Success stories of QMS in automotive and electronic industries are well documented. Success of Indian OEMs in automobile Component industry is largely attributed to TQM. However utility of these tools is often questioned in apparel industry. Having worked as a key member in implementing TQM in apparel industry, I am better placed to answer these anxieties. If low productivity, fire fighting, customer complaints, attrition, are issues with your business, then your organization needs to either tighten the existing QMS or implement one. In this paper an attempt is made to introduce and quantify practical utility of these tools in apparel industry.

Are QMS Suitable for labour intensive industry like Textile and Apparel ?

The answer is abundantly yes. Operations heads in apparel industry often express their inability to standardize the processes due to product variability, unpredictable market (fashion) trends etc. One of the leading aerospace industry implementing TQM is an excellent example to refute these claims1. The company sources components from vendors located across the globe. It is subjected to far more market risk compared to apparel industry, including design changes, interest rates, exchange rates, and commodity prices. The company meets its delivery schedule where the cost of delay is catastrophic. Interestingly it is not the process or product limitation but psychological factors that cause the reluctance among garment professionals in implementing TQM.

History of QMS

In the early days quality was restricted to inspection. In the 1920s statistical theory began to be applied effectively to quality control. Work of Shewhart, Deming, Juran, Dodge and Romig lead the foundation of statistical process control (SPC). In a paper given by Feigenbaum 2, the term total quality was used for the first time, and referred to wider issues such as planning, organization and management responsibility. Ishikawa gave a paper2 explaining how total quality control in Japan was different, it meaning, company wide quality control and describing how all employees, from top management to the workers, must study and participate in quality control.

QMS Defined

A set of co-ordinated activities to direct and control an organization in order to continually improve the effectiveness and efficiency of its performance. 3

Each Quality management systems (TQM, ISO etc) and its elements (Statistical process control, (SPC), Kaizen, Advance product quality planning and control (APQP), have a distinctive applicability. It is necessary that the approach selected suits current and future needs of the organization. SPC works towards bringing process under the influence of common causes alone by identifying & eliminating assignable causes. APQP focuses mainly on new product development / project execution. ISO 9000 currently includes three quality standards (ISO 9000:2005, ISO 9001:2000, and ISO 9004:2000). ISO 9001:2000 presents ISO's new quality management system requirements, while ISO 9000:2005 and ISO 9004:2000

Present ISO's new quality management system guidelines. All of these are process standards & not product standards and are developed by quality experts from around the world for use by companies that either want to implement their own in-house quality systems or to ensure that suppliers have appropriate quality systems in place.


1 (Anon, Boeing knows lean,2002, [online], Available from (cited March 2007.

(available from,
(Cited 19 March 2007))

(available from,

(cited 22 March 2007)

Table 4.0 Stages for Six sigma project implementation




Tools Used


Define Phase

Objectively define project title with quantifiable goals and time frame for completion. (Ex. To reduce sewing rework from 5% to 2% by 19th Aug 2005.

Select champion (Strategic team leader) & identify the process owner. Create project charter.


Team Selection

Select team. Ideal size of the team is 5-6 members. Cross-functional team is necessary. Green Belt is the tactical team leader. Black belt work full time on six-sigma project .It is expected that the green belt devote 25% of time on the project. He is an employee who has experience and who knows the process. Other members can be employees who are working in the selected process.

1. b

Problem statement

Quantify the problem, objectively specifically and concisely.

It should also provide base line, set improvement goals, indicate approach for resolving the problem with time frame, benefits and financial savings.


Business case

Purpose is to identify and quantify all the potential benefits of committing time and other resources.

To modify the problematic processes.


Project scope

To define the boundaries within which the six-sigma team works. Project scope should have sharp start and end point

Black belt & champion with the help of Master Black Belt decide what the team should be doing and what it should not be doing.

Pareto Chart, to decide how much it can handle with the project
(Ref fig 7.)



Should start as soon as charter is approved. It should be

Provided as needed and just in time for the steps outlined in the plan.

Initially training should be provided by Master black belt along with implementation partner.

Tool & techniques that are required for the steps planned for that specific project.


Project plan

To define Steps, deliverables, and goals for five phases (DMAIC). Plan should include check sheet for tools from six-sigma kit to be used for each task.

It should also include communication plan. Regarding what, who, when whom, how where, and why to communicate.


