Time and Action Plan for Garment Merchandising

Time and Action Plan for Garment Merchandising

Shubham Anil Jain
Department of Textiles (Fashion Technology)
DKTE’S Textile & Engineering Institute, Ichalkaranji, India
Email: shubhamajain125@gmail.com


TNA is a Time and action calendar plan, is one of the most useful project management tools which was basically developed for garments merchandiser and production team. In garment manufacturing, the process start from receiving order and ends at delivery of order to customer, so simply TNA plan is creating a time calendar to accomplish whole export order from starting to closing. Time and Action plan is decisive for a manufacturing process. A flawless and strictly stick, time and action plan can prove to be a quite aid for the manufacturer.

time and action plan in garment industry
Photo: Shutterstock

Generally, spreadsheet (excel) is used by merchandiser to make TNA, it is like a merchandiser work planning sheet. This planning sheet prepared on excel is called time and action (TNA) calendar. Time and action plan (TNA) is very much important and advantageous for apparel industry. TNA can be reviewed and modified in different meetings like Pre-Production meeting, Pilot Run meeting, etc.

Why time and action plan is necessary in garment industry?

When we see the structure or work flow of garment industry, each order is like a project to a merchandiser because from order receiving to completion of an order it involves a numerous tasks of various timelines and utilization of various equipments and resources, number of processes, lot of people, etc. Similarly every time the order will be unique in terms of process, time demand, style etc. So here TNA comes in picture and plays a very important role.

  1. A detailed and cleared plan with well-defined responsibility is must required in order to complete each order on time. So with the help of a time and action calendar we can get the ideal date, time period within which the major activities of an order should occur.
  2. TNA gives the update of the running order and find out if any problem is there.
  3. Making TNA is just like doing forecasting, which is very useful for the order execution in future, because of this it makes merchandiser more pro-active in work.
  4. It helps to save lot of time to merchandiser during manufacturing and eliminate unnecessary activity.
  5. It helps to identify the delay time of different departments of garment industry, and identify the current status of the product.
  6. When it come to handle two or more project at a time, it may create confusion for merchandiser but having a well structured Time and Action plan for each order can reduces the confusion of multiple running order.

Format of TNA
Generally merchandisers prepare a TNA of the order in a spreadsheet (Excel) by listing down the various key processes in first column and planned date of action for each process in the next column. Once TNA calendar is made, then the merchandiser list down their daily ‘to do list’ and taking it one after other. As per TNA plan processes can be executed on daily basis to track whether an order is on track or it will get delayed.

Following information must be available, while preparing TNA:

  • Process flow of an order to be executed with the list of various tasks which need to be done.
  • Production capacity of various departments such as cutting, sewing, washing and finishing.
  • When sewing process is considered, batch wise and product wise capacity (production per day per batch).
  • Lead time of activities, e.g. raw material lead time, sampling lead time, etc.
  • Different dates such as shipment date or planned ex-factory date.

Normally TNA is not dependable on fabric used in merchandise like woven or knits. TNA is mostly depends on the particular process flow of an order, machine and equipment requirement and available production capacity. Planned cutting date (PCD) and ex-factory date these are the two most critical dates in TNA plan.


TNA for formal shirt manufacturing order:
The TNA derived by assuming the order of 50000 pieces of formal shirts, made out of PV blend, plain woven solid dyed fabric, with embroidery logo on it. The order is for SS 2019, delivery date 1stApril 2019, shipment at America.

time and action calendar in garment industry
Fig: Time and Action Calendar (Click on Image for large size)

What are the key processes of TNA?

1. Sampling

Sampling is the first and most critical task and hence need to plan in TNA very carefully and systematically, there are various types of samples which is prepared in sampling stage which are very important, so any deviation or delay in that will affect the whole TNA.

Proto sampleDepending upon buyers enquiry date the submission of proto sample is done. Any lag in proto submission or approval will disturb order conformation date, which will subsequently affect the submission of fabric development, fit sample and subsequent process, as without proto approval it’s impossible to proceed further.
Fit sampleOnce there is approval of proto sample manufacturer starts preparing fit sample that needs to submit exactly as planned date. Normally within 45 days of proto approval fit sample must be submitted as to get the sample of bulk fabric it takes 20-25 working days to get in-house.
Salesman sampleThese samples are normally submitted along with fit sample. The same time period is allotted for salesman. These samples mainly used for advertising purpose or for visual merchandising or by sales man to collect the order from retailers; hence from buyer’s perspective, submission of this samples on time is very important.
Size-set sampleThese samples are prepared and approved for size set by buyer. Once the size set approval is done then bulk fabric for production should be cut in order, so that if any changes is made by buyer can be accommodated in bulk production. So, any delay in this sample will directly affect PCD and subsequently affect the shipment date.
GPT sampleWhile preparing the TNA, merchandiser must aware that test results of this sample should get approved from buyer in advance of PP meeting. For approval of GPT Generally 20 days are kept in TNA for approval of GPT to deal with any delay in the process. Generally this sample is sent to either third party inspection or in-house testing lab.
Pilot-runBefore starting the actual production or to see what will be the restrictions in actual production pilot run is carried out, so that we can give sufficient time for operations. In TNA preparation 1 day is kept for pilot run.
Top of production sampleOnce production starts the initial few pieces which come out of line (TOP sample) need to submit to buyer. If by chance the samples get rejected by buyer then production end date is going to be delayed. This will directly affects the shipment date.

