Waste directly hits your bottom line. You invest money, time, and effort without increasing the value of your products or generating revenue. You can save many thousands of dollars by reducing waste.

Many manufacturers accept waste as a normal cost of business. One Parellax client (a medium-sized 1,500 person woven-wear manufacturing factory in China) analyzed its waste at every step of the manufacturing process, from sample making, material receiving and inventory, through cutting/knitting, sewing/linking, and finishing, to packing. They found waste at every stage.

Here are their findings:

Sample production waste:

1. Mistakes in design communication

2. Craftsmanship problems

HK$300,000 per year wasted!

Cutting floor waste:

1. Wrong color or shade

2. Fabric faults

HK$ 350,000 per year wasted!

Sewing department waste:

1. Machine problems

2. Faulty craftsmanship

HK$ 600,000 per year wasted!

Outsourcing waste:

1. Dying

2. Embroidery

HK$ 80,000 per year wasted!

Problems detected during final inspection:

1. Ironing problems

2. Measurement problems

HK$ 150,000 per year wasted!

This is almost HK$1,480,000 per year but actually it understates the problem. The worst waste is the problems you do not detect and that you ship to your customers resulting in customer claims and lost orders.

Should an annual waste of 1.5 million HK$ be an industry norm?

Do we accept this as an industry norm or can we automate and streamline processes to reduce waste? In the 1970's, Toyota imposed an industrial management concept, known as TQM (Total Quality Management):

1. Commit to achieve a high quality product and customer satisfaction.

2. Aim to identify and eliminate product defects.


4. Design a process to address all quality problems at every step of production.

5. Analyze and implement methodology to improve the quality.

If every stage in the production of a garment is executed correctly, the end result will be perfect. The only way to achieve this goal is to identify each fault, determine its cause, and find a way to prevent recurrences. It is essential, therefore, to maintain a quality history of each garment from the moment it is "born" raw staring from the moment materials arrive at your factory to the moment the customer inspects and approves the finished garments.

  • When material first arrives, the receiving department should perform a laboratory quality analysis to ensure that you money putting sub par materials onto the cutting and sewing floors.

  • After you cut fabric inspectors should check the pieces for size and cut quality so imperfect pieces do not continue along the production line to increase your wastage problem.

  • More waste can ensue when unskilled workers are doing the sewing or the machines themselves have problems.

The Parellax MAE Garment ERP system has a number of built-in gateway features that will help you eliminate this kind of waste.

Quality gateway in pre-production:

As material arrives, your staff enters lab test information into MAE. MAE generates a report and sends an alert to prevent the batch from going into production if the failure rate is too high. The system also records the failure rate of the particular supplier, providing a guide for future sourcing.

The receiving department has passed the material to inventory.

Quality gateway on the production line:

Before your workers move the pieces on to the sewing floor they record details of the inspection, including any fabric defects or errors in the cutting process, in MAE. MAE records the rate of failure and its source.

Workers then move the cut pieces in bundles to the sewing line, where QA staff scan bundle tickets and record into the system any pieces that are faulty. MAE automatically sends this information to the specific workers wage record.

Quality gateway in the final inspection:

The semi-finished garments are now ready for the finishing department, where inspectors will reject defective items.

The information that you enter into MAE during this process gives you a complete quality history for each garment. You can analyze defects, determine how they occurred, when they occurred, and who was responsible and then formulate a strategy to eliminate them at their source.

Eliminating rework is a key element in Total Quality Management and Parellax MAE can help you do this. In recent years, we have worked with consulting partners to implement TQM and Six Sigma Quality system for several garment factories and have found that integrating information is a key factor in the QC process.

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