Industrial Engineering: An Essential in Apparel Manufacturing


Globalisation causes strong competition in the economy. The purchasing power of the consumer is expanding due to a growth in disposable income, which has led to a rise in customer demands. As such, the garment sector is facing a tremendous problem in manufacturing goods of the proper quantity and quality, in time and at least cost. Industrial Engineering plays a crucial role in meeting these difficulties.

According to the American Institute of Industrial Engineers (AIIE), “Industrial Engineering is concerned with the design, improvement and installation of integrated system of persons, materials and equipment. It draws upon specific knowledge and abilities in the mathematical, physical sciences coupled with the principles and procedures of engineering analysis and design to specify, forecast and evaluate the results to be obtained from such system.” (Engineering, 2021)

Industrial Engineering plays a very vital function in garment manufacturing and production. Learning and utilising IE tools and practises on the factory floor helps boost the overall performance. The purpose of industrial engineering is to design ways for optimising operations and controlling production costs by eliminating waste and non-value-added activities, thereby increasing productivity. Industrial engineering enables the effective utilisation of resources.

The concept of IE is related with the industrial revolution. It has passed through numerous phases to reach the present sophisticated stage. Adam Smith in 1776, through his book titled Wealth of Nations, created a foundation for scientific manufacturing. He proposed the concepts of division of labour which finally affected skill development, time savings and the usage of the specialised equipment.

James Watt, Boultin Mathew, and Robinson in 1864 gained a place in the history of Industrial Engineering because of their work connected to improvements in the performance of machines and industries. James Watt was famed for the steam engine and advanced the use of mechanical power to increase production.

Frederick W. Taylor was a mechanical engineer who pioneered research into more efficient techniques of labour. He lived from 1859 to 1915. He produced an integrated theory of management principles and methodologies, and he recommended data gathering and standards for workers through scientific training of workers. He also developed an integrated theory of management principles and methodology. He advocated for greater production to be achieved through collaboration between management and workers. Taylor introduced the idea of dividing the work that needed to be done between management and labour and assigning it to the people who were most prepared to do it.

In terms of the history of industrial engineering, the years 1882 to 1912 constitute a crucial turning point. The Factory system; the Owner, Engineer, and Manager Concept; equal work for equal compensation; and incentives, scheduling, and Gantt Charts are some of the important works that were produced during this time period.

Method Study is a technique for performing job analysis that was established in 1917 by Frank and Lillian Gilbreth. He came up with the Micro-Motion research, which is a dissection of work into primary components known as therbligs (Price, 1989).

Henry L. Gantt’s contributions to the fields of motivation, the establishment of task and bonus plans, the evaluation of management results using Gantt Charts, and the acknowledgment of the social responsibility of business and industry were all made in 1993. Additionally, he urged for the management to provide staff with training.

The field of industrial engineering (IE) has progressed to the point that diverse methodologies are not only established, but also utilised, in order to boost the overall productivity of an organisation by making the most efficient use of its available resources. Method Study, Time Study (also known as “Work Measurement”), Motion Economy, Financial and Non-Financial Incentives, Value Analysis, Production, Planning and Control, Inventory Control, Job Evaluation, Material Handling Analysis, Ergonomics (also known as “Human Engineering”), System Analysis, and Operations Research Techniques are all examples of these methods.

Within the garment industry, an Industrial Engineer is responsible for a variety of tasks. The following describe each of these:

  •  Providing pre-order costs based on the cost of the tech pack, as well as post-order costs based on samples, in conjunction with merchandisers
  •  Developing an Operation Bulletin (OB) with consideration given to the principles of line balancing in order to improve overall productivity in the sewing and finishing processes.
  •  Using MTM, calculate Standard Allowed Minute (SAM)/Standard Minute Value (SMV) by doing motion study through video analysis and then analysing the data.
  •  Providing the merchandising department with SAM/SMV in order for them to price their products
  •  Providing SAM/SMV to the production planning department so that they may plan and schedule the manufacture of products.
  •  Determination is based on an efficiency calculation using SAM and SMV, operator assignment, and predetermined goals for an assembly line.
  •  Establishing production goals according to the degree of difficulty and criticality of the work, as well as the available skill matrix.
  •  Maintaining factory productivity by performing calculations such as capacity analysis, analysis of assembly line performance and changeover efficiency, analysis of time and motion, analysis of machine breakdown, and so on.
  •  Following the completion of the reengineering project, developing standard operating procedures (SOP) for the various departments and processes. Putting standard operating procedures (SOP) for production and quality into place across many departments.
  •  Ensuring the implementation of a variety of industrial engineering techniques in every feasible area for the purpose of achieving the highest possible levels of productivity and making the most efficient use of available resources through the application of quality control order.
  •  Carrying out capacity booking and developing an open capacity plan in accordance with the factory’s strategic business plan.
  •  Determining what types of training are required based on the quality of the work, as well as conducting skill evaluations of newly hired operators
  •  Coordinating with product development in order to streamline the manufacturing process so that items may be delivered on time to customers; this is done in order to make products more commercially viable.
  •  Ensuring a reduction in costs by cutting down on a variety of wasteful practises and instituting Kaizen.
  •  Ensuring compliance with regulations pertaining to worker safety, product safety, and product quality.
  •  Taking ergonomics into consideration while designing work tools and the workplace
  •  The investigation and application of a variety of instruments for the study of methods and the evaluation of work.
  • As Lean is an extension of Industrial Engineering, you should get involved in the process of putting lean ideas into practise inside an organisation.
  •  To guarantee that the available materials are utilised to their full potential, perform a number of calculations, such as those involving the consumption of thread, buttons, and fabric. Additionally, calculate the amount of other clothing trimmings that are used.
  •  Design the layout of the factory or floor so that it requires a minimum amount of transit in order to maximise the use of people, machines, and materials.
  • Find a solution to the bottleneck problem by performing line balancing.
  •  Compile a list of the skills possessed by each operator at a manufacturing facility.
  •  Collaborate with the human resources staff to devise a workforce recruitment strategy.
  •  Check the production report of cutting, sewing, and finishing. In addition to this, check absenteeism, cutting balance, lost time monitoring report, cut plan rejection report, efficiency and compliance report on the progress of work and problems that are occurring in production.
  •  Prior to beginning production, arranging pre-production meetings with the production, quality, planning, merchandising, and product development teams.
  •  In order to understand the status of the production at various stages of production, you are required to make work-in-progress (WIP) reports on cutting, sewing, and finishing according to the File, PO, and Style.
  •  Keeping the ERP team updated on any status reports about leftover items
  • Check that the packaging was completed in accordance with CT-PAT standards.
  •  Compiling a number of reports, as well as consolidation and variation reports, in order to send them to the top management, acting in the appropriate manner in response to the disparity that exists between build-up and actual production, and finding a solution to the issue by working in the appropriate manner in collaboration with the top management.
  •  Providing a risk-free environment for workers to work in.

As a result, the Industrial Engineering department works toward the ongoing expansion of the company by maintaining a commitment to the concept of continuous improvement. Despite the fact that this department is not directly connected to any of the five pillars of business, it is still a crucial support structure in an organisation. Because of the intense level of competition in this industry at the moment, every garment manufacturing company absolutely needs to have this section.


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