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A Study on Implementation of Lean Manufacturing in Sewing Floor


Automobile manufacturing is still the world’s largest manufacturing activity. The

automobile sector is always a source of inspiration for other manufacturing industries.
The automobile manufacturing evolved as a customized manufacturing unit, moves to
mass production after world war I and finally to Lean production after the World War II.
Similar transitions had gone in other sectors in some way or the other after getting
influenced from the automobile-manufacturing sector.

If we consider any manufacturing activity it can be divided into –

 Craft Production
 Mass Production
 Lean Production

Craft Production – It is also called as customized manufacturing. Started in 1880’s;

requires simple tools, highly skilled labor and low capital for production. Craft
manufacturing offers high design and volume flexibility at high price1

Mass Production - After the World War I, Henry Ford and General Motor’s Alfred Sloan
moved world manufacturing from centuries of craft production into the age of mass
production. Mass production started in 1915 was matured by 1920; requires highly
mechanized machines, less skilled labor and high capital for production. Mass
production offers low design and volume flexibility at good price1.

Lean Production – After the World War II, Eiji Toyota and Taiichi Ohno formed a
production system called Toyota Production System that was termed as lean
manufacturing system later on. It was started in 1950; requires simple machines, skilled
labor and moderate capital for production. Lean manufacturing offers high design and
volume flexibility at best price1.

So Lean manufacturing brought a major breakthrough in production systems in 1950’s it

has changed the way the companies are producing. Though, it took some time almost
10 years to mature in Japan. But Lean Production is responsible for the economic
growth in Japan. Almost all the sectors started following lean and started giving what
customers want at best price and good quality. On one hand the companies across the
globe are facing stiff competition. Their profit margins are shrinking, their market share is
reducing and they have piles of inventory at their disposal and their product range is
ineffective on the other hand Japanese companies are doing well by following Lean

Lean thinking got it name from a 1990’s best seller called “The Machine That Changed
the World: The story of lean production by Womack and Jones. They introduces five
core concepts of lean manufacturing5–

1. Specify value in the eyes of the customer

2. Identify the value stream and eliminate waste
3. Make value flow at the pull of the customer
4. Involve and empower employee
5. Continuously improve in pursuit of perfection

Lean Manufacturing:

Lean Manufacturing is the latest buzzword in manufacturing circles. It is defined as "A

systematic approach to identifying and eliminating waste through continuous
improvement by flowing the product at the demand of the customer." It is not especially
new. It derives from the Toyota Production System or Just In Time Production,
Henry Ford and other predecessors.

Lean is about doing more with less: Less time, inventory, space, people, and money.
Lean is about speed and getting it right the first time. Its characteristics are Zero waiting
time, Zero Inventory, Scheduling - internal customer pull instead of push system, Batch
to Flow -- cut batch sizes, Line Balancing and Cutting actual process times.

Lean manufacturing is a systematic approach for identifying and eliminating waste in

operations through

1. Continuous improvement
2. Doing everything more efficiently
3. Reducing operating cost
4. Fulfilling customers desire for max value at the lowest
5. Price
Waste elimination is one of the most effective ways to increase the profitability in
manufacturing business. In order to eliminate waste, it is important to understand exactly
what waste is and where it exists in the factory, the typical wastes found in
manufacturing environments are quite similar. To eliminate waste, Originally 7 main
types of waste were identified as part of the Toyota Production System. However, this
list has been modified and expanded by various practitioners of lean manufacturing and
generally includes the following

1. Over-production
2. Waiting
3. Transportation
4. Over-processing
5. Inventory
6. Motion
7. Defects
8. Correction
9. Knowledge Disconnection

1. Over-production – Over-production is unnecessarily producing more

than demanded or producing it too early before it is needed. This increases the risk
of obsolescence, increases the risk of producing the wrong thing and increases the
possibility of having to sell those items at a discount or discard them as scrap.
However, there are some cases when an extra supply of semi-finished or finished
products is intentionally maintained, even by lean manufacturers.
2. Waiting – Waiting is idle time for workers or machines due to bottlenecks
or inefficient production flow on the factory floor. Waiting also includes small delays
between processing of units. Waiting results in a significant cost in so far as it
increases labor costs and depreciation costs per unit of output.

3. Transportation - Transportation includes any movement of materials that

does not add any value to the product, such as moving materials between
workstations. The idea is that transportation of materials between productions stages
should aim for the ideal that the output of one process is immediately used as the
input for the next process. Transportation between processing stages results in
prolonging production cycle times, the inefficient use of labor and space and can also
be a source of minor production stoppages.

4. Over-processing – Over-processing is unintentionally doing more

processing work than the customer requires in terms of product quality or features –
such as polishing or applying finishing on some areas of a product that won’t be seen
by the customer.

5. Inventory – Inventory waste means having unnecessarily high levels of

raw materials, works-in-progress and finished products. High levels inventory leads
to higher inventory financing costs, higher storage costs and higher defect rates.

6. Motion – Motion includes any unnecessary physical motions or walking by workers,

which diverts them from actual processing work. For example, this might include
walking around the factory floor to look for a tool, or even unnecessary or difficult
physical movements, due to poorly designed ergonomics, which slow down the

7. Defects – In addition to physical defects which directly add to the costs of goods
sold, this may include errors in paperwork, provision of incorrect information about the
product, late delivery, production to incorrect specifications, use of too much raw
materials or generation of unnecessary scrap.

8. Correction – Correction, or reprocessing, is when something has to be re-done

because it wasn’t done correctly the first time. This not only results in inefficient use of
labor and equipment but the act of re-processing often causes disruptions to the
smooth flow of production and therefore generates bottlenecks and stoppages. Also,
issues associated with reworking typically consume a significant amount of
management time and therefore add to factory overhead costs.

9. Knowledge Disconnection – This is when information or knowledge isn’t available

where or when it is needed. This might include information on correct procedures,
specifications, ways to solve problems, etc. Lack of correct information often leads to
defects and bottlenecks. For example, unavailability of a mixing formula may
potentially suspend the entire process or create defective items due to time-consuming
trial-and-error tests.
Lean Manufacturing Tools & Methodologies:

 Standard Work

Standard work (also called “standardized work” or “standard process”) means

that production.In processes and guidelines are very clearly defined and communicated,
in a high level of detail, so as to eliminate variation and incorrect assumptions in the way
that work is performed. When production procedures are not highly standardized,
workers may have different ideas of what the correct operating procedure are and easily
make incorrect assumptions. A high level of process standardization also makes it easier
for the company to expand capacity without disruption.

1. Standard work sequence - This is the order in which a worker must perform
tasks, including motions and processes.
2. Standard timing – Standard time is the frequency with which a single piece is
produced. Standard time is used to clearly specify and monitor the rate at which
a process should be occurring at various production stages.
3. Standard in-process inventory – This is the minimum unit of materials,
consisting primarily of units undergoing processing, which are required to keep a
cell or process moving at the desired rate.
4. Communication of Standard Work to employees - Standard work guidelines
shouldn’t only be textual manuals but should include pictures, visual displays and
even samples. Employees are unlikely to read boring textual production manuals
so visual displays and actual samples, including pictures, should be used as
much as possible.
5. Visual Management - Visual Management systems enable factory workers to
be well informed about production procedures, status and other important
information for them to do their jobs as effectively as possible. Large visual
displays are generally much more effective means of communication to workers
on the factory floor than written reports and guidelines and therefore should be
used as much as possible.

6. Quality at the Source (or “Do It Right the First Time”) - Quality at the Source,
also called “Do It Right the First Time”, means that quality should be built into the
production process in such a way that defects are unlikely to occur in the first
7. Value Stream Mapping - Value stream mapping is a set of methods to visually
display the flow of materials and information through the production process. The
objective of value stream mapping is to identify value-added activities and non
value-added activities.
8. The Five S’s - The Five S’s are some rules for workplace organization which aim
to organize each worker’s work area for maximum efficiency.
9. Preventative Maintenance - Preventative Maintenance is a series of routines,
procedures and steps that are taken in order to try to identify and resolve
potential problems before they happen.
10. Total Productive Maintenance - Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) assigns
basic preventative maintenance work including inspection, cleaning, lubricating,
tightening and calibration to the production workers who operate the equipment.
TPM clearly assigns responsibility to workers to proactively identify, monitor and
correct the causes of problems leading to unnecessary machine downtime.
11. Cause and effect diagram - A Cause-and-Effect Diagram is a tool that helps
identify, sort, and display possible causes of a specific problem or quality
characteristic. It graphically illustrates the relationship between a given outcome
and all the factors that influence the outcome.


