Monday, September 3, 2012

Modular Garments Production System

Modular Garments Production System 
There are so many popular apparel garments production systems, such as

-Progressive bundle system
-Unit Production System
-Modular Garments Production System
-Combined garments Production System
A modular garments production system is a contained, manageable work unit that includes an empowered work team, equipment, and work to be executed. Modules frequently operate as minifactories with teams responsible for group goals and self-management. The number of teams in a plant varies with the size and needs of the firm and product line in garments. Teams can have a niche function as long as there are orders for that type of garments product, but the success of this type of garments operation is in the flexibility of being able to produce a wide variety of products in small quantities in garments.

Many different names are currently used to identify modular garments production systems, including modular garments manufacturing, cellular garments manufacturing units, compact work teams, flexible work groups, self-directed work teams, and Toyota Sewing System (TSS) in garments. The basic premise is similar among these production systems, although the organization and implementation may vary.

The number of employees on a team, usually 4 to 15, varies with the product mix. A general rule of thumb is to determine the average number of operations required for a style being produced and divide by three. Team members cross-trained and interchangeable among tasks within the group. Incentive compensation is based on group pay and bonuses for meeting team goals for output and quality. Individual incentive compensation is not appropriate for team-based garments production. Teams may be used to perform all the operations or a certain portion of the assembly operations depending on the organization of the module and processes required. Before a firm can establish a modular production system, it must prioritize its goals and make decisions that reflect the needs of the firm.

With a team-based system operators are given the responsibility for operating their module to meet goals for throughput and quality. The team is responsible for maintaining a smooth work flow, meeting production goals, maintaining a specified quality level, and handling motivational support for the team. Team members develop an interdependency to improve the process and accomplish their goals. Interdependency is the relationship among team members that utilizes everyone's strengths for the betterment of the team.

Work flow in modular garments production
A Modular garments Production System operates as a Pull System, with demand for work coming from the next operator in line to process the garment. Wastage is normal, and workflow is continuous and does not wait ahead of each operation. This increases the potentials for flexibility of styles and quantities of products that can be produced. Teams usually operate as ‘Stand-up’ or ‘Sit-down’ units.

A module may be divided into several work zones based on the sequence of garments operations and the time required for each operation. A work zone consists of a group of sequential garment operations. Operators are trained to perform the operations in their work zone and adjacent operations in adjoining work zones so they can move freely from one operation to another as the garment progresses.

Work flow within a module may be with a Single-piece hand-off, Kanban, or Bump-back system. If a single-piece hand-off is used, machines are arranged in a very tight configuration. As soon as an operation is completed the part is handed to the next operator for processing. Operations need to be well balanced as there is usually only one garment component between each operation. Some modules may operate with a buffer or small bundle of up to ten pieces of work between operators. If a small bundle is used, an operator will complete the operation on the entire bundle and carry the bundle to the next operation. An operator may follow a component or bundle for as many operations as they have been trained or until the adjacent operator is ready to assume work on the bundle.

A Kanban uses a designated work space between operations to balance supply with demand. The designated space will hold a limited number of completed components (two or three) in queue for the next operation. If the designated space is full, there is no need to produce more until it is needed or the space empties. This limits build up of product ahead of the next operation. When the space is full the operator can assist with other operations that may be slow.

The bump-back or TSS (Toyota Sewing System) approach was developed by the Toyota Sewn Product Management System and is probably the most widely used type of team-based manufacturing. It is a stand-up module with flexible work zones and cross-trained operators. Operators may be cross-trained on up to four different successive operations. This enables operators to shift from operation to operation until the next operator is ready to begin work on the garment. The operator needing work steps to the beginning of the zone and takes over the processing at whatever point it is in the production process. The operator who has been relieved of the garment will then move back to the beginning of the work zone and take over work on another garment. This approach enables continuous work on a garment and allows each operator to perform several different operations. This arrangement frequently uses a 4-to-l ratio of machines to operators.

Advantages of a Modular Garment Production System are:
1.) High flexibility
2.) Fast throughput times
3.) Low wastages
4.) Reduced Absenteeism
5.) Reduced Repetitive Motion Ailments
6.) Increased employee ownership of the production process
7.) Empowered employees
8.) Improved Quality

Disadvantages of Modular Garments Production System:
1.) A high capital investment in equipment.
2.) High investment in initial training.
3.) High cost incurred in continued training

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Wish you good luck......................................................

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