Six Sigma Break Through Improvements

Six sigma defined: Six sigma is a statistical measure of performance of a process or a product. It anticipates that some defects are bound to happen but at 3.4 defects per million opportunities, the probability of defects is almost negligible.

Six sigma is a systematic methodology for breakthrough improvements. It starts with identifying the causes of variation in the process, and then eliminating that variation to minimize that defect. Six-sigma methodology uses numerous statistical and problem solving tools. At six-sigma level the possibility of defect is reduced to 3.4 DPMO, (@ Zero). Though no published data of sigma level of for apparel industry is available, majority of them operate at a sigma level of 1.5 to 2.5 s. For apparel Industry, it is recommended to initiate six sigma program with a project-based approach rather than business transformation approach. This will help to concentrate the efforts on the selected areas of business importance. Top management at the level of CEO should select the project based on business goals, and customer requirement. It is recommended that the organization have sustained improvements in 5-S and DWM before initiating six-sigma project. Due to interdependency of activities in the apparel industry, it is better to form cross-functional team with team members drawn from each working area of the selected project. The six-sigma methodology is so comprehensive, that scientific tools for improving and sustaining the improvements are built in the methodology.

TQM & Six-sigma approach relies on data. I have seen many quality checkers filling the inspection sheets after the shift hours. Analysis and corrective action based on unauthentic data will not yield favorable results. Secondly team members at all levels should play active role in problem solving. Tools such as Supplier Input Process Out Put Customer (SIPOC-Ref table 2) can go long way in standardizing the input and process parameters. Systematic analyses of potential failure modes by Failure Mode Effect Analysis (FMEA) will eliminate/reduce contingencies (Ref Table 3). Tools such as FMEA helps to study all possible problems in a process, the potential impact of each problem, and how to deal with each problem. In short it is a method for mistake proofing the process against potential failure mode. It may not be possible to enlist entire scope of Six sigma Process, only a brief steps in implementing six-sigma project are listed (Ref Table 4.0.) Pls. note that the templates of KPI, SIPOC, FMEA are meant to serve as examples and are based on hypothetical cases.

Does TQM kill creativity/innovation?

In fact TQM encourages and promotes innovation. TQM works on the premise of continues improvement. It encourages identifying bottleneck areas, catching Voice of customer, planning for improvement, identifying training needs for the new method and preparing time bound action plan for execution. Companies employing TQM are not worried of competition adapting/imitating their systems/policies, since the theory of continuous improvement ensures that the current methods/processes/are revised and improved constantly.

Conclusive statement

Manufacturing companies have redefined quality standards by implementing TQM. It is now for the apparel industry to aim for zero defects. We wish them all the best.

Quality has to be caused & not controlled Philips Crosby. 4


4 (available from (cited on 18 Feb 2007))




Identify Critical to quality

Voice of customer is quantified to find CTQ based on customers requirements.

Make cause and effect matrix to link customers CTQ to process input and identify area of focus for failure modes & effect analysis for initial factors for design of experiment.

CTQ tree,

Cause & effect matrix


Critical to process

To convert the data collected from CTQ/Customer requirement into form suitable to be used as process input.

House of quality (matrix used to convert Voice of customers into Voice of engineers


SIPOC with indicators

SIPOC (Supplier Input process out put customer) is matrix aimed at

Identifying all process input (with source), process (with sub processes),

& Out put (with customers), each parameter showing the indicator of

Quality requirement. (Ref Table 3)


Top down chart

This details the process (Process mapped between project start & end point) further to activity level.


(Function Deployment map)

Here order of the steps and contents of job is described. This is mapped for project start and end point.

Identify the role and relation of own job against other department by step.

The related departments of each step of own job is described.


Quick win analysis

Parameter (Xs) that will bring improvements in output Ys are identified

These are parameters that are very much evident to bring improvement & do not require design of experiment, data gathering or data analysis.

Selected Quick wins should be cheap, easy, fast and reversible to implement.

Process walk through

Brain storming

Quick win selection and implementation matrix.


Measure phase

Objective is to ensure that the data that is being used for the project is validated using specific tools.

Purpose of this phase is to define one or more CTQ characteristic, map the process in details, evaluate measurement system, access the current level of process performance to establish the baseline capability, find the short and long term process sigma capabilities and quantify problem.

