Are You Wasting Fabric In Cutplan?

9 4,615
2 min read

Production planning in sewn product manufacturing is very important. An experienced planner survives the most uncertain environment. His duty is to plan resources and material in an way that he can optimize utilization, save time and cost. Cut planning and marker making being the core of production planning, ensures maximum utilization of fabric. After all we are experts at making the “Best Cutplan”, or so we think!

However there’s one key aspect the industry has been overlooking since ages now. The big picture. The sole objective of planning is not to ensure fabric saving on paper, it is to ensure physical fabric saving, in roll form, on the production floor. So does your “Best Cutplan” really save you fabric? Let us take a look at a very simple example.

Let us assume you have a very simple order of 50 pieces:


The two best possible cutplan solutions with their markers are as follows:


And the “Best Cutplan” award undoubtedly goes to Plan B for saving 1% fabric over Plan A.
But this just shows fabric saving on paper. Would this actually result in fabric saving on floor? We can never be sure owing to the vast non uniformity of fabric roll lengths.

Let us assume you have the following rolls of total length 130m to complete the order.


Now let us see how these plans fare on the production floor.

Roll Allocation_Revised2

After real time execution of the plans, we actually see that Plan B which was supposed to save 1% fabric is wasteful.
Plan B is eventually leading you to
– Use 2% extra fabric than plan A,
– Waste 5.4 % fabric
there-by wasting fabric in cutplan and making you prone to the risk of short shipping.
Therefore, owing to the vast variation of fabric rolls on the production floor, it is naive to expect even your “Best Cutplan” and related markers to save you fabric on the floor. Why? Because to save fabric, you need to accommodate fabric rolls in your plan. Simple.

So, to summarise:
No Cutplan is the “Best Cutplan” unless it physically saves fabric.
• Fabric can only be saved if fabric is taken into account while planning.

The need of the hour is a robust and flexible cut plan and roll plan which considers fabric rolls and other on-floor variations along with order quantity and marker efficiency.
A plan which ensures saving in roll form rather than smaller end pieces so an improved buying decision can be made in future.

A plan which constantly takes feedback from the floor and optimises itself for best results after each variation on the floor.

In my next article, I will elaborate on how to create such a plan that results in physical saving of the biggest investment – Fabric.

You might also like More from author


  1. Anup says

    Hi Mausmi,

    First of all endbits cannot be considered as waste. In practical situation we come across re-cutting panels, where these end bits are being used. After all there is no perfect fabric.

    Also we need to reserve some fabric for use in later stages of production, to cut defective parts/damaged panels, even though we can consume the roll to the last centimeter.

    In PLAN-B we are left with 2 bits of fabric which is 4.75m & 2.25m. Since the 4.75m can be used for single way marker, it cannot be considered as waste. Actual wastage would be (4.75-3)+2.25=4m i.e 3.07 %. Further these bits can be used to cut one more garment.

    So I still say PLAN-B is better than PLAN-A. If one method is comparatively better than other on paper than definetly it will be better practically also. It cannot be otherwise as explained above. Yes there could be variations in what is on paper and actual situation, but as long as these variations are under control limits, its just fine.

    1. Mausmi Ambastha says

      Hi Anup,
      I appreciate your points but disagree with them completely.
      1. Any fabric that is used for part change or replacing damaged panels should be considered as wastage. We are losing money here. We are utilizing / recycling the wastage but are not making garments out of it. The company is losing money.
      2. Yes, agreed the fabric always has defects and we may need to replace certain panels. However, good the plan is; there will always be some smaller fabric pieces left.
      All the panel replacement can be done by the offcuts. Offcuts are endbit pieces smaller than one garment consumption.
      3. As per your analysis you have ended up cutting one extra garment in Plan B which you can’t ship as you have already completed order quantity earlier and also spent labour and time to cut that extra piece.
      So you are artificially reducing wastage to 3% and feel happy but still on all practical terms gain nothing.
      The entire objective of the article is to explain that a good cutplan on paper does not give you the same advantage on floor. This is because you only look at one dimension markers while creating a cutplan. There is another dimension of fabric rolls to this which should be looked upon while creating your best cutplan.

