How to Increase Productivity in Garment Industry

Last Updated on 28/10/2021

How to Increase Productivity in Garment Industry

R.S. Balakumar
Associate Professor
Dept of Fashion Design & Arts
Hindustan University, Chennai, India


What is productivity?
In simple words, is the relationship between Output and Input. The output in garment manufacturing factories can be pieces of finished garments. The output of sections within the factories could be metres of the fabric inspected in fabric inspection section, cut components in cutting section, number of garments ironed in the ironing section and soon. The examples of input are man hours, machine hours, metres of fabric is being consumed (or) electricity consumed productivity can be calculated as follows

Productivity = ……………………..

Productivity is mainly based on with the expected output per sewing operator is 25 pieces of Jeans per shift and the operator productivity in terms of efficiency becomes 20/25 = 80%. The expression is to be called as “productive efficiency”.

Partial productivity is the ratio of output to one class of input. I have labour productivity it means (The ratio of output to labour input) is known as partial measure. Likewise, material productivity means (The ratio of total output to material out Put) and machine productivity means (The ratio of output to machine input) are the suitable examples for partial productivity. Total productivity is refers the ratio of total output to the sum of all input factors. It is a type of higher level of productivity assessment combining several partial productivity measures. In this article I will discuss how to increase productivity in garment industry.

Increase Productivity in Garment Industry

Apparel manufacturers in international level will prefer to use partial productivity measures like labour or machine productivity. This is very much easy to evaluate its performance or to plan further improvement.

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According to the Author of the book “Introduction to clothing production management” by A.J. Chuter, In an incentive based payment environment the amount of time the operators are able to do the task they are trained for in an unhindered fashion can be called “hours on standard” or on incentive. For some proportion of time during the work shift, the operators may not be able to work on their assigned task with full efficiency due to various reason like machine delays, waiting for work, repairs or doing an operation one is not fully trained in, etc. This time is called “off incentive” or “off standard time. The performance level of operators drops during off incentive time, as they only earn a fixed hourly rate without incentive”.

Factors that cause loss in garment productivity:

Annual labor turnover24%
Methods effectiveness90%
Average factory performance90%
Repairs returned to operatives10%
Machine delay ideal1%
Machine delay other work4%
Unmeasured work20%
Others repair2%
Waiting time1%
Balancing losses5%
Work study1%

Source: “Introduction to clothing production management” – A.J. Chuter.

To increase productivity in garment industry the following Do’s and Don’ts are to be considered according to Dr/ Rajesh Bheda – Professor at the dept. of GMT, NIFT, New Delhi.


  1. It is a must for every apparel producer, to start measuring productivity on a continuous basis.
  2. Productivity must be measured at various levels starting from operator / machine level, going up to plant level.
  3. Measure productivity in physical as well as value terms against all the quantifiable inputs.
  4. Monitor productivity performance to track improvement over a period of time.
  5. Do not accept claims of people without clearly spelt out evidence on productivity improvement.


  1. Ignore productivity measurement as unnecessary paper work.
  2. Assume your team understands what productivity is its true importance and the amount of value productivity improvement can add to your organization.
  3. Leave productivity improvement initiatives to your people thinking that it is common sense.
  4. It better need to show commitment to productivity improvement and lead the team, after all “common sense is not common” and you cannot run away from your responsibility of leading by example. To increase the higher ratio of Approval productivity in apparel industries the following total productivity maintenance all to be introduced. (TPM)

Benefits of TPM are mentioned below:

  1. Increased equipment productivity
  2. Reduced equipment down time
  3. Increased plant capacity
  4. Lower maintenance and production cost.
  5. Approaching zero equipment – caused defects
  6. Improved return on investment (ROI)
  7. Rectified customer complaints
  8. Reduced inside plant accidents
  9. Ensuring pollution control measures
  10. Better understanding of the performance of equipment’s.
  11. Better understanding of critical equipment and the worth of deploying improvement effort for potential benefits.
  12. Improved work team and a less adversarial approach between production and maintenance
  13. Improved procedures for change overs and set ups
  14. Better training of operators and maintainers
  15. General increased involvement of the work force
  16. Multi skill training to be given among the workers
  17. On the job training line to be established inside the sewing floor
  18. Giving rewards and awards to productivity based workers
  19. Medical, educational, housing benefits to be given to employees will always make them as a loyal employees; continuously work in one factory for a longer time.
  20. Fringe benefits tend to increase higher productivity constantly to meet over the customer’s requirements.

Pillars of Total productive maintenance are as follows:

  • Five 5 policy implementation
  • Jishu kozen (Autonomous maintenance)
  • Kaizen
  • Planned maintenance
  • Quality maintenance
  • Training
  • Office TPM
  • Safety, Health and environment

Five 5 policy means:

  1. Seiri (Sort out)
  2. Seiton (organize)
  3. Seiso (shine the work place)
  4. Seiton (standardization)
  5. Shitsuke (Self-discipline)

Today’s world class improvement of Japanese productivity increased only because of these 5-s policy matters.

Kaizen means ‘Change for the better’ in Japanese. The best English equivalent is “improvement” Kai and Zen which means change and good respectively.

Kaizen model consists of five elements which are Teamwork, personal discipline, breakthrough improvements and activities to sustain such improvements.

To increase the higher productivity in garment industry must adopt the above mentioned applications inside the plant, these implementations are surely increase the constant rate of higher productivity in the world wide Apparel Industries.


  1. Introduction to clothing production management by A.J. Chuter
  2. Production and operations management by R. Panneer Selvam
  3. Apparel manufacturing Analysis by Jacob Solinger.

You may also like:

  1. Flow Chart of Apparel Manufacturing Process
  2. Safety Measures for Garment Industry According to Buyer Requirements
  3. How to Calculate Operator Working Rating in Garment Industry
  4. An Overview of the Readymade Garment Industry in India
  5. Process Sequence of Cutting Section in Garment Manufacturing
  6. Operation of Sewing Section | Process Breakdown of Basic Shirt
  7. Role of Production Supervisor in Garment Industry
  8. How to Improve Productivity and Efficiency in Weaving Mill
  9. Duties and Responsibilities of the Apparel Industrial Engineer
  10. How to Improve Productivity and Saving Cost in Sewing Department

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