Measurement system analysis (MSA)

Process mapping

YX diagrams


Capability Analysis,


Process capability ( CP & CPK)

It is statistical measure of the ability of a process to produce output that Meets the customers specifications. It is measured by finding Capability indices CP and CPK. CP tells us how nearly we can repeat Product characteristic. CPK in addition also tells how close the average Value is to the target value.




Analysis Phase

The purpose of analyze phase is to evaluate and reduce the variables, using graphical analysis and hypothesis testing and to identify the vital few factors in order to identify the root cause of the defect. The team members examine the processes that affect the CTQs and decide which X factors are vital few that must be controlled to result in desired improvement in Ys.


Box Plots, Dot Plots, interval Plots, Scatter Plots, Regression,

time series plots, Multivariate analysis, hypothesis testing,

Analysis of variance (ANOVA), FMEA.


Qualitative analysis

All process stages in FDM are analyzed for value adding and non value adding activities .

All non-value adding activities should be critically analyzed for elimination/ improvements.


Improve phase

The team is ready to develop, test, and implement solution to improve the process by reducing the variation in the critical out put variables caused by vital few input variables.

Team members generate ideas for improving the process, analyze and

Evaluate those ideas, select and test the best possible solution, plan & implement the solution, and then validate the results with data & statistical analysis.

Correlation & regression analysis, DOE Planning,

Both full factorial and Fractional factorial


Six hat thinking

Objective is to arrive at potential solution to problem while taking into account capability, resources, risks etc.

Each team member virtually wear different color hat, each hat signifies particular behavior. (Red-initiative, white-informative, yellow- constructive, blue reflective, greencreative, black cautious).




Control phase

Objective is to establish the required action plan that reflects the finding from the improve phase and to drive controls to sustain the improved performance. The new process conditions are documented and then monitored via statistical process control methods.

Developing operational standards. These can be work instructions, SOP derived from the improve phase.

Mistake proofing (Poka-yoke), the methodology involves, complete understanding of the cause and effect relationship and identification of the simplest relationship that can be applied to eliminate that particular error in future.

Control charts.Operational standards

Control plan has 5 elements
1. Training plan,
2. Documentation plan,
3. Monitoring plan,
4. Response plan,
5. Institution-alization Plan


Sigma Level

Calculate the sigma level after all controls are in place.


Final FDM

The outcome of the control & improve phase may make it necessary to change/eliminate certain process/activities these are updated in FDM.


Final FMEA

Revise FMEA as per the new Function deployment map to find out RPN.


Management system Chart

Work standards and managing points derived from improve and control phases are included in the revised FDM.


Abnormality handling report

It shows set of procedure in case of deviation wrt. Quality, productivity, etc. Basically meant to identify root cause of abnormality/deviation.

The output of 5-Why analysis and root cause analysis should either go as check point in MSC or form ref standard (SOP), to prevent the reoccurring of similar kind of abnormality.

5 why analysis,

Root cause analysis

Brain Storming

Table 4.0 Stages for Six sigma project implementation. Contd.


Dean J W and Bowen D E., 1994, Management Theory and Total Quality: Improving Research and Practice through Theory Development, The Academy of Management Review 19, (3) PP 392-418.

About the Author:

Mr. C K. Karekatti has done Masters in Textile Technology (M. Tech) and Post Graduation in Fashion Technology (PGFT) from NIFT, New Delhi. He has published number of papers in National and International Journals. He is currently working with the Arvind Mills LTD, Ahmedabad

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Labour intensive industry like apparel can seize full benefit of QMS only if every individual (Operators and Managers alike) contribute in its implementation. Going by my experience, the scale of employee involvement brought by TQM, in achieving functional excellence (without the hassles of extensive documentation), can hardly be matched by any other QMS.

What is TQM?

TQM Defined

TQM is a philosophy or approach to management that can be characterized by its principles, practices, and techniques. Its three principles are customer focus, continuous improvement, and teamwork. Each principle is implemented through a set of practices, which are simply activities such as collecting customer information or analyzing processes. The practices are, in turn, supported by a wide array of techniques. Dean and Bowen (1994)

Successful implementation of TQM requires commitment from top management. No QMS can bring overnight improvements. It is sustained effort towards excellence at each level. Top management should lead by example. This can be demonstrated by top management through active participation in TQM related activates. I have encountered managers who relate TQM with house keeping. TQM on the other hand is far wider in concept. It aims to bring a cultural change in the way the organization works. TQM is managing the business through knowledge based on facts rather than ones hunch feeling or judgement drawn from experience.

