Apparel lean manufacturing promises to increase productivity, reduce cycle time, decrease lead time, eliminate manufacturing waste, improve product quality, and ultimately improve profitability. The Apparel Manufacturing industry’s labor productivity index declined year-over-year. How can fashion, footwear, and apparel companies make lean manufacturing possible?
To stay competitive in the industry, manufacturers of sewn products must continuously improve product quality, production speed, and operational efficiency. Apparel lean manufacturing is a method that reduces production costs and produces more output. It may also help to minimize production times.
WHAT IS LEAN MANUFACTURING?
Lean manufacturing is also known as lean production. It is a method of achieving high-efficiency factory operations by eliminating waste. These are the seven main types of waste:
- Transport (moving goods that aren’t necessary to process the product)
- Inventory includes all components, work in progress, and the finished product that is not being processed.
- The motion refers to people or equipment moving more than necessary to complete the processing.
- Waiting (waiting to the next production step, interruptions during shift changes)
- Overproduction (production above demand)
- Overprocessing (caused by poor product design or tool use)
- Defects (the time and effort required to inspect for and fix defects)
It requires continuous performance improvement. Cost efficiency and operational efficiency can be achieved using several methods:
- Avoiding wasteful activities, such as time loss, excess raw material inputs, and avoidable defects, is key.
- Reduce lead and cycle time
- At every stage of production, reducing inventory
- Improving workforce productivity
- Optimizing equipment and space
It is important to eliminate manufacturing waste and inefficiency so that plant and factory systems can be improved.
LEAN MATERIAL PRINCIPLES
There are many ways to implement lean practices in the fashion, apparel, and footwear industries. However, the core principles of lean manufacturing remain the same.
The 5S method describes how to organize workspaces for efficiency and effectiveness. The 5S methodology outlines how to standardize manufacturing items, how they should store, and how items should be maintained. This helps maintain the new order between workers and managers.
5S can also be translated to:
TOOLS & TECHNOLOGY
Lean apparel manufacturing requires a lean culture and the use of lean tools. Anything that converts materials into the product the customer wants is called value-added activities. Waste should be eliminated at all levels, from reducing the work involved in the process to minimizing production costs to reducing the time lost.
To understand the order and approach, it is necessary to involve all members of the plant culture.
Many of the top apparel and garment manufacturers around the globe have used Manufacturing Shop Floor Control technology to optimize and streamline their factory operations. Shop Floor Control improves labor productivity, standardized processes, and reduces time loss. Shop Floor Control software has seen several recent developments that make it easier, more accurate, and more useful. Next-generation Shop Floor Control solutions now include wireless operator apps to increase mobility and accessibility.
This is in response to rapid technological advancements and digital transformation. There is a growing focus on dashboards that provide actionable Intelligence. This means that big data and complex analysis can be distilled into information that can immediately be applied to improving manufacturing operations.
IMPLEMENTING LEAN MANUFACTURING
Lean manufacturing could be a boon for garment and apparel manufacturers. After an assessment of the plant’s financials and initial assessments, individual manufacturers will decide if lean manufacturing is right for them. Any systematic changes should be discussed at the organizational level. This is because it is crucial that everyone involved in the change process, from the top executives to the line workers, agrees on the need for them. This will allow manufacturing to shift toward the systematic elimination and improvement of waste.
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