Understanding of scope and constraints of the subject area of waste.

Data Collection

For the collection of primary data metrics will be fixed and would be filled and monitored
in specific data collection formats.

Categorization and identification of waste

Different variables are identified in framework of category of waste i.e. waiting time,
defects, inventory, transportation, motion and processing. Identify the unnecessary
activities and analyze the collected data for the implementation phase.

Reduction of wastes

Working with on site supervisory team, plan would be decided through work practice and
workplace changes, method improvement studies and stringent material utilization
norms. Necessary and logical changes will be suggested to reduce the wastes for
sewing production floor.

Feedback and follow-up phase

Progress will be evaluated against data and the systems implemented.

Implementation Module 1 : Waste due to Defects

Sewing line Inspection: As there are no spreading and cutting facilities available in the
unit, so the concerned area for the study of defect is only sewing production line. There
are approximately 280 machines on the floor arranged in 6 lines, which are responsible
for the production. There are two check points in the line-
• In-line inspection
• Final inspection
Inline inspection is on the critical operation only some selected check points are
there to be checked and it is responsible to prevent the flow of defective pieces for the
next operations, because if it will be caught in the end than the garment may get
damage in making alteration of the defect which are generated in initial operations. Final
inspection is responsible for checking the whole garment.

Finishing inspection: Some defects are not easily visible in sewing line checking they
can be viewed easily after the thread cutting and pressing which is done in the finishing.
There are also two check points in the finishing-
1. Initial inspection
2. Final inspection
In the initial inspection the garment is being checked from the inside i.e. no
broken stitch, raw edges or spotting etc should remain inside, than only it forwarded to
final inspection. In the final inspection whole garment is checked.
Tool for measuring the Defects:
Defective per hundred units is the no. of defective pieces occurring per hundred
pieces. This is very useful tool to measure the percentage of alteration occurring in the
sewing production.
For calculating the waste due to defect, DHU level will have to calculate. If the
DHU level is more than the company norms than definitely there is something wrong
which is increasing the cost of quality. All the processes which are happening on the
floor i.e. alteration but they are not required are waste. So if the DHU level is more than
it is necessary to monitor each alteration on every stage to minimize the waste.
Data collection:
The process of data collection for DHU starts from listing down all kinds of defects which
are coming during sewing noted the alteration of whole day on every check point
including finishing also and collected this data for the 8 days/check point.

Description Moss crepe Top Style No 37101

Order Qty 1, 40,000 Pieces Buyer Faded glory
Machine WS 32 Total M/C 44
Target 600 Pcs/line/shift

Date Checked Pcs Passed Pcs Altered % Defective

Day 1 159 102 57 35.85
Day 2 98 76 22 22.45
Day 3 98 62 36 36.73
Day 4 117 77 40 34.20
Day 5 100 62 38 38.00
Day 6 92 57 35 38.04
Day 7 115 75 40 34.78
Day 8 88 62 26 30.00
Total 867 573 294 33.91

Chart for sewing Inline inspection

Raw Edge, 36.73

Waist patti width variation, 12.24



Open stitch, 11.56

Missing operation, 3.06

Wrong pnl attach, 2.04

Pinch, 10.2

Broken stitch, 3.74

Color variation, 2.72

Joint Out, 6.46


Puckering, 4.08
10 Run off, 4.42

5 Cut, 2.38

Type of Defects

Data had been collected for eight days on initial check point and it was found that major
alterations coming at initial inspection were:
• Raw edges
• Pinch sew
• Waist patti width variation
• Open stitches
These defects kept more than 70% share among all the defects, so all these four defects
were needed to analyze very closely to minimize the waste due to these defects.
Final Inspection: All points are checked Garment
Date Checked Pcs Passed Pcs Altered % Defective
Day 1 180 143 37 20.55
Day 2 109 56 53 48.62
Day 3 103 68 35 34.00
Day 4 113 82 31 27.67
Day 5 93 82 11 12.00
Day 6 101 50 51 50.50
Day 7 124 92 32 25.80
Day 8 120 87 33 27.50
Total 943 660 283 30.00