How to implement TQM?

TQM is a Journey not destination. TQM aims at zero defects in each functional areas viz. operations, quality, marketing, utility, service, etc. As shown in fig 1.0, as the organization progresses from 5- Standards (5-S) - Daily Work Management (DWM)- -Six sigma for each functional area, the possibility of defect rate is reduced to almost zero (3.4 Defects per million opportunities DPMO).

Following are the phases of TQM implementation

1)       5-S-(Sort, set in order, Shine, Standardize, Sustain) -Foundation Phase

2)       DWM (Daily Work Management)                            -Sustenance Phase

a)    Total Productive maintenance(TPM)              -Maximize plant up time

b)   Measurement system Analysis (MSA)          -Instrument & system

3)       Six Sigma-                                                           -Break through Improvement

Phase I Foundation Phase-5-S

5-S Defined- Total work culture that develops organizations ability to the fullest capacity to enhance creativity and eliminate waste.

Conceptually 5-S is aimed at developing a work culture where by all employees including operators, supervisors and managers participate in problem solving process.

Sort (1-S) - this is initiated by identifying the abnormalities at the work area. Abnormalities are highlighted by unique identification tag also known as red tag. This ensures every employee participates in identifying the abnormality in respective work area. It is observed that putting red tag improves awareness regarding the abnormality, it also triggers a reaction among employees to think for ways for avoiding the reoccurrence of abnormality.


Set in Order (2-s) - Efforts are then directed towards resolving the tags. Objective is to find permanent solution to problem. Day to day quality related problems such as label mixing, trims mixing (thread, label wrongly attached) can be completely eliminated through 5-S. Ideally stores should stack trims segregated buyer wise, order wise etc with location marking done for each storage area. This will avoid the instances of wrong trims being issued, even if storekeeping personnel are not available (eliminating human dependency). Secondly segregation of trims on sewing floor/finishing floor size wise, color wise and sizes wise in specially designed boxes, trays with location marked for each, will eliminate any possibility of trim mixing. Not only this (implementing 5-s at stores) reduces the unproductive time (time lost in trims searching) at stores level, but also helps in saving time and improving quality of immediate customers (Sewing Floor). At 2-S Stage (Set in order) it is mandatory to define the inventory level at each stage, this not only applies to stores, but also to sewing, finishing, washing and packing inventory. Defining and controlling WIP has shown marked reduction in stains related rejections, apart from reduction in through put time. It is observed that one basic reason of higher WIP is higher level of rework and alterations. With respect to WIP management aim should be to move towards lean manufacturing with single piece flow. Replenishment of WIP/inventory should be Pull driven rather than push driven.

Shine (3-s) 3-S ensures improved house keeping by planning, cleaning & Inspection schedules that include floor (Brooming, mopping, vacuum), over headlamps, racks etc. The cleaning schedules should be designed such that it should mention how, when, where, regarding the cleaning activity. It should state the person responsible and accountable for implementing the schedules.

Standardize (4-s)-This refers to standardizing the departmental activities. Here the cleaning schedules, master index (indicating location marked for hard and soft copies/registers), tool list (stating location and quantity) are displayed on notice board. This way human dependency in accessing the records and tools/equipment can be eliminated. Apart from this operational norms for each department are developed. It includes list of incoming material for each department, its desired mode of packing /packaging, packing details, desired mode of transportation of incoming material, material handling equipment for in house movement etc. These requirements are forwarded to supplier as voice of customer. In addition inventory level for each incoming item with storage locations is planned.

Generally waste (Shaping waste, Empty cones, Threads, Spring cones, polythene, Paper, bamboo etc) is segregated at centralized scrap yard. However ideal method is to segregate the waste at source of generation. To start with, waste can be categorized into organic (Thread, Fabric) and inorganic waste (Polybags, plastic cones etc). Color-coding for dustbins should be done and training imparted to employees to dispose the waste in right dustbin. Depending on the nature of waste generated by the activity, color coded dustbin is provided at convenient location. Collection of waste from dustbin and disposal of waste to scrap yard should be done by means of similarly colored carts. Method for recovering recyclable waste should also be designed.

Sustain- (5-s): regular internal and external audits are scheduled to overcome the shortcoming. Time based action plan with responsibility for resolving the abnormality is made.

