supplemental plan
all of the time.

E. Diminishing Bonus

Various forms of diminishing bonus are sometimes used for transfers or for retraining
purposes. Examples are 65/50 for a fixed period of time, then 60/50, etc. Others are +15
percent, +10 percent, and +5 percent to pay.

We will discuss retraining bonus in greater detail when we are considering ways of motivating
operators during follow-up.

F. Key Points in Incentive Systems Discussion

1. Remember that any incentive system will be only as good as the administration of the
system. Install controls so that plan does not get out of control.

2. Our object is to protect earnings - not overprotect.

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G. Single Base Rates Versus Variance Base Rates

1. Historically, apparel has been a one-base rate industry. The purpose of this topic is to try to
stimulate discussion on the part of the trainees to determine their opinions on the subject.

2. Examples of two systems:

Variable Base Rates

Single Base Rate: $1.90 I $1.70
II $1.80
III $1.90
IV $2.00
V $2.10

What happens if two women of equal skill and ability come to work and job openings are
available on Jobs I and IV?

3. One argument in favour of single base rate is that the Job IV woman has a more saleable
skill if she moves to another plant.

Characteristics of Good Incentive Plan

Regardless of the type incentive plan used, to be successful the following must hold true:

1. It is easy for the operator to understand and to calculate his or her pay.
2. The plan must have an adequate incentive between the base rate and the minimum rate.
3. Off-standard time (machine delay, waiting time, samples, etc.) must not affect incentive

4. The plan must be kept up to date.

Incentive Plans in Apparel Industry

It is estimated that about 90 percent of the workers in the apparel industry are under some type
of incentive plan. Ours is an industry that is still very much people controlled as opposed to
machine controlled and because of this it lends itself well to incentive plans.

The installation of incentive plans has produced benefits for both companies and employees.

Benefits to companies: Improvement in operations through job analysis, Reduction in costs,

Increased production per operator.

Some of the benefits to employees are: Increased earnings, Better job methods from job
analysis, Higher morale, Greater interest in Job.

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In most cases the switch from time work to incentive pay enables the operator to make more
money and the company to reduce costs. The reason for this is that when the work is the basis
for pay, performance has generally proven to be about 65 percent of performance on

Let's use a simple example to point this out. Let's say we have an operator performing a job
that we have determined has a fair production standard of 450 pieces per day. This operator is
paid Rs1.80 per hour on a straight timework basis. Using the experienced 65 percent guideline
let's say she does about 293 pieces per day (65 percent of 450).

The operator earns 9 hours X Rs1.80 = Rs16.20 per day

The company pays Rs16.20 / 293 pieces = Rs.0553 per piece
Let's now assume we put this job on incentive. Using a production standard of 450 pieces, we
decide to pay Rs2.00 per hour for standard performance. The operator, who is a good steady
worker, makes the standard and is paid Rs2.00 per hour.

The operator earns 9 hours X Rs2.00 = Rs18.00 per day

The company pays Rs18.00 / 450 pieces = Rs.0400 per piece

Therefore, the operator makes more and the company produces more at less cost.

Another genuine value of an incentive system is that there is motivation for the employee to
beat the production standard and make more money. Still, the company benefits when this

Let's assume in our example another worker beats the production standard of 450 pieces by 10
percent. This means she produces 495 pieces (110 percent X 400) and she is paid Rs2.20 per
hour (110 percent X Rs2.00). In this case:

The operator earns 9 hours X Rs2.20 = Rs19.80 per day

The company pays Rs19.80 / 495 = Rs0.0400 per piece

Therefore, it doesn't cost the company any more money per unit for the operator to make more

Key Pont in incentive system is to remember that any incentive system will be only as good as
the administration of the system. Install controls so that plan does not get out of control. The
objective is to protect earnings not overprotect.

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During the production of garments the operator’s finished work is audited in an in-line
inspection. A quality inspector moves from one operator to another at random inspecting a
predetermined number of parts from a finished bundle.

In-process inspector:

If the in-line inspector finds a defect in a part he is inspecting he should:

• Take defective part/parts out of the bundle

• Take part to the operator’s immediate supervisor
• Give the part to the supervisor to examine while inspector explains the defect found.
• Decide with the supervisor whether it is actually a defective part and if defective the
supervisor should return the part to the operator.
• Go back to the operator and mark the bundle as rejected with a red card or cloth and fill in
the appropriate paperwork for the inspection and mark the workstation with the quality
banner to signal that follow-up bundles have not been cleared.
• Continue to the next operator selected randomly from the list of operators and perform the
inspection based on the approved sampling plan.
• If an operator has a bundle rejected then all bundles coming from that operator are going
to be checked by the quality inspector until three consecutive bundles are free of defects.
At this point the red quality banner will be removed. Follow-up bundles are inspected in
the same fashion (audit not 100% inspection)
• The quality banner helps the inspector remember to inspect the follow-up bundles from
that operator and also helps the supervisor identify what operators are having quality
• Make sure that the element of surprise exists when doing an inspection. Inspections should
always be performed at random and should never follow patterns. Following a
predetermined path in the line can hint operators you are going to inspect their work next.
Inspect operators at random.
• Make sure that only the defined numbers of units are inspected. No more, no less.
• The units inspected should always be taken randomly from the bundle to ensure that the
sample taken is representative from the bundle. Taking samples only from the top of the
bundle is not correct and can give skewed results.
• The frequency at which the inspections are taken is vital. Spend only the necessary time
inspecting a bundle so you can have a larger number of inspections daily.

