Types of garment production systems

Garment production system is defined as a structure in which machines, material handling, people and production processes are integrated to convert fabric into garments.

Types of garment production systems differ from each other by following factors:

  1. How many operations does one sewing operator perform?
  2. How many pieces flow together in the sewing line?
  3. How are material transferred from one workstation to other?
  4. How many pieces flow together in the sewing line?
  5. How many machines does one sewing operator operate?

The 4 commonly used types of garment production systems are :

1. Make through System

Make through system is traditional method of production where one sewing operator does all the work to sew a garment.

The sequence of operations can be according to the operators’ method of working. This production system requires a highly skilled and versatile operator, a combination which is becoming extremely rare and increasingly expensive.

Advantages of make through system
  • Well suited for manufacturing variety of garments in extremely low quantities
  • Little to no managerial inputs required as operator works entirely on his own
  • Minimum WIP
  • Complicated garments can be produced without much difficulty
Disadvantages of make through system
  • Highly skilled operators are required so cost of labor is high
  • Not suited for manufacturing bigger order quantities.
  • High Dependency in operators

All other types of garment production systems where one operator doesn’t sew the whole garment are Assembly production system.

2. Progressive Bundle system

In a progressive bundle system cut parts are tied in a bundle and then loaded in a sewing line. Each operator in a sewing line performs one operation and passes the bundle to the next operator for next operation. Progressive bundle system is an assembly system.

The Size of bundle depends upon the plies and shade while cutting the fabric.

Advantages of progressive bundle system
  • Low skill requirement so cost of production is low
  • Well suited for mass manufacturing
  • Dependency on operators is less
  • Higher efficiency of production as operators perform repetitive work
Disadvantages of progressive bundle system
  • High managerial input required for production management
  • Balancing of lines is difficult
  • Continuous training is required to maintain the skill level in factory
  • Moderate WIP in the production line
  • Bundle mismatch may happen leading to shade variation in a garment
  • Bundling handling (tying and untying) is involved which takes up some time

3. Single piece Flow

In Single piece flow production system cut parts are loaded into the sewing line individually and not as a bundle, here also one operator performs only one operation and passes the piece to the next operator.

4. Unit Production System (UPS)

Unit Production system is a single piece flow system in which garment components are transported from one workstation to other using automated systems in a pre-determined sequence. This system is also called overhead production system because most automated systems are overhead systems.

Advantages of Unit production system
  • handling time (pickup and dispose) is substantially reduced
  • No bundle handling
  • Faster production lead time can be achieved
  • Minimum WIP
  • Production is automatically registered as system is automated
  • Sewing line is clutter free.
  • Reduced handling and WIP leads to reduced defects.
Disadvantages of unit production system
  • Requires high Investment
  • High managerial inputs and planning is required
  • Line needs to be balanced
  • Machine breakdowns can severely affect the production
  • Outputs needs to be always balanced as WIP is minimum any problem in one operation affects all other operations

5. Modular system

In a modular manufacturing operator neither sew the whole garment nor perform a single operation instead they perform a group of operations and work as a team.

Operators are multiskilled which mean each operator can perform more than one operation they switch between workstations and sew, they work as a team and balance work by sharing the workload.

Advantages of modular system
  1. Cost of production is less
  2. Higher productivity as work is shared.
  3. Absenteeism and machine breakdown does not cause serious problems
Disadvantages of modular system
  1. Multiskilled operators are required
  2. More WIP is needed
  3. Quality control can be difficult

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