As the departmental team matures in the problem solving methodology, it is elevated to form Quality circles. Emphasis is to find permanent solution to problem at the work level itself, without elevating the problem to higher level. Sooner the day today issues are resolved at Work area level and managers are free to think regarding improvements. As a rule Managers should spend 80% of his time on improvements. Though the picture is not quite rosy in the garment industry, where managers are busy fire fighting, the situation can be improved through the implementation of Daily work management.

Phase II Sustenance Phase- Daily Work management

How TQM view manufacturing processes

TQM defines manufacturing process as collection of activity.


For controlling the out put characteristic (Fy), 3 areas need to be defined

1)    Set up instructions-This is a checklist indicating to do list during style change including precautions to be taken for new style. This should include the machine requirement, attachments, changes in machine settings for the new style etc. This should also include method of cleaning the line after style change. Objective is to hand over the line complete in all respect at minimum possible time.

2)    Operation instructions-These are work instructions/SOP for carrying out the job. Ex. standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for sewing/Fusing etc, describing the best method of carrying out the operation with quality requirements and target production rates. It should also specify the recommended process parameters like, SPI, fusing temp, time etc.

3)    Inspection checklistchecklist should be provided at each checkpoint viz. Fabric inspection, spreading, cutting, line in, in line, end line, audit etc. It should state what to check, how, when (frequency), how much (Sample size), tolerance, and abnormality handling procedures in case of non-conformance.

For any given process by controlling the input parameters (checklist for trim/cut part availability, quality requirement etc) and standardizing the process parameters (work instructions, work standards, SOP, inspection checklists, process audits), the output characteristic can be controlled. (Ref Fig 2.0)

Daily work management (DWM)-Defined

Consciously and consistently carryout all activities which must be performed daily (or regularly) to efficiently achieve the aims of each department. In principle, these activities aim to maintain the current status, although activities to improve the situation are also included.


As demonstrated in Fig 3.0 daily management aims at maintaining the current status, (ex. plans for achieving targeted daily sewing out put). While policy management aims at achieving revised targets, through policy decisions like capacity addition, technological up gradation, machine utilization etc. This can be achieved only when each employee participates in improvement related activity. Ideally top management should devote 80% of time on improvement-related activities, Middle management 50% and Operators 20%. (Ref fig 4.0)

Stages for developing daily work management

As shown in table 1.0 first step is to objectively define parameters regarding purpose, deliverables etc for each department. It may not be possible to detail each stage of DWM implementation, following is the broad guideline for steps involved in DWM implementation.

Table 1.0 Stages of implementation of DWM

Sr. No




Define process, scope and accountability

Clarity regarding function of the Dept, clearly defined boundaries, objectively defined deliverables in terms of PQCD S& M *


Define process goals - managing points (KPI)

Key performance Indicators (KPI) defined on the basis of internal/external customers requirements and organizational goals (derived from PQCD S&M*-Ex. Productivity, Rejections, Cost/SMV, OTIF, Compliance, Attrition, Absenteeism etc)


In consultation with the internal/external customers state the current status.

Understanding and quantifying current status, Performance levels (Baseline).




Set targets for all managing points

Assigning targets based on customer requirements and business goals. It shows quality of accountability.


Define means to achieve these targets

Set up action plan to bridge the gap between actual against target KPI.


Develop management systems chart

Step by step activity chart, for each process defining work instructions, SOP, reference standards & check points for each activity.


Define job descriptions

To define responsibilities in order to carry out job operations in a smooth manner.


Define/Deploy control points

To minimize product and process variation. It defines the process monitoring and control methods to be used during regular production runs to control characteristic.


Define operation standards

To ensure the product meets the specifications by controlling process parameters against standards. Ex. Heat setting temperature, washing cycles. etc.


Review product standards

To cater to changing customer requirements, bring innovation, technological development and cater market changes.


Review raw material standards

Ensure input material Characteristic meet the technological, process & quality requirements. To review raw material standards for technological changes, process changes, market changes, expansions etc.


Review inspection standards

To ensue standards are updated in accordance to customer requirement and industry requirements


Define people skill requirements

Identify human skill/knowledge required to carry out manufacturing, production, inspection, activities


Assess people skill matrix

Human skill/knowledge available to carry out manufacturing, inspection, etc activities


Develop people capability

Bridging the gap between the skill/knowledge available and required for carrying out various activities.


Assess compliance.

Ensure compliance to set procedures, processes through audits etc.


