even within a day; this needs higher flexibility in volume and style change over
(Shahram and Cristian, 2011).
In some cases it has been observed that, in developing countries the garment industries
are run as family business lacking skilled personnel as well as capital to implement new
technologies for improving productivity and flexibility. Because of this, industries have
been running in a traditional way for years and are rigid to change. They are happy as
long as they are sustaining their business. They don’t have much confidence and will
towards innovation over old processes. Now the time has come to struggle with global
market demand and niche market in garment industries if they want to run it further
(Gao, Norton, Zhang and Kin-man To, 2009).
This volatility of styles can be addressed only by flexibility in manufacturing. The best
way to cope with all these challenges is the implementation of lean manufacturing. This
will serve our purpose of flexibility and save a lot of money by reducing production
lead time, reducing the inventory, increasing productivity, training operators for
multiple works, and by reducing rework.
1.2 Research Problems
The major problem people faced in garment industry is stitching; most of time failure to
meet delivery time is because of stitching. Stitching operations (with respect to cutting
and finishing) needs high skill as well as quality work, because of difficulty associated
with repairing of products sewed with wrong specifications. Thus we have to give more
attention to stitching than to cutting and finishing of garments.
Firstly, High WIP in traditional type of batch production is the major problem faced by
industries. Due to high WIP the throughput time as well as rework is very high. In some
cases, even though the operator has completed the stitching operations the garment
cannot be packed because of high WIP. Due to huge WIP, the defective parts are hidden
inside the batches and it is very difficult to clear them while completing the final order
quantity. This is the reason why garment professionals seem to work like fire fighters;
because they are always in a hurry for searching the missing garment pieces all over the
Secondly, in batch processing flexibility cannot be achieved easily; which is the current
demand of garment industry. This is obstructed by the decreasing order size and
increasing number of styles. So to meet this requirement production layout should be
designed such that it should hold minimum WIP and should be flexible enough to the
changing of order.
Thirdly, in batch process operators are given specific jobs, so the operator knows one or
a few more operations only. Though he (she) may have good skill and can work more
efficiently on one (allocated job only) operation; he (she) cannot work immediately on
some other operation. This is another need of today’s world, because the fashion is
changing frequently and the work force should be capable enough to cope with this
change. To achieve this operator should be multi-skilled; which can be served by
regular training and converting long assembly lines into small manufacturing cells.
Workload fluctuation among operators is another problem in batch processing, because
one operator is given one operation at a time. So the operator who is performing easier
and low time consuming jobs can pile up a huge amount of WIP whereas in the critical
operations (operations which need more time and skill) there is lagging causing
unbalanced WIP in-between machines and the work load is not proper among operators.
This research tries to address all these problems of garment industry by implementing
lean manufacturing in the case company.
1.3 Research Objective
Lean manufacturing is an operational strategy oriented towards achieving the shortest
possible cycle time by eliminating wastes. The term lean manufacturing is coined to
represent half the human effort in the company, half the manufacturing space, half the
investment in tools and half the engineering hours to develop a new product in half the
time. These benefits can be achieved only if the concept is religiously followed in the
organization. In simple terms lean manufacturing is without waste. Thus the objective of
this research is to find out how we can use lean manufacturing to achieve the following:
• To meet customer demand on time by eliminating non value added work from
• To minimize the work in process inventory
• To create flexibility of style changeover
• To reduce rework percentage
• To create a pool of multi-skilled operators who can respond quickly for
1.4 Research Approach
The initial step in this research is to systematically study and define the history of the
lean manufacturing concept and its different tools and techniques. It will then examine
some most used lean manufacturing tools and techniques. This will be followed by the
study of the existing production system of the case company for example the existing
production layouts, inventory movement systems, work balancing methods and other
different variables which needs to be improved for the betterment of the existing
To address the current issues of the industry, the researcher tries to find out the standard
operation time for each operation by using time study techniques and will try to
standardize all the operations. Once the standard operation time is obtained work will be
done to find out the best suitable production layout and WIP movement methods, which
will help to get flexibility in style changeover, should reduce the production lead time,
create operator multi-skilling etc. After doing these entire things as paper work, the
researcher will implement the research outcomes in the company and the improvement
will be measured against the existing process. Basically, this is quantitative research
where the researcher is a part of the organization during the study.
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1.5 Report Construction
The whole report consists of seven chapters. The first chapter describes the need of the
research, research objectives and research approach. Literature review about lean
manufacturing, layout designs, time study and assembly line balancing is described in
chapter two. Industry background and garment manufacturing processes are described
in the third chapter followed by the research methodology, data collection methods etc.
in chapter four.
The fifth chapter includes the analysis part of the research; in this chapter different
parameters are compared between existing production systems and the new
recommended system. Chapter six is about the research summary, conclusion of
research, its limitations and recommendation for further study, followed by the list of
reference in the seventh chapter.
