Let’s Get To The Basics: What are SAM and SMV?

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Time is the most valuable resource. And when we look at our garment industry across the globe, we see that all manufacturers and consultants have woken up to the fact that time is practically money. So, they are furiously trying to discover different methods to save this precious time. The idea always is to find a fair time for each job to ensure a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work. In order to save time and hence money, it is extremely important to first measure it.

Measure your time – SAM & SMV

When measuring time in garment manufacturing, there are many measures that different factories use. For instance, Standard Allowed Minute or SAM, Standard Minute Value or SMV, SAH, etc.

Pretty often, the terms SAM and SMV are used interchangeably. But there is a minute difference between the two, conceptually.

What does Standard Minute Value or SMV mean?

Standard Minute Value also known as standard time is the time that is allocated to an operation based on the motion study of the operation. It is the time a qualified operator takes for the operation, when following the standard or the best procedure, at the standard performance.

How to calculate SMV:

• Select synthetic data to be used. For instance, motion data as defined in General Sewing Data (GSD) or Predetermined Time Standard (PTS) codes etc., after thorough research.
• Select the operation to be studied.
• Observe the operation as a series of movements
• Refer to the synthetic data for determining the Time Measurement Unit (TMU) values for all of the observed movements.
• Convert TMU value to minutes.

For example:

Say the TMU for an operation studied is 450 TMU.
Convert this into minutes (1 TMU = 0.0006 min).
The SMV for the operation = 0.27 min (450 TMU x 0.0006 min)

Alternatively, time study can also be used for calculating SMV, where the cycle time of the operation is captured by studying an experienced operator. It also requires a rating scale to be applied which is again dependent on the expertise of the observer. For more accurate and fair time measurement, use of synthetic data is preferred. The focus on motion also ensures improvement in time and process.

What does Standard Allowed Minute mean?

Standard allowed minute, as the name suggests, tells us how much time is allowed for a certain job to get done. SAM gives the operation’s allowed time, after adding inallowances like bundle allowance, machine allowance and personal allowance to the SMV value obtained for the operation. This SAM is at 100% efficiency and it needs to be further corrected with expected efficiency for target setting.

How to calculate SAM:

• SAM = SMV + Allowance %

For example:

In the previous example, the SMV of the operation was 0.27 minutes.
Let the bundle allowance = 10%, which is=10% of 0.27= 0.027 min
Machine and personal allowance = 20%, which is= 20% of 0.27= 0.054 min
Adding the allowances to basic time we get, SAM = 0.27 + 0.027 + 0.054 =0.351 min

This is the most basic understanding of the frequently used terms- SAM and SMV. What you need right now is to measure your time accurately and fairly, as your complete garment costing and all of your productivity efforts are going to depend on it. There are various other measures of time calculation in the garment industry which needs to be understood well in order to maintain and improve it further. Because James Harrington has rightly said, “Measurement is the first step that leads to control and eventually to improvement”.

If you have alternate thoughts that you’d like to add related to these concepts, please let me know in the comments below.

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  1. Goutam says

    An industry allow a machine operator 80 minutes for various allowances (ie. work allowance & PFD allowance) in a 8 hrs working day; that means his/her
    basic or normal working time = 400 min
    total allowance time = 80 min
    total working hr = 8 hrs = 480 min
    what would be the allowance rate? 16.667% or 20%
    Please advise.

    1. Frank Lomax says

      If you are using the ‘Basic Time + Allowances’ method of setting a Standard time then list the activity and time allowed for each activity (i.e. Personal Needs x allowed frequency – Machine Delay x expected frequency etc) Add them all up into Total Minutes allowed.
      Then divide this sum by the Total length of Working Day to get the % Allowances or Downtime.
      Then take the Basic Minutes for each Operation x % downtime to get the Standard Time per Operation. Next add up all of the Operations needed to complete the Product or Task.
      Then divide the Total Length of Working Day (not including Lunch Breaks) by the Total of the Standard Times to find the Daily Capacity/Expected Output Target.
      You may also like to add up all of the Basic Minutes to make the product and do the same capacity calculation.
      Then, Divide the Allowance Capacity by the Basic Minutes Capacity X 100, to find the Percentage Utilisation of the Working Day due to all of the Allowances you have given.
      This will give you the true indication of how effective, or ineffective your factory will be if you make too many allowances for this and that which may never occur.
      I hope that this helps.

      1. Mausmi Ambastha says

        Hi Frank,

        Thanks for your comment. You have very nicely explained the concept.

    2. Mausmi Ambastha says

      Hi Goutam,

      Thanks for putting up your query.

      The allowance rate will be calculated on total working hours, i.e., 480 min and so it will be 16.667%

  2. ankuripe says

    yes , it’s always standard time , COATS/GSD like company use to say it SMV where others use to say SAM. But creating SMV/SAM for a operation/product, the formula is always same. Using GSD or similar software is good, but experience person can do it also in manual & sometime it’s give more standardized time than GSD. As an Industrial engineer & according to my experience in south Asia, those who are using manual method – i rarely found people are doing it in a correct way.

  3. Frank Lomax says

    After 45 years in the industry (Now Retired) , many years of which spent in senior management, at Director level, I have always used the International Labour Office book ‘Work Study’ as my guide to these issues but became equally as sceptical as Anjuli. My first 15 years and last 10 years reduced the detail application of these ‘Stop Watch and PTMS Measurement Systems into aids to target setting. Individual Measurement, applied to Basic and Bonus Payment Systems being very subjective in the way they were applied and the conditions surrounding their use. In a Jeans Factory – they work well because of the Ultimate Short Cycle Repetition involved. In a Short Run High Fashion, High Work Content business – these systems proved very demotivational and often skewed to suit Earnings Expectations. So I favour ‘Actual Time’ taken from a Team of Motivated People working in a Business Like Manner. Actual Output measures over a day or week used, rather than theoretical expectations. Team Based target setting and rewarding rather than uneven output of Personal Bonus motivated individuals with allowances for this and that distorting the picture. The Team Based Automotive industry in Japan was a great influence in my latter years. Moving Conveyor Team Balancing during my early years. Continuous Improvement and Keep It Simple, my motivators.

  4. Anjuli says

    The fact that we call it standard time and yet there exist variants in the industry on sam and smv and sah is a paradox which needs to be dwelt upon. For far too long the myopic practices of our industry have shrouded the critical subject of arriving at standard costs in mystery. The industry at large needs to figure out standards around these areas so that enterprises can dwell on far more important aspects of innovation and growth and progression.

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