How to Reduce Lead Time in Garment Manufacturing

How to Reduce Lead Time in Garment Manufacturing

Swati Wadekar
Executive IE officer at Pratibha Syntex, Indore


The total amount of time required for to complete the entire production process of a garment, from the order placement to the delivery of the product called lead time in garment manufacturing. There are many processes involved in this, like dying, designing, printing, cutting, sewing, quality checking and shipping. In short lead time in garment manufacturing is the time between placing the order and deliver the product to the customer. Customers expect to purchase and receive products in a timely manner, so understanding what lead time is, how you can decrease it, and how it can impact the customer experience are all insights that can help you take your business to the next level. Today we will talk about how to better understand lead time in garment manufacturing and how we can reduce it.

Lead Time in Garment Manufacturing

How to Calculate Lead Time:
There isn’t one way to calculate lead time, but the most common is to subtract the order request date from the order delivery date or calculate all days from initial order placing to shipment of the product.

Little Law (Lean Six Sigma, by M.George, 2002, McGraw Hill) is used to calculate the process lead time by dividing the number of items in process by the completions per hour through this process lead time.[1]

Factors that Impact on the Lead Time in Garment Manufacturing:
There are no any specific rules as lead times vary supplier to supplier. It can be depending on country of origin.

A general guide is that (when buying from the UK) European and UK based suppliers have shorter lead times than suppliers in Asia and China. European suppliers usually have lead times between 4 and 10 weeks and Asia/China Suppliers usually have lead times between 10 and 18 weeks.

The type of product you make can also impact on lead times. Garments that require a lot of workmanship like Kangaroo pocket hoodie longer lead times than T shirts which are relatively easier to make.

The size of your brand can impact on the lead time you are quoted by a supplier.

Fabrication and make up can also affect lead times, specially woven fabrics, labour intensive stitches or knitted fabrics can all increase the lead time. [2]

How to Reduce Lead Time in Garment Manufacturing Industries:
Reducing lead time in garment manufacturing can improve customer satisfaction and improve efficiency. Some points are given below to reduce lead time in garment manufacturing.

1. Implement lean manufacturing principles:
Lean manufacturing principles focus on eliminating waste, reducing lead times, and improving efficiency. By implementing lean principles, manufacturers can improve the overall efficiency of their operations, reduce lead times, and improve product quality.

2. Technology adoption:
Invest in technology such as computer-aided design (CAD) for the pattern making and cutting, 3D printing is used for creating prototypes and custom clothing items, CAD (Computer Aided Design) is fully implemented and CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing) is partly implemented by all the more successful companies. CAD supports achieving shorter late times due to its speed in designing for different sizes of the same design. CAM also saves time by avoiding man handling materials and meeting higher accuracy levels and speed of the manufacturing operations. RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) technology help in tracking and managing inventory, improving supply chain management. Overall, technology adoption in garment manufacturing is driven by the need to improve efficiency, reduce costs.

3. Improve production planning and scheduling:
By the accurate production plan, manufacturers can avoid delays and reduce the amount of time it takes to produce each product. Accurate planning and scheduling ensures that each task is completed in the most efficient order and timely manner. We can improve production process by the implementing real-time monitoring systems, optimizing production based on demand, collaborating with suppliers, and implementing a continuous improvement program.

4. Implement improvement processes:
By implementing continuous improvement processes, manufacturers can identify the issues that are causing delays in production. We can analyze data of the process of production and identify the suitable solutions for that and implement them.

5. Reduce setup and changeover times:
Setup and changeover times can be a major source of delays in manufacturing. For the reducing time in changeovers in the production line we need to do proper plan of needed machines, manpower, availability of trims and fabric etc. We can measure the setup time by the SMED (one of the lean manufacturing technology).

6. Improve supply chain management:
Improving supply chain management can be crucial to helping reduce delays in sourcing material. Here are some points to improve supply chain management.

  • Develop a good relationship with the supplier.
  • Increase data visibility.
  • Take advantage of technology.
  • Route optimization.
  • Inventory management.

Benefits of Reducing Lead Time Management in Garment Manufacturing:
By reducing the lead time we can improve the quality and production.

  1. Boosting inflow of money
  2. Improved delivery reliability
  3. Enhance customer contentment
  4. Less wasted resources
  5. Improve forecasting accuracy in process

Understanding and managing lead time in garment is essential for both efficiency and customer satisfaction. The diverse factors influencing lead time, such as supplier location, product complexity, brand size, and fabrication techniques, require careful consideration.

To reduce lead time, manufacturers should adopt lean manufacturing principles, leverage technology, enhance production planning, implement continuous improvement processes, and streamline setup and changeover times. Additionally, effective supply chain management, including building strong supplier relationships and utilizing technology, plays a vital role in minimizing delays. Decreasing your manufacturing late time can help you boost cells in a wide variety of ways, while also helping you save money by streamlining your inventory management so you are not paying to carry stock you don’t need. That is a win-win situation, but you will need to understand and take control of your late times to make it work.

By implementing these strategies, garment manufacturers can not only improve their operational efficiency but also meet the demands of a competitive market, ultimately leading to satisfied customers and successful businesses.


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You may also like:

  1. Implementation of SMED in Garment Industry
  2. Implementation of Quick Changeover in Garment Industry
  3. How to Calculate Work in Progress (WIP) in Garment Industry

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1 thought on “How to Reduce Lead Time in Garment Manufacturing”

  1. Understanding and managing lead time in garment manufacturing is crucial for efficiency and customer satisfaction. This insightful article delves into the complexities of lead time, offering valuable strategies to reduce it. From adopting lean manufacturing principles to enhancing supply chain management, these approaches can drive operational efficiency and ultimately lead to satisfied customers and thriving businesses.


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