Introduction


The domestic apparel industry in India showed a growth of Rs. 2026 billion in the financial year (2012-2013) from Rs. 1260 billion in the financial year (2007-08) and with the resumption of zero exercise duty on readymade garments and made ups announced in the union budget of 2013-14, the industry is eyeing more heights to achieve in the next five years. The main reason of growth of apparel industry in spite of country being hit by recession are changing of fashion trends , rise of urbanization , growth of consumer class who understands fashion etc.


But the reverse side of the coin shows the big apparel manufacturing running to the extremes to meet the production targets. The fast changing economic conditions such as global competition, declining profit margin, customer demand for high quality product, product variety, change of customer taste from seasons to seasons and reduced leadtime etc. had a major impact on the apparel manufacturing industries. The demand for higher value at lower price is increasing and to survive, apparel manufacturers need to improve their operations through producing right first time quality and waste reduction are the only tools of not only surviving in the market but also help in having a steady growth pace within the competitors.


The only point that speaks in favour of the manufacturer is the quality of the garment. The garment quality is inversely proportional to the no. of defects occurred during the manufacturing process. To have a control over the defects every manufacturing organization tried to implement a whole lot of things like 5s, six sigma, kanban principles, poka-yoke, traffic light system, kaizen principles, lean manufacturing process etc. but still defects happen during the manufacturing process.


The defects occurring in the manufacturing process can be classified under five major categories:-


1.      Fabric Defects

2.      Machine defects

v     Broken Stitches

v     Skip Stitches

v     Uneven spi( stitch per inch)

v     Puckering formation

v     Loose tension

v     Unsecure button/snaps

 

1.      Skill/Human Made defects

v     Uneven stitches

v     Hi/Low stitches

v     Raw edges

v     Needle holes

v     Pleat formations

v     Missing operations

v     Run off stitch

v     Incorrect label attachment


2.      Cleanliness Issues

v     Dirt marks

v     Oil stains

v     Stickers present

v     Gum stains

v     Uncut threads


3.      Out of tolerance

v     Due to improper washing

v     Due to improper ironing


The Problem


Uncut/loose threads are one of those defects which are casually passed by the checkers of sewing as well as finishing department. This on later stage causes pieces rejection of the style during the inspection process, thus not meeting the aql( acceptable quality limit) standard set by the buyer. The casualness of the operators and the checkers eats away the leadtime of the style thus increases the cost of production of the styles running in the organizations.


The operators in India have a very bad habit of continuous running of the machine thus forming an attachment between the ends of two pieces. When the desired operation is completed in all the pieces or there is a requirement of thread change in the machine the operator stops the machine and during this time he/she cuts the chain that has been formed between the pieces due to the sewing threads. The operator mainly doesnt trim the threads properly thus making a defect at the first step only, this practice is then continued by the other operators thus leading to a defective garment at the end of the line which is full of little uncut/loose threads. This mentality of the operators happens to developed just because they are always under the pressure to meet the hourly production target so that the WIP can be properly maintained. The probable areas in the garment where uncut/loose threads can be found are:-



1.      Shirts/T-Shirts

v     Buttons

v     Button holes

v     Bartacks

v     Bottom hemming

v     Collar area

v     Armhole area

v     Sleeves placket

v     Front pocket


2.      Trousers/Denims

v     Waistband

v     Waistband loops

v     Buttons

v     Buttonholes

v     bartacks

v     Carelabels

v     Back pockets

v     Crotch attachment

v     Pocket bags

v     Bottom hemming

v     Fly attachment


Solution within the problem


To maintain 100% quality many organizations have implemented many things but the proper training of the operators can only help them to achieve the mammoth target. Many organizations have also faced the scenario that all quality procedures are implemented in the organization but the implementation procedure is not properly percolated to the grass root level of the operators due to which the organization has suffered many setbacks. The proper enlightment of the operators with the procedures along with proper interval checkpoints can help to bud down the menace of loose/uncut threads.


The traffic light system is one of the best examples in controlling the problem because of its visual communication. At the same time it measure operators performance level in quality. This system is basically a combination of work between the line quality supervisors and the line operators. She/he has to check the semi finished garment pieces from current bundle once in an hour or two. Pieces will be taken randomly and check all the quality parameters required for that operation. The red card is given for those, who are identified by the line supervisor have produced 5 or more defective item out of ten pieces inspected. The yellow card is given to those who are identified by the line supervisor have produced 2 or more defective items out of ten inspected. The green card is given if no reworks are found. This system not only reduces the quality problems but it also increases the morale of the operators to achieve higher quality levels. Thus it will further reduce the cost and time of rework on the pieces.