2 LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1 History of Lean
During II world war, the economic condition of Japan was heavily destroyed. Due to
this there was scarcity of fund resulting in limiting access to corporate finance. In this
situation, neither Toyota was able to set up a mass production system like their
American counterparts, nor it was possible to layoff the employees to reduce their cost
due to legislation. Anyhow Toyota had to devise a new system for reducing costs to
sustain in the market. So they decided to produce a small batch of products which would
reduce inventories; it means they would need less capital to produce the same product.
But this is obstructed by the practical difficulty of changing tools and production lines
frequently. To cope with this problem they started making multipurpose tooling systems
in their machines and trained their employees in changeover time reduction methods. At
the same time, Toyota realized that investing in people is more important than investing
in bigger size machinery and continues employee training throughout the organization.
This motivates all employees and they are more open to the improvement process and
everyone started giving their input to the company.
In this way, short production runs started by Toyota became a benefit rather than a
burden, as it was able to respond much more rapidly to changes in demand by quickly
switching production from one model to another (Drew, Blair and Stefan, 2004, p. 5-6).
Toyota didn’t depend on the economies of scale prod uction like American companies. It
rather developed a culture, organization and operating system that relentlessly pursued
the elimination of waste, variability and inflexibility. To achieve this, it focused its
operating system on responding to demand and nothing else. This in turn means it has to
be flexible; when there are changes in demand, the operating system is a stable
workforce that is required to be much more skilled and much more flexible than those in
most mass production systems. Over time, all these elements were consolidated into a
new approach to operations that formed the basis of lean or Toyota Production System.
2.2 Definition of Lean
The popular definition of Lean Manufacturing and the Toyota Production System
usually consists of the following (Wilson, 2009, p. 29-30).
1. It is a comprehensive set of techniques which when combined allows you to
reduce and eliminate the wastes. This will make the company leaner, more
flexible and more responsive by reducing waste.
2. Lean is the systematic approach to identifying and eliminating waste through
continuous improvement by flowing the product or service at the pull of your
customer in pursuit of perfection (Nash, Poling and Ward, 2006, p. 17).
According to (Drew et al., 2004, p 25) the lean operating system consists of the
• A lean operating system follows certain principles to deliver value to the
customer while minimizing all forms of loss.
• Each value stream within the operating system must be optimized individually
from end to end.
• Lean tools and techniques are applied selectively to eliminate the three sources
of loss: waste, variability and inflexibility.
Thus the organization who wants to implement lean should have strong customer focus,
should be willing to remove wastes from the processes they operate on daily basis and
should have the motivation of growth and survival.
2.3 Lean Principles
The major five principles of Lean are as follows (Burton T. and Boeder, 2003, p. 122):
Principle 1: Accurately specify value from customer perspective for both products and
Principle 2: Identify the value stream for products and services and remove non-value-
adding waste along the value stream.
Principle 3: Make the product and services flow without interruption across the value
Principle 4: Authorize production of products and services based on the pull by the
Principle 5: Strive for perfection by constantly removing layers of waste.
2.4 Toyota Production System
It is a manufacturing system developed by Toyota in Japan after World War II, which
aims to increase production efficiency by the elimination of waste. The Toyota
production system was invented and made to work, by Taiichi Ohno. While analyzing
the problems inside the manufacturing environment; Ohno came to conclude that
different kinds of wastes (non value added works) are the main cause of inefficiency
and low productivity. Ohno identified waste in a number of forms, including
overproduction, waiting time, transportation problems, inefficient processing, inventory,
and defective products.
Figure 1 shows the Toyota Production System in detail. From this figure it can be seen
that TPS is not only a set of different tools but it is the philosophy and integration of
different tools and systems to achieve a common goal of waste reduction and efficiency
improvement. Each element of this house is critical, but more important is the way the
elements reinforce each other. Just In Time (JIT) means removing the inventory used to
buffer operations against problems that may arise in production. The ideal of one-piece
flow is to make one unit at a time at the rate of customer demand or Takt time. Using
smaller buffers (removing the “safety net”) means t hat problems like quality defects
become immediately visible. This reinforces Jidoka, which halts the production process.
This means workers must resolve the problems immediately and urgently to resume
FIGURE 1: Toyota Production System
Stability is at the foundation of the house. While working with little inventory and
stopping production when there is a problem causes instability and a sense of urgency
among workers. In mass production, when a machine goes down, there is no sense of
urgency because the maintenance department is scheduled to fix it while the inventory
keeps the operations running. By contrast, in lean production, when an operator shuts
down equipment to fix a problem, other operations will also stop immediately due to no
inventory creating a crisis. So there is always a sense of urgency for everyone in
production to fix problems together to get the machine in working condition and to run
the production as soon as possible.
Toyota Way (Liker, 2003, p. 33)
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