2. Fabric and trim sourcing:

Fabric and trim sourcing is very important and time TDS process which includes desk loom and lab-dip approvals, trim and art work approval, FPT approval. The lead time of fabric sourcing is generally 30-60 days depending upon type of fabric.

Fabric approvalsOnce the proto samples get approved, merchandiser needs to submit lab-dip samples for colour conformation. Lab-dip approval itself is a long process and takes 10-15 working days for one attempt. Hence while preparing the TNA merchandiser must keep in mind the complexity of this process and must keep some buffer for this.
Trims and art workTimely approval of trims and accessories is very important. Trim production and shipment is also time consuming process, hence while preparing the TNA 25 working days buffer is kept between submission date
Fabric Performance Test (FPT)Before the submission of fit sample FPT report must be approved by buyer, as fit sample submitted in similar fabric. Once the FPT fabric is approved, supplier can ship the fabric to garment manufacturer. Any delay in this will affect the planned date.

3. Production

The most important part of any TNA is actual production. Following activities need to consider while preparing TNA.

Planned Cut DateIt is one of the most important dates in TNA. As lead time of trims and fabric production and availability for garment production is controlled by sourcing department, so sourcing department is very important here. In some order, washing, printing is required hence merchandiser need to take care of the lead time requirement for the same including necessary buffer.
Productions start and end dateOnce the PCD is achieved the actual production should start. Any deviation in this date will prominently affect the TOP sample submission date and shipment date.

The calculation for production days is done by following formula,

No of days required for production,
days required for garment production

Finishing and packing As finishing and packing is also important, so once first lot comes out of production, finishing and packing get started. This can be started along with production.

What are the factors to be considered while preparing TNA?

  1. Merchandiser should know the production capacity of plant and accordingly, he should prepare plan.
  2. Should know the Style type and design of merchandise, so accordingly allocate no of days in TNA.
  3. No of festivals of manufacturing country and holidays plays a very important while preparing plan.
  4. Shipment details of the order should be clearly known by merchandiser, while preparing TNA.
  5. Should know logistics facilities of industry, i.e. management of materials flow through an organization.
  6. Lead time estimated by buyer, is the most important think that merchandiser should keep in mind while preparing plan.
  7. Style complications, fabric and trims manufacturing complications should be considered while preparing TNA, so proper amount of buffer can be added in it.
  8. Response time from buyer at different stages also plays important role when plan is prepared.

As we know that apparel manufacturing requires a collaboration of many people, organizations, suppliers, buyer, and manufacturers and to see that all the tasks are completing on time and in required manner, that’s why merchandiser prepare Time and action calendar and carry out all the activities according to it. Any delay in the order will create bad impression of organization to buyer and may be buyer will not give any order next time to that organization, so TNA is a very important tool for timely shipment of the order. It is just like a summary of whole order which has to be executed. Merchandiser has to prepare very good and comfortable TNA by understanding all the pros and cons of the order. If cleared and well defined TNA is prepared and followed  then it results in proper execution of the order, proper follow up, good management of resources and inventory, improve customer service and satisfaction, and overall enhancement of reputation and profit to the organization.


  1. Apparel Merchandising by R. Rathinamoorthy and R. Surjit
  2. Fashion Marketing Management by A. Arunraj and V. Ramesh Babu
  3. How to Maintain Time & Action Plan (TNA) in Apparel Industry, http://textilemerchandising.com/maintain-time-action-tna-plan/
  4. Fashion merchandising: time and action calendar by Textile Today an innovation hub, https://www.textiletoday.com.bd/fashion-merchandising-time-and-action-calendar/
  5. Time and Action Calendar in Apparel Merchandising Limitations in the Conventional Approach to TNA, https://apparelresources.com/business-news/manufacturing/time-action-calendar-apparel-merchandising-limitations-conventional-approach-tna/
  6. Time Management In Merchandising, https://www.fibre2fashion.com/industry-article/1803/time-management-in-merchandising

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