      1. Sreehari Chandra says

        Hi Mausmi,
        Thank you for the post. Very insightful.
        So a best cut plan on paper may not be the best on the floor because of the variations in roll length.
        Very intuitive.
        If I understood it correctly, we need to plan in such a way so that we can have a marker out of the remnants.
        And that leads to very small wastage in individual roles and the savings can be consolidated in one or two roles.

        But I feel that the example given is not completely making this clear (May be because you took a very simple example). I somehow feel that in this case PLAN B is still better than PLAN A, since both the plans are short by 1 Ply and at least in PLAN B we have bigger remnants.

        However I definitely appreciate the objective of this post. And I request you to increase the frequency of your posts.

        Thanks & Regards,

        1. Mausmi Ambastha says

          Thank you Sreehari for your appreciation.
          The idea here, is that we need to plan in such a way that no or least possible remnants are left behind, and we should use these end bits as well for planning remaining pieces.
          We cannot decide which is a better cut plan without taking fabric into account for planning, because planning on paper does not include floor feedback and practical fabric variations and cannot ensure physical fabric saving, as shown in the article. If we intentionally try to leave bigger fabric pieces for planning then it would increase the markers and in turn, increasing effort as well.

  2. Anonymous says

    Hi mausmi
    Having 14 yes exp in garments cutting and fabric area.will be appreciat if I do something for u
    Satish kumar

  3. Anonymous says

    Very thoughtful and explained well.
    I would like to broaden the discussion. Cut planning and fabric management have been largely ignored in the fashion industry in the developed world, where employee costs and speed to market will bring more financial advantage than 1% fabric savings. The metric that you use, low labour costs and a 50-70% cloth component are not the norms worldwide, and you must be aware that practical solutions will be dependent on the individual manufacturers situation.

    1. Mausmi Ambastha says

      Thank you for your appreciation.
      I agree that cut planning and fabric management should be based on the individual factory costs. A good cutplan and fabric management should focus on both fabric cost, employee cost and speed to market. Even in the developing world these parameters of employee cost and speed are important as time in exports is also of prime importance.
      The article actually emphasizes your point that looking at only a good cutplan with fabric saving achieves nothing. Neither fabric saving nor production speed and labour saving.
      This should be done looking at order quantity, factory parameters, over all costs and available fabric rolls to achieve the most optimal results.

  4. Richard says

    Dear Mausmi,
    I enjoy your articles as they make sense, unlike many that prattle on about nothing.
    There is a couple of things that many overlook, you most likely know these but I will say this anyway. Are you familiar with splice points in a stencil ? Another saving is to use a relatively cheap machine called an end cutter, this eliminates the folding at the ends of the lay which can waste up to 5 cm at each end. Lastly we used to do a “Step Lay” with the larger amount on the lower obviously. Another thing is “Roll Inspection” where the fabric is run over a large frame with about 30 lights behind a piece of translucent perspex, the operator circles any defects with white chalk, so when the fabric is spread the flaw stands out. The machine also has a counter wheel on it which ensures the rolls exact length. Lastly there is the “Rem Lay” (Remnants) that is usually placed at the end of the main lay and any fabric that is spliced out makes extra units and further saves fabric.
    Kind Regards,

    1. Mausmi Ambastha says

      Hi Richard,
      Thanks a lot for your constant support and encouragement. Whatever you have written is spot on.
      The concept of splice points is very useful in saving fabric but it can only be realised to its full potential if people are conscious about not increasing the overlap too much. We advocate splicing with proper splice points/ranges marked from CAD software where the overlap is not more than 10 to 15 cm. This has worked in many places.
      Also the concept of “Step Lay” contributes in saving fabric hugely but it requires conscious effort in applying it intelligently. I have seen many places where people use these concepts and instead of reaping benefits end up wasting a lot.
      End cutters are a norm in this part of the world. People never use folding at the ends. Roll Inspection also is very much a standard process. It is a good way to monitor fabric defects but sometimes 100% fabric roll inspection becomes difficult operationally for the factory to execute so they prefer 100% cut panel inspection. Remnants is another concept which we almost always advocate.
      It would be great if we can have the opportunity to publish some of your knowledge in an article as a guest post. There are very few people who have such in depth understanding of cutting concepts. It would indeed be an honour.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: