Quality Control for the Apparel Industry (Domestic/Export)

Last Updated on 12/01/2021

QUALITY CONTROL FOR THE APPAREL INDUSTRY – (DOMESTIC / EXPORT)

R.S. Balakumar
Associate Professor
Dept of Fashion Design & Arts
Hindustan University, Chennai, India
Email: rsbalakumar1953@gmail.com

 

QUALITY CONTROL REQUIREMENTS
The Quality Control Requirements are based on the principle of PDCA Cycle.

PDCA Cycle
Fig: PDCA Cycle
  1. Understanding the customers quality requirements
  2. Organizing & training quality control department
  3. Ensuring proper flow of quality requirements to the QC department
  4. Ensuring proper flow of quality requirements to the production Department
  5. Establishing quality plans, parameters, inspection systems, frequency, sampling techniques, etc.
  6. Inspection, testing, measurements as per plan
  7. Record deviations
  8. Feedback to production Department
  9. Plan for further improvement
Quality Control System for the Apparel Industry
Fig: Quality Control System for the Apparel Industry

ESTABLISHING THE QUALITY REQUIREMENTS
The first step for quality control is to understand, establish and accept the customers quality requirements. This involves the following steps.

  1. Getting customers specifications regarding the quality
  2. Referring our past performance
  3. Discussing with the Quality Control Department
  4. Discussing with the production Department
  5. Giving the Feed Back to the customers
  6. Receiving the revised quality requirements from the customers
  7. Accepting the quality parameters

FLOW CHART FOR SPECIFICATIONS AND QUALITY PARAMETERS

Flow chart of quality control for the apparel industry
Fig: Flow chart of quality control for the apparel industry

VARIOUS LEVELS OF INSPECTION & QUALITY CONTROL
The following levels are discussed at the Garment Making Department assuming that this department is receiving the ready to cut dyed & finished fabrics from the Dyeing & Finishing Department.

PRE-PRODUCTION INSPECTION
The following parameters & defects are checked prior to cutting.

  • Shade matching
  • Fabric construction
  • GSM (grams per square meter)
  • Whales & Courses if required
  • Diameter
  • Dyeing Levelness
  • Ecological parameters if required
  • Softness
  • Shrinkage
  • Matching of Rib, Collars & Cuffs
  • Fabric Holes
  • Vertical & Horizontal Stripes
  • Knitting defects such as missing loops, sinker lines, etc.
  • Bowing
  • Skewing
  • Yarn defects such as thick & thin places
  • Darts & Stains

DURING PRODUCTION INSPECTION

  • Verify cutting patterns
  • Cut components measurements
  • Cutting shapes
  • Fabric defects
  • Rib, Collars & Cuffs matching
  • Stitching defects
  • Sewing threads matching
  • Dirt & Stains
  • Measurements
  • Labels
  • Trims & Accessories

BEFORE PACKING INSPECTION
Many of the important parameters of Pre-productions, during productions & final inspection parameters. This is to ensure that wrong or major defective garments are not packed.

FINAL INSPECTION

A. PACKING & ASSORTMENT

  • Wrong model
  • Wrong quantity
  • Missing labels & tags
  • Wrong size & Colour assortment
  • Wrong folding

B. FABRIC DEFECTS

  • Wrong shade
  • Uneven dyeing
  • Holes
  • Knitting stripes
  • Thick & Thin places
  • Dirt & Stains
  • Oil stains
  • Sinker line
  • Poor softness
  • Higher Shrinkage
  • Crease marks

C. WORKMANSHIP DEFECTS

  • Open seam
  • Puckering
  • Needle holes & marks
  • Unbalanced sleeve edge
  • Unbalanced placket
  • Insecure shoulder stitch
  • Incorrect side shape
  • Bottom hem bowing
  • Uneven neck shape
  • Cross labels
  • Broken & Missing stitch
  • In secured buttons
  • Untrimmed threads & fabrics
  • Poor ironing
  • Double stitch

D. GENERAL DEFECTS

  • Shade variation within the garment parts
  • Shade variation between the garments
  • Defective printing
  • Defective embroidery
  • Defective buttons

E. MEASUREMENT DEVIATIONS
Compare the garment measurements against the Customers Measurement Charts. Following are the some of the important garments measurement aspects to be considered.

  • Garment length
  • Body width
  • Shoulder length
  • Arm hole
  • Arm opening
  • Sleeve length
  • Placket length
  • Placket width
  • Neck width
  • Neck opening
  • Hemming width
  • Rib or Collar width

AQL (ACCEPTABLE QUALITY LEVEL)
A certain proportion of defective will always occur in any manufacturing process. If the percentage does not exceed a certain limit, it will be economical to allow the defective to go through instead of screening the entire lot. This limit is called the “Acceptable Quality Level” (AQL)

Considering the practical & economic aspects, Sampling Techniques are adopted to accept or reject a Lot on the basis of the Samples drawn at Random from the lot. It has been found and accepted that a scientifically designed sampling & inspection plan protects a Manufacturer as well as the Buyer economically.

American Military standards known as MIL-STD-105A to 105E is accepted worldwide for sampling sizes. It has the following sample size levels. Normally for Garment Industry 105D or 105E are followed.

ECOLOGICAL PARAMETERS
Now all the Customers are asking for Ecological Parameters. Now European Buyers are stressing this. Following are main Ecological Parameters to be considered.

  1. pH range
  2. Formaldehyde levels
  3. Extractable heavy metals
  4. Chlorinated phenols (PCP, Te CP)
  5. Forbidden Amines of MAK III A1& A2 categories
  6. Pesticides
  7. Chlorinated Organic carriers
  8. Biocide finishes
  9. Flame retardant finishes
  10. Colour fastness to water
  11. Colour fastness to acid & alkali perspiration
  12. Colour fastness to saliva
  13. Colour fastness to wet & dry rubbing
  14. Emission of volatile chemicals
  15. Other specific parameters as required by the customers

Conclusion:
Quality control system in apparel industry plays an vital role and will build up good relationship between buyer and manufacturer. Now a day’s customers prefer to buy the goods to satisfy their requirements. To build up good relationship between manufacturer and customer, quality control system is always helping as a wonderful bridge between them.

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  5. Basic Concept of Quality, Quality Control and Inspection in Apparel Industry
  6. Statistical Quality Control in Apparel Industry

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