Application of Lean Manufacturing in Garment Industry

Last Updated on 29/12/2020

An Overview of Lean Manufacturing Using in Garment Industry

R. Vignesh,
B.Tech, MBA.,
Planning/Financial Analysis
Sree Santhosh Exports, Tirupur.


What is Lean?
Lean Manufacturing is a systematic approach for eliminating or reducing the process waste through continuous improvement. The Lean approach is based on finding efficiencies and removing wasteful steps that don’t add value to the end product. Lean production is not about eliminating people. Lean manufacturing is an important tool of garment industry for cost reduction.

From the customers’ point of view process waste is anything which does not contribute the product transformation that is all the non value added activities in the process line is known as waste.

A capability provided to a customer at the right time at an appropriate price, as defined in each case by the customer. Features of the product or service, availability, cost and performance are dimensions of value.

Value-Added Activities

  • Transforms materials / information into products & services that…Result in change in terms of form, fit or function
  • The customer is willing to pay for, and..
  • Is done right the 1st time.

Non-Value Added Activities

  • Does not transform
  • The customer “could care less…”, and
  • Creates waste

Lead Time Management

Lead Time Management
Fig: Lead Time Management

Various Names, But the Same Concept

  1. Toyota Production System
  2. Pull Manufacturing
  3. Just-In-Time
  4. World Class Manufacturing
  5. Lean Manufacturing
  6. Short Cycle Manufacturing
  7. One-Piece-Flow
  8. Cellular Manufacturing
  9. Demand Flow Manufacturing
  10. Stockless Production
  11. Focused Flow Manufacturing
  12. Agility
  13. Value Adding Manufacturing
  14. Group Technology
  15. Time Based Management
  16. Synchronous Flow Manufacturing
  17. End-Lining Operations
  18. Continuous Flow Manufacturing

Lean Manufacturing Application or Implementation in Garment Industry
The Lean concept is just as applicable to offices and other work environments as it is to manufacturing plants. It’s helpful to relate words like “inventory,” “customers,” and “production” to whatever you’re processing – data, documents, knowledge, services, and so on.

Traditional Garment Manufacturing Process

  • Effective utilization of capacities which results more products were produced by lesser number of worker & infrastructures.(progressive system)
  • Work in process in very high around 3000 pcs /line
  • Workers & Machines need not wait for the product
  • Product spends more time in manufacturing just waiting
  • Garment defects are very high.
  • This system is not suitable in today’s scenario.

Advantages Lean System

  1. Waste Elimination
  2. Work place Standardization
  3. Effective plant layout
  4. Quality will be enhanced at source level.
  5. Increase the Productivity by 30% from the existing level.
  6. Reduction of Production cost & other Overheads
  7. Reduce the Risk of non compliance and Late Delivery.

Lean Production Vs Mass Production

ActivityMass production systemLean production system
Production typeStock productionCustom production
LayoutFunctional LayoutProduct Layout
Inventory levelHigh levelLow level
SuitabilitySuitable for High order quantitySuitable for low order quantity
Higher Product designNot SuitableHighly suitable
Cost of  ProductionHigher levelLow level
Bundle SizeLowerHigher
Process wasteHigherLower
Product InspectionSample Based inspection is possible100% Inspection possible
Work In progressHighLow

Effect Of Excess Inventory
More Inventory means:

  • More Over Time
  • Delayed shipments
  • Air Freight
  • Poor quality
  • High Absenteeism
  • High Attrition
  • Poor Responsiveness
  • Poor profits
  • High Cost per unit

In reality, no one knows about inventory that much. Factory managers / Supervisors say problems are caused by poor planning, absenteeism, etc.

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