Take corrective and preventive measures

Make time bound action plan for abnormalities with responsibility clearly defined to bridge the short comings


Make improvements

Deploy the action plan and monitor the process for improvements.




Quality Control Process Chart (QCPC) - also called Control Plan

To ensure product quality at each process stage,

(Focus is on check and Act. It is meant for Supervisors and QA)


Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) - Also called Work instructions

For Simplifying work instructions, with sketches, guidance, and supervision. Defines the best method for carrying out the job, Can help new workers in knowing the correct methods. (Focus is on plan and Do). Preliminary meant for operators/workers.


FMEA (Failure mode effect analysis)

It helps to identify all possible problems in the process, the potential impact of each problem, and how to deal with each problem. It collects information in a systematic process and in a specific format. It helps to find , RPN (risk priority number), by finding ways the process can fail, Severity of the failure, Causes of failure, controls to prevent these failure.(Ref Table 3)

* Productivity, Quality, Cost, Delivery, Safety & Moral

Identifying the Key performance indicators

Key performance indicators for each department are derived from the customer requirement (Internal and external), and business goals. Following are few examples of Key Performance Indicators (KPI) for garment industry, Fabric consumption, Sewing Efficiency, Marker Efficiency, Work in process, absenteeism, attrition rate, Over time, Internal Rejection, Rework, Standard Minute Value (SMV) improvement, Customer complaints, power consumption, cost per SMV, lead time etc. It is better to graphically display KPI charts as shown in Chart 1. Monthly review meetings should be conducted to access the performance against the target & action plan made to bridge the gap between target and actual. KPI should be defined from top to lowest levels for each departmental. This helps in assigning responsibility and accountability at each level. Achieving KPI at each level, will ensure the process owners and ultimately business managers achieve their KPI, and hence the organizational goals. As shown in fig. 5, to achieve each of his Managing point, Production manager needs to manage control point pertaining to each KPI. In general, Control point of Production manager becomes managing point of his subordinate and so forth. (Ref Fig 5 for further understanding the relationship between managing and control points). Daily meetings are scheduled on floor to discuss KPI (rejection rate, efficiency etc) against target for the day. Causes for non-conformance like non-availability of cut parts, trims, shortage of required skill set etc. are analyzed to find the root cause of the problem and corrective actions planned to avoid them in future. Causes identified from root cause analysis are used to update and revise work instructions or checklists/checkpoints to avoid their reoccurrence.

Concept of Process Ownership

I often come across process owners, who blame operators for low productivity, rejections etc. What they fail to understand is the concept of process ownership.

Before describing process ownership, it is necessary to understand what a process is? In general, a process uses resources to transform inputs into outputs. In every case, inputs are turned into outputs because some kind of work, activity, or function is carried out. Processes can be administrative, industrial, chemical, mechanical, electrical, and so on. Following are some Ex of processes purchasing process, Production process, Product design process, Document control process. Internal audit process, planning process, Training process etc. The authority responsible and accountable for the achieving deliverables of the process is a process owner.


It will be interesting to know that the operators are responsible for not more than 6% of abnormalities. I substantiate this by Demings (Plan, Do, Check Act) PDCA cycle (Ref. fig.6.0). For any process managers carry out the PLAN (planning, scheduling, prioritizing, target setting, etc), CHECK (setting control points, standards, monitoring procedures etc) and ACT (making corrections, & corrective action on abnormalities) function. This contributes to 75% of the PDCA cycle (3 quarters of circles). The Do function again has its own PDCA cycle, leaving only ACT (What operator actually does) function with the operators. This leaves 94% of task with managers and 6% with operators (One quarter contributes to 25% of the entire PDCA cycle, the Act function in the smaller PDCA cycle again contributes to 25%, that gives 25% of a quarter contributing to 6.25%. How many managers are aware that the operators are legitimate customers for receiving correct work instructions regarding-what to do, how to do, when to do, what to check, when to check, against what standards to check, acceptable tolerances etc? How much effort has gone into training the employees on the same? I have seen organizations putting lot of efforts in reducing waste. However waste reduction is largely restricted to blue collar waste (Process waste), hardly any efforts are made to quantify white-collar waste. (Poor planning, poor coordination etc).

As a process owner, managers are entirely responsible for deliverables of his process. His prime focus should be designing a f00l proof process, (by developing process control charts, process standards, checkpoints, work instructions etc), that will produce the right product first time. He needs to identify potential bottlenecks & facilitate the team in finding permanent solutions to the problems. Further he should identify training needs of his team and train them on the same.

PDCA-Plan Do Check Act

Total productive maintenance

The basic purpose of TPM is to increase plant and machine uptime. It is implemented in 3 phases,

1)       Autonomous maintenance.

2)       Preventive maintenance

3)       Predictive maintenance.

Maintenance engineers often complain regarding machine being tampered by operators owing to various reasons. The purpose of autonomous maintenance is to install a sense of machine ownership among the operators. Operator fills up a general check sheet, at the start and end of the shift to ensure that the machine is received in OK condition. The operator as per the checklist carries out basic machine cleaning, inspect Oil level, needle number, abnormal vibrations, SPI. Skip stitches etc. This ensures that the output is right first time, every time. Preventive maintenance is planned periodic maintenance derived from manuals and past experience. Machine history cards are maintained to identify root causes of recurring breakdown. Based on the analysis of history card, preventive maintenance checklist is modified to suit the in house working conditions (Temp. /humidity, etc). Key performance indicators for Maintenance can be Mean time to repair (MTTR), mean time between breakdowns (MTBB), and plant up time. Utility department should include humidifiers, trolleys, stackers, machine lifters etc in preventive maintenance schedule. Trolleys being dragged with non-functioning /noisy wheels is a common sight in many factories. This can be avoided by including them in preventive maintenance schedule.

Overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) is a measure of overall capacity utilization of particular equipment. OEE takes into consideration two factors,

1)    Availability: how much time the equipment can be potentially operational after considering the down time.

2)    Performance efficiency: the machines actual throughput time when it is operating compared to its designed maximum capacity

Ex OEE= Availability x performance Efficiency (Target OEE is 100%)

OEE analysis can bring forward many factors where by considerable improvements can be brought like, unnecessary equipment breakdown, high Set up time (ex style change necessitating M/C change), stoppages for lack of raw materials/trims, operation below maximum design speed due to poor operating efficiency, maintenance constrains, defects that required reprocessing etc.

Tracking OEE is helpful in identifying bottlenecks, for making capital investment decisions, monitoring the effectiveness of programme and to increase machine productivity.

MSA: Measurement system analysis

The output characteristics of any running process show some variation. These variations are mainly due to two causes, firstly because there are variation in any process, and secondly there are variations in any measurement system. If the variation is due to process it is necessary to use statistical tools such as, root cause analysis, brain storming etc to identify the root cause of the variation. SPC analysis can then be used to find if the variations are normal to the process. But before doing SPC analysis, it is necessary to find the extent of variations caused by measurement system. Measurement system errors are due to accuracy and precision. Accuracy refers to the difference between recorded measurement and actual values of the parts measured. Precision refers to the variation in measurement when a device is used to measure the same part repeatedly. Concept of accuracy consists of 3 components stability (it is the freedom from special cause variation over time), Bias (it is the influence of any factor that causes the sample data to appear different from what it actually is), and linearity (it is the statistical consistency in measurement over the full range of expected values). Concept of precision consists of 2 component reproducibility (it is the variation due to measurement system. It is the variation when different operator measures different parts using the same device), and repeatability (it is the variation due to the measuring device when the same operator measures the same part with the same device repeatedly.

MSA ensures that the testing method and instruments (physical/ optical/ etc) are calibrated and work at defined level of accuracy and precision. This is preliminary required to ensure that all members in the supply chain (internal and external customers) speak a common language. In apparel Industry fabric GSM testing, Spectrophotometer (Shade testing), shrinkage testing, spirality testing, Cover factor testing, meterage, etc are areas where MSA needs to be carried out. Garment industry is a peculiar example where inspection and re inspection has become integral part of process flow. For example Fabric shade testing, this inspection is done at fabric dyeing, processing, & finished fabric inspection, followed by fabric inspection at garmenting stage, in line inspection, end line and final audit. In spite of all the check points there are numerous instances of rejection due to shade variations at garment audit stage. This clearly demonstrates that testing methods/instruments are not standardized and calibrated to give reproducibility and reliability at each stage. Ideally there should be only single inspection (preferably at source of production), eliminating all-subsequent inspections. Every inspection is non-value-added activity for which the customer does not pay. Process has to be standardized to produce right quality first time, every time. How ever this cannot be achieved unless the inspection system and instruments are calibrated through MSA.