Why Lean Manufacturing is Essential for Apparel Industry

Lean Manufacturing

The Lean Manufacturing is not a new word for us. Being a textile professional, every one of us has direct or indirect relation with textile manufacturing. The lean manufacturing is basically an operational strategy which supports the production from all aspects. By following its unique techniques and methods, the manufacturer can get an optimal production without any waste. So, in simple words, we can say that lean is a manufacturing without waste. The lean manufacturing concept was derived from Toyota production system which basic motive was to increase the value-added work by minimizing waste and reducing incidental work. The lean manufacturing basic concept is to put half efforts of the labor, half of the manufacturing space, half of the tools investment and the engineering hours for developing a new product in a half time.

Lean Manufacturing Concept:

As I described earlier that lean manufacturing philosophy is mostly derived from Toyota production system. With the help of lean manufacturing, a small automobile company named Toyota could reduce its waste and improve overall customer-value. The steady growth of Toyota from small company to globally renowned is an undoubted success of this system. The emphasis of lean manufacturing is utilizing fewer resources to produce the value added product.

Lean Manufacturing Vs Conventional Production System:

There is no doubt that lean manufacturing has totally changed the concept of the production system. As its techniques are conceptually different from the conventional system.  Although there are so many points which can differentiate both systems yet I have selected some points to understand the same in a better way:

Lean Manufacturing Vs Conventional Production System:

There is no doubt that lean manufacturing has totally changed the concept of the production system. As its techniques are conceptually different from the conventional manufacturing system.  Although there are so many points which can differentiate both systems yet I have selected some points to understand the same in a better way:

Conventional Manufacturing

Lean Manufacturing

 

The day to day production problems are normally view or treat as problems in conventional system.

In lean manufacturing, problems are normally view as opportunities for future improvement. By the help of which, there is a better chance to enhance new or value added features into the current product.
In traditional production system, the production is normally driving by sales forecast team or people. In lean system, it’s also one of the main motive of the production team to avoid surplus stock. So, this is why, the production is only driving by customer’s demand (like JIT system).
Work in progress (WIP) is a normal thing or part of production operation in conventional production system. Whereas in lean production system, the WIP is symbol that the process is requiring some improvements. And it is also considers as waste which need to improve on priority basis.
The top or in some cases tactical management level is authorize to change the process of production. And they normally don’t bother to involve operational staff in decision making process. Everyone is looking for the ways to improve the process/system. So, anyone from the production team can come up with suggestion to improve the product value in lean system.
In conventional production process, the standard work procedures only define in papers. But there is no any practical implications exist on the production floor. In lean manufacturing, everyone is normally following the standard procedure which describes in SOP. And it keeps following until or unless new or an improve version introduces or implements.
This system focuses more on the people’s training. And it totally relies on the people not to make mistakes. On the other hand, the lean manufacturing focuses on the system improvements. Once the system improves then it prevents people not to commit any mistake in day to day production matters.
In traditional or conventional production system, if the production process is working smoothly. Then no one bothers to intercept it for further improvements and things are running on same pattern years to years. In this way of production, if experts feel that with some necessary changes, they can improve the production system. Then they don’t wait for any happening/incident. They simply intercept the smooth system and implement the necessary changes to get a better production with quality.
In conventional production system, the product design lasts for a long period of time. In lean manufacturing, there research and development work is going on continues basis. This is why the product design and shape is changing by the passage of time.
In traditional production system, the quality department is built separately and they are responsible for the product quality parameters. The operational worker are note responsible for it. In this advance manufacturing system, all the workers are responsible for the quality of the product. The TQM and JIT systems are best examples of this.

 Some Other Factors:

The above comparison study is not over yet here.  As there are so many other benefits which a company can enjoy while adopting the lean manufacturing system. Even you can eliminate the following deadly waste blunders which you commit while following the conventional manufacturing system. The lean system identified the same as follows:

Some Other Factors:

The above comparison study is not over yet. As there are so other benefits which a company can enjoy while adopting the lean manufacturing system. Even you can eliminate the following deadly waste blunders which you commit while following the conventional manufacturing system. The lean system identified the same as follows:

  • Defects
  • Extra Processing cost
  • Transportation
  • Motion
  • Waiting
  • Over Production (Inventory)

Before the lean system, the defects or goods rejection percentage is uncontrollable. And due to this, the company has to produce extra (which causes extra processing & over production) to meet the exact order quantity. And sometime, this extra production drags the company towards extra cost and transportation for procurement of extra material for excessive goods. In short, a bad system pulls the financial cost of the produced product on break even or sometime even on negative side.

Lean Production in Apparel Industry:

Although the lean manufacturing concept was initiated by the Toyota motors yet it doesn’t fix for automobile industry only. This system has too much flexibility and can easily adopt into other manufacturing industries like apparel industry. By adopting this system, one can not only reduce its cost but also increase its turnover systematically. Its state-of-the-art system can continuously eliminate the non value-added activities which lead the company towards ultimate process cost saving.  In today’s competitive apparel market, where every upcoming order is requiring more competitive or low price.

So, it’s a normal practice of every manufacturer to revisit its product material sourcing cost and other factory overheads. So for this, the manufacturer has to cut down its material cost from scratch. After cutting the material cost, the next step is to get best competitive cost of its in house production. And for this, they have to check each and every factor which boosts the production cost surprisingly. And there is no doubt in it that rejection rate plays a vital role in the product cost. It can drag the company from profit to loss and vice versa. If a company controls this factor by adopting such method which is not only cost effective but production-friendly too. Then, the chances are really bright that the company can not only easily compete the market. But they can even earn better than previously.

Lean Manufacturing Implementation:

The lean manufacturing system is no doubt an ultimate solution to get the value-added product with minimum cost. This is why, the strength of textile manufacturing concern is increasing by every passing day. If you are closely observe the numbers of lean manufacturing oriented units in textile industry. Then you would realize that thousands of textile units are already adopting its techniques and methods. And now they are enjoying its benefits in terms of productivity and savings.