Chart for final inspection of sewing floor

Raw Edge, 27.2

Fabric fault, 30


Waist patti width variation, 2.5

Color variation, 9.5


Missing operation, 5.3


Run off, 11

Wrong pnl attach, 2.1

Open stitch, 5
Broken stitch, 1.41

Pinch, 3.53

Joint Out, 1.41

Cut, 1.41

Type of Defects

The final inspection the whole garment is checked very carefully, in the chart it can be
seen that the defects which keep the max percentage among all the defects are -
Raw edge
Fabric fault
Color variation

So these are the main area of concern in the favor of minimizing the waste.
Similarly initial and Final Inspection at finishing were done and analysed with the help of
cause and effect diagram. The results are as follows
1. Alteration percentage in sewing in-line inspection = 33.91%
2. Alteration percentage in sewing final inspection = 30.00%
3. Alteration percentage in finishing initial inspection = 21.95%
4. Alteration percentage in finishing final inspection = 23.36%
Sewing floor average alteration = 72%
Contribution of manual error to total defect is = 43%
Contribution of machine error to total defect is = 8%
Contribution of method error to total defect is = 20%
Contribution of material error to total defect is = 29%

1. Why contribution of manual error is 43%?

• No monitoring of operator’s performance
• Hourly monitoring only for the production only no monitoring for defective
• Pressure only for the quick production
• Operator’s attitude: No need of quality only high production is required.
• There is a dedicated machine for alteration making so no feed back to the
operator for his previous mistakes.
• No training for the old operators (while required in some critical operation of new
• Supervisor’s attitude: If they train the operators than they would not be able to
handle the other work.

2. Why contribution of material error is 29%?

• Defective cut components
• No defective cut components were sorted out before bundling
• Mixing of cut parts of different lots (leaded to color variation)

3. Why contribution of method error is 20%?

• Narrow table space for material flow in sewing line
• Lack of baskets for keeping finished and unfinished pieces
• In line pieces were put on floor, so operator’s time and fatigue will be increased
in picking up the pieces from the floor.
• Pieces get spoiled because of putting on the floor.

Implementation Module 2 :Waste due to transport

Material flow:
The specific area where to focus work was right from receiving of cut parts to
bundling, bundling to production floor, and production to finishing department. There was
no spreading and cutting in the unit A-5. All the cut components had to come from the
Faridabad unit in the poly-bags by the road transportation to the Noida unit. Cutting
department was on 1st floor, so all the cut parts were brought to 1st floor from the ground
floor by the labor itself because there was no lift. In the cutting department the bundle
sorting was done by the labor i.e. fusing, straightening the cut parts and tag preparation
was done then final bundling was done, than all the prepared bundles were sent to the
production floor by the labor in the poly-bags by loading on their back.
There were 6 lines of sewing machines which were responsible for the garment
production. Feeding in all of the 6 lines was being given from the front but the final out
put was coming in the end only from 2 lines. In other four lines the final out put was
coming from the middle end. These 4 lines were divided in two parts, when the garment
was half finished and reached in the middle of line, it was brought back by the helper,
who fed that half finished garment in the end of line, it started to flow towards the starting
point and was being finished in the middle end. Here the transportation was increasing;
this process consumed more manpower and more time compare to the other two lines.

Process flow diagram from cutting received to finishing

Cutting received from Faridabad

Manual loading from

ground floor to 1st floor

Placed in cutting department

Bundle sorting

Opening & straitening parts Fusing Tag preparation

Ticketing bundling with tag

Manual loading from 1st

floor to ground floor

Bundle feeding to production department

Final garment

Manual loading from

ground floor to basement

Feeding to finishing department

Manpower engaged in manual transportations:

Ground floor

Cut piece loading

1st floor

Bundle loading

Ground floor

Finished piece loading


All the loading right from cut part delivery to loading on all the relevant floors, the
material is loaded by labor putting on their back and carrying to the destination. This may
the cause of health injury of the employed worker and material damage as it is the
routine work and many a times in a day worker have to carry the good amount of raw
material and finished pieces from one floor to another floor.
Pie chart for the cause of defect:




