Elimination Of Fabric Inspection Process

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Garment industry is becoming increasingly competitive by the day. To stay ahead of the pack, we need to ensure we can offer our customers the best possible quality in the least possible costs. To achieve this optimal cost and quality balance, we need to identify and eliminate redundant activities from our garment manufacturing process.
One such redundancy is the fabric inspection system. The fabric is first inspected in the mill, and then again in our factory to ensure its quality. But do we need to conduct this inspection twice, or, can we trust our supplier for the quality promised and carry on with our process, without inspecting it again ourselves?

HOW TO ELIMINATE INSPECTION PROCESS IN YOUR MANUFACTURING FACILITY?

Starting with the basics here, we need to find reliable suppliers, quality of whose product we can trust without inspection. Such supplier relationships don’t come easy and overnight; it takes time and efforts from both the parties. To go that extra mile, we can indulge in conducts like profit sharing with the supplier, entering long term contracts with suppliers, ensuring prompt payments to them, etc. to make sure they maintain the quality standards we expect and pay them for.
Choosing the Right Suppliers:
Before building a sound supplier relationship, choice of the right supplier is the primary factor. There are certain considerations that can help us in making this choice:

At Factory Level: We can start with a grading system, especially for our fabric suppliers, based on the past inspection data. Say for instance, you receive a certain fabric from one of your suppliers. Then you can start by inspecting and grading that fabric, from that particular supplier over a period of time. Based on this data, we can go for an overall supplier grading. The process can be understood as:

flowchart-1

At Global Level: If all of our suppliers are following one standard inspection system, then our need to re-inspect reduces to a huge extent. So what we need is to follow a standard inspection system, which is followed for and by all our suppliers, and agreed upon by our buyers. The 4-point and the 10-point inspection systems are widely followed in the industry, and to know more about them, you can go to our previous stitch diary blog: fabric inspection and grading.

At Buyer level: Independent form the previous two methods, when searching for a new supplier, we can look for our buyer’s nominated suppliers. This reduces the factory’s need for inspection, as the suppliers are already attested by the buyer.
Grading your supplier, knowing your supplier, knowing what quality to expect from the supplier is a big step towards elimination of inspection in your factory altogether. Inspection is costly and a time taking process, and any time and money saved in the process is going to add up to your bottom line. So start grading your suppliers, choosing the right ones, building strategic relationships with them, and then gradually eliminate the inspection process from your factory altogether.

About the author:
Apoorv is a Senior Consultant at Threadsol.
He has over 5 years’ experience in apparel manufacturing, project delivery and management in apparel manufacturing sector. His key skills lie in the field of Apparel Manufacturing Operations and supply chain.

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2 Comments

  1. Nitin Tasgaonkar says



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    There are some things called a necessary waste.
    at the moment this process falls under necessary waste.

    The variables that come in to play are huge and manual work is making most of the process.
    The fabric is checked in the factory mainly to safeguard the interest of the factory as if the factory finds out that the fabric is bad after sewing the garments, then there is wastage of the CM which has to be borne by the factory and even the mills do not agree upon when the fabric is cut.

    Also the CSV and running shades are not checked at the mill, even if checked no fabric is held in the mill for this defect.

    In current scenario where shrinking FOBs and rising CM & overheads are giving rise to severe competition,the factory tries to source with the lowest quote from their database of suppliers and where all the checking standards are set in the mill, that mills quote is a bit high, thats the ground reality.

    My feeling is that,it will take quiet some time to arrive at the scenario where the factory can eliminate the fabric inspection process.

    Lastly this is not the adamant attitude or resistance to change, but having worked both at the mill and factory, and understanding each segments constraints, I arrive at the above conclusion.

    Yes placing the QC at the Mill is an alternate,then too the proper 4 points inspection does not.
    In the factory 2 QCs are placed at each machine to cover the full width of the fabric and the full lot should be ready to take up 10% rolls, if this is done at half complete stage then the same lot can be offered again and the sanctity of the inspection process is lost.

  2. amit gupta says



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    Yes, i agree with the author statement that it is a non value addition process. First mills check it and then again it is checked 100% at most of the garment manufacturing companies just to ensure it.
    I saw most of the garment companies are still following it. But some of the smart and well settled companies are eliminating it by hiring QC at vendor’s place, to ensure the quality and quantity.

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