Lean Manufacturing Process in Apparel Industry

Last Updated on 28/10/2021

Lean Manufacturing Process in Apparel Industry
(The New Era in Bangladesh Garments Production)

Imran Khan Emon
Lecturer & Coordinator
Department of Textile Engineering
Atish Dipankar University of Science & Technology
E-mail: emonlam9@gmail.com


The manufacturer wants only production. Now a day’s manufacturers are facing intensive global competition. For competing manufacturer have to use new strategy such as Lean manufacturing tools for improving both productivity & quality. To achieve this, the lean manufacturing strategy use various tools such as 5’s, Kanban, Kaizen, JIT etc. This article clearly explains the lean concepts, its benefits and more beneficial strategy than the traditional process for the manufacturer.

Keywords: lean, tool, manufacturer, traditional, manufacturing, production.

Lean Manufacturing can be defined as “A systematic approach to identifying and eliminating waste through continuous improvement of the product at the demand of the customer.” Taiichi Ohno once said that “Lean Manufacturing is all about looking at the time line from the moment the customer gives us an order to the point when we collect the cash. And we are reducing that time line by removing the non – value added wastes”. Lean always focuses on identifying and eliminating waste and fully utilizing the activities that add value to the final product. From the customer point of view, value is equivalent to anything he is willing to pay for the product or service he receives. Formally value adding activities can be defined as: activities that transform materials and information into products and services the customer wants. On the other hand non-value adding activities can be defined as: activities that consume resources, but do not directly contribute to product or service. This non-value adding activities are the waste in Lean Manufacturing. Waste can be generated due to poor layout (distance), long setup times, incapable processes, poor maintenance practices, poor work methods, lack of training, large batches, ineffective production planning/scheduling, lack of workplace organization etc. By eliminating wastes in the overall process, through continuous improvements the product’s lead time can be reduced remarkably. By reducing lead time organization can obtain operational benefits (enhancement of productivity, reduction in work-in-process inventory, improvement in quality, reduction of space utilization and better work place organization) as well as administrative benefits (reduction in order processing errors, streamlining of customer service functions so that customers are no longer placed on hold, reduction of paperwork in office areas, reduction of labor turnover.)

Lean Manufacturing Process

Main Objectives of Lean Manufacturing in Apparel Industry:

a. Quality: Increasing the quality level of the working process means reducing the number of errors, repairs and rejects. The result is less demand for company resources and therefore lower total operating costs.

b. Reducing through time: Through time is the time that elapses between the company receiving its raw materials and receiving payment for the products produced using those raw materials. Reducing this interval means being able to produce more products in the same time, better rotation of resources and the ability to react faster and more flexibly to satisfy customer needs.

c. Reducing inventory: Inventories eat up space, add considerably to logistics costs and consume significant amounts of financial assets; assets that could be better employed elsewhere.

d. Reducing space: Most companies use far too much space and more personnel than they need to: Lean Manufacturing using the LeanTek system does away with unproductive conveyors, reduces production line length, incorporates previously separate workstations into the main line, and reduces stocks and cuts logistics costs. All these improvements help reduce the need for space and offer the option of earmarking the regained space for future expansion.

e. Reduce Defects & Wastages: Waste is anything that happens to a product that does not add value from the customer’s perspective. Products being stored, inspected or delayed, products waiting in queues, and defective products do not add value.

The 7 wastes are at the root of all unprofitable activity within your organization.

The 7 wastes consist of:

  1. Defects
  2. Overproduction
  3. Transportation
  4. Waiting
  5. Inventory
  6. Motion
  7. Processing

You may also like: 7 Deadly Wastages in Garment Manufacturing

Traditional Apparel Manufacturing Process:
In traditional apparel manufacturing process Work in process (WIP) is very high. Product spends more time in manufacturing, just waiting. In this process garments defects are very high. This system is not suitable in today’s scenario.

A comparison between Traditional and Lean manufacturing process is given below, which is the evidence of benefits of lean manufacturing in apparel industry.

Traditional Manufacturing vs Lean Manufacturing

Inventory levelHighLow
SuitabilityFor low order quantityFor high order quantity
Higher production designNot suitablesuitable
Cost of productionHighLow
Bundle sizeLowHigh
Work in ProcessHighLow
Process wasteHighLow
Production typeStock ProductionCustom Production

Advantages of Lean Manufacturing in Apparel Industry:

  1. Increased overall productivity.
  2. Reduced amount of floor space required for production.
  3. Reduced manufacturing lead time.
  4. Improved flexibility to react to changes in production flow.
  5. Improved quality of the product.

The concept of lean manufacturing is new in Bangladesh. Now most of the factories are trying to implementing these tools & they are getting benefits by improving quality & production rate.


  1. www.lean.org
  2. en.wikipedia.org
  3. www.toyota-global.com
  4. www.leanmanufacturingtools.org

You may also like: Application of Lean Manufacturing in Garment Industry

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