I. All the transportation of cut parts and finished pieces, from one floor to other floor
was done by the labor carrying on its back.
II. Transportation within the 4 sewing line was more than the other two lines because
the line was divided in two parts, output from the 1st half line were being fed from the
back of 2nd half line, means in the line the flow material was reversing back and it
takes time and extra manpower in transporting the material in the comparison of the
other two lines.
III. Flow of the material in the line was carrying on the table, which had the lesser width
because the material flow on the table was not smooth; the result was missing
operation in the garment.
IV. Baskets were missing on some workstations, so the pieces were put on the floor.
Resultantly, the percentage of spotted and dusted pieces was increasing.
V. The other disadvantages of putting down the pieces on floor were:
(Percentage of defectives due to spotting was 32% in initial inspection and 26% in
final inspection)
• Operator fatigue in picking up and dropping down the material
• Percentage of dusted and spotted pieces 10.66%.
• Loss of manpower engaged in dust removing.
• Consumption of stain removing solvent engaged in removing dust is 70 to
80 liters per day.
• Ring formation in dark shade pieces due to the spray gun
• Checker’s time consumed in removing dust is –
No. of pieces checked/hour = 30 pieces/checker
Total no. of checkers = 12
Time consumed in removing dust = 16.25 seconds/checker
Percentage of pieces treated by solvent = 100 %
Time consumed in dust removing/shift (in seconds) = 8*30*12*16.25
= 46800 seconds
= 13 hours
Available hours = 8*12 = 96 hours
Time consumed in dust removing (in percentage) = 13.54%
• Time consumption of the operator engaged in removing major stains-
Percentage of pieces having major stains = 13.16 %
Average daily production from 4 lines = 560*4 = 2240
Total average stained pieces/shift = 2240*13.16/100
= 295 pieces
Average time consumed in stain removing is = 63.46 secs/piece
So total time consumed in removing major spots =312 minutes

• Extra movement of inventory in 4 lines –

Feed of the material for the 1st 27 machines was from front to backward and
feed for another 17 machines was from backward to forward.)
Extra distance covered by inventory in every 30 minutes was
= 378”+110”=488 inches
Because after every 30 minutes the inventory was moved to 488”,
so for the16 times inventory will be moved by = 488*16 = 3904 inches
Total extra distance traveled by inventory was = 3904 inches
Time consumed in one round movement of inventory= 18 sec/round
Total time consumed in 16 times movement in line = 18*16 = 288 sec
Total time consumed in four lines = 1152 sec = 19.2 min
• Time of 4 labors can be eliminated by 19.2 minutes by making
unidirectional flow of lines, who are engaged in transporting pieces within line
due to wrong flow.
• Waste due to missing operations that was 5 defectives per 100 units,
could be eliminated by making the table two racked.
Scope for further study:

As a part of project was able to design implementation approach for an apparel factory,
do technical audit and value stream mapping and corresponding cost benefit analysis of
implementing lean manufacturing in the factory cam be audited. The study remains more
or less of an analysis along with primary data collection. Hence suggesting someone to
implement in various areas such as Unnecessary inventory, Over production, Non Value
adding motions, Over-processing by using modules i.e. lean foundation, shop floor
implementation, performance improvement and follow up and corresponding sub
modules on a shop floor and feel the real benefits.
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process wastes; A DP 2002-2004
2. Ohno, Taiichi, Toyota production system: Beyond large scale production.
3. www.mekongcapital.com/Introduction%20to%20Lean%20manufacturing%
4. www.balancedscorecard.org/files/c-ediag.pdf
5. www.google.co.in
6. www.wikipedia.org
7. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lean_manufacturing
8. http://www.leanadvisors.com/Lean/
9. http://www.microsoft.com/industry/manufacturing/solutions/lean.mspx
10. http://www.simpler.com
11. www.leanbeyond.com
12. http://qualitytrainingportal.com
13. www.mckinsey.com/practice/psdc/ourwork/howwework/
14. www.se.cuhk.edu.hk/~yang/pubs.html