Section supervisor:

The supervisor is responsible that the operators in his/her section perform adequately in their

• If a quality inspector approaches the supervisor with a defective unit he or she should:

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• Greet the inspector do not ignore him/her
• inspect the part according to the quality specifications
• if it is defective let the inspector know you understand it is a defective part and you are
going to address the part with the operator.
• As soon as possible take the part to the operator and approach the situation appropriately:

• Approach operator with defective garment

• Ask operator kindly to stop her work and pay you attention
• Explain defect found and ask if she understands why garment is defective
• Make sure operator understands why it is defective
• Try to find out why the defect was created or why it was not detected at the
• Restate the company’s commitment to quality
• Ask operator to inspect the current bundle for more defective parts and then repair
all parts that are out of tolerance including the one found by the inspector. This
should be done immediately.
• Stay and observe sewing method
• Make sure method is being followed

• If necessary review the operator’s card with the operator to see if this was an isolated
occasion or if it is a recurring problem. Try to motivate the operator to continue working
with good quality.
• The supervisor leaves the operator repairing the defects. The supervisor should return
after some time to make sure all work has been inspected and the defects repaired.
• Before the bundles continue to the next operation the supervisor should be sure that there
are no defects in them. All bundles coming from that operator are to be checked by the
quality inspector until three consecutive bundles are free of defects. If there are defects in
the bundles following a rejection, you could say the supervisor is not doing a good job of
ensuring quality in that operation.


At the end of a section there will be an inspection made to all parts exiting the section. The
inspections should be effective in identifying all defects in a garment. To ensure all seams and
quality characteristics are inspected in a short period of time a defined inspection method
should be followed.

The inspection operators should have their forms filled out 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.

From the 100% inspection forms the supervisor should analyze what are the 2
operators/operations with the highest defect frequency. For these operators/operations the

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supervisor should identify the type of defects found most often, the cause (machine/method),
and the frequency at which the type of defects happen.

With this information the supervisor should address the problems, correct the possible causes
and make plans to prevent them.

The inspection form is totaled 4 times a day so a supervisor can actually see the results of
what he or she has done to stop defects.


The production supervisor is responsible of the operator’s work so it is of utmost importance

that he or she has control over the quality level at which the operators produce. To prevent
repairs and to ensure good quality there is a useful tool called “Quality Drill”. It is very
effective in making operators quality conscious.

During this exercise you confirm to the operator the commitment to good quality that the
company has made and motivate him/her to produce with quality.

The procedure is the following:

1. Ask the operator to stop what he is doing and stand up.

2. Give the masking tape to mark defects
3. Ask the operator to inspect, based on the Quality Specification, the bundle in which he is
working on, the bundle he has already finished, and the bundle he is going to work on
next. This way the operator has the chance to see if the work he is doing is of good
quality and also make sure that the work he is receiving from the previous operation is not
4. Ask the operator to mark any part that is out of tolerance with the tape
5. Ask the operator to do it while standing up and when he or she is finished he should signal
the supervisor that he is ready to have the results evaluated.
6. The supervisor makes sure that the instructions have been understood and then leaves to
continue with the regular activities.
7. When the operator has signaled that he is finished, the supervisor returns
8. The supervisor then proceeds to inspect at random a number of parts of any bundle. If he
is to find a defective part he should separate it and ask the operator why the part was not
identified. If there are no defective parts found by the supervisor he turns to the operator
and asks the operator to show him the defective parts he found.
9. If the operator has found no defects then the supervisor should select a part and ask the
operator to explain why this part is of acceptable quality. The operator should be able to
explain why based on the points described in the quality specification.
10. If defective parts have been identified then the operator should explain why they are
defective based on the points described in the quality specification.

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11. If the supervisor notices that the operator is not very clear of what the requirements for his
operation are or how to find out if these requirements have been met or not, then the
quality specification sheet should be reviewed point by point.
12. If the supervisor notices that the operator “overlooks” the defects then the supervisor
should review with him the importance of doing a job properly every time.

The contact that a supervisor and the operator have during the Quality Drill is very valuable.
During this time the commitment of everyone to guarantee a job well done is strengthened. At
this time the operator should be encouraged to learn what the requirements for his operation
are and he is complimented if he know them wholeheartedly and works to achieve them every

This exercise should be performed on standard time and at least once a day. If you are having
quality problems with an operator you should increase the frequency of the exercise even to
one exercise an hour.

It is necessary that the trainer and the supervisor explain the importance of the
Quality Drill to the operators stressing that its sole purpose is to help them improve their
quality. The initial resistance by the operators is normal, but as soon as positive results from
the exercise are seen, the operators will take the initiative to do the exercise themselves.

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