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Garment Quality Control: A Pratical Guide For Apparel Company

The first part is about the quality definition, what is garment quality, if you already have a good picture of what defines garment quality control, what is quality, you can skip to Chapter 1.

Garment Quality Control: Before the article

Amidst the current state of the global sphere, the pandemic, financial crises, and constant vacillations in growth and development, the textile and fabric industry are also turning into a battleground for wealth. The upscale on the pressure placed on the economy over the past few years has not been favorable for this sector. Nonetheless, the industry is still standing. Famous apparel lines with strong brands and a decent customer image are some of the pillars keeping it afloat. The nature of clothing as a commodity directly associated with the consumer should be taken seriously. Clothing firms need to enhance product quality because this can also boost market competitiveness. It is no news that consumers are faced with regular clothing issues, like durability, wear and tear, etc. Some of these worries arise from the quality of the fabrics.

This article is a guide on how fabric and textile firms can regulate and keep the quality of their products in check. Before we begin to look into quality control, it is essential to understand the fabric production process. The following is the production process of a clothing company:

garment manufacturing process

(Figure 1-1 Clothing Production Process)

The illustration above simplifies the fabric production process and the shows where quality issues might arise. Three main areas of fabric production are also addressed in the figure above – fabric accessories inspection, production and execution, and quality inspection. These three areas are also an important aspect of quality control. Now, let’s find out what quality is before we dive into the scope of fabric quality.

Definition of Quality

The definition of quality differs by perspective. A producer’s definition of quality differs from that of the user. Some ascribe value to their definition, and some don’t. The following are different definitions of what quality means:

  • A product-based definition of quality views quality as a precise and measurable variable. This view on quality relies largely on the difference in the quantity of ingredients used or the physical features or properties of these products. Finer rugs with a higher number of knots per square inch are seen as products with high quality, while the ones with fewer knots are said to be lower.
  • A user-based definition of quality is simply what satisfies the desires, needs, and wants of the customer. For them, products must meet their requirements and their specifications to be of good quality.
  • A manufacturer-based definition of quality means keeping to specifications. The conformance to requirements is the sole meaning and significance of quality to a manufacturer, and failure to meet this means poor quality.
  • A value-based definition of quality relies more on cost – the cost of production or of the service to be rendered. The quality of any product placed on this scale must answer the question, “How valuable is this product?”

Scope of Quality

The scope of quality can be divided into eight parts, and they are:

Scope of Quality

  1. Performance:This is based on the primary operating properties of a product.
  2. Features:The features of a product are those secondary properties that support a product’s basic functions.
  3. Reliability: This applies to the possibility, within a given time, of a product to malfunction or fail.
  4. Conformance:This applies to the degree to which the architectural and functional properties of a product conform with previously defined requirements.
  5. Durability:This indicates the lifetime of a process or the period of a commodity.
  6. Serviceability: The ability of a commodity to ease into repairs alludesto this property.
  7. Aesthetics: This means the look, feel, taste or smell of a commodity. The visual aspects of a commodity are all constituent of this property.
  8. Perceived quality: This relates to what consumers consider to be the visibility and market reputation content of the product.

 

CHAPTER 1 PRE-PRODUCTION’s Garment Quality Control

 

1.1 FABRIC QUALITY CONTROL

The pre-production stage of fabric making is as essential as any other part of the production process. A lot of energy goes into picking materials, testing them, and making sure the materials are of standards and will produce a good product. Quality control starts from the pre-production stage. This stage includes fabric selection, samples, etc. Manufacturers make color matching, choose styles, make samples, and the commodity department in charge of price does the value costing. The coming together of the essential personnel in production is also necessary for this phase. Material inspection, sample storage, and pre-production meetings are essential. If the production will involve raw materials (e.g., fabrics and accessories), then the first step to checking the quality of the product is to make sure the raw materials are up to standards. If one wants to check the quality of fabrics and accessories, the fabric shrinkage test is most advised. The washing test can also be applied to check the wash and color fitness of the material.

Summary:

It is essential to begin the quality control check from the pre-production stage, especially when accessories will be used in the final fabric or textile output. The quality of the accessories affects the quality of the clothing products largely, and they should be checked carefully and professionally.

 

1.2 PHYSICAL AND CHEMICAL TESTING

Physical and chemical testing is required for project markers that are invisible to the eyes. Since the human eye cannot detect failure or tell the strength of these markers, testing must be done.

Physical and Chemical Test in textile testing lab(Figure 1-3 Physical and Chemical Test)

New products carry tags to identify their correspondence to standards. These products must pass the national, industry, and market standards set for that category of product. The country of the manufacturer and the market intended for the products have corresponding standards. These are always seen on the tags of known manufacturers.

garment aatcc-test-method

(Figure 1-4: Some testing standards)

To learn more about the standards of productions of various countries, please follow the link: “About Textile Testing: The Ultimate Guide.”

One might ask if these items are sent out for testing. The answer to this is yes. The testing of these materials, however insignificant it might seem, is essential. It is sometimes done internally or by auxiliary professionals due to a lack of adequate machineries. Read more on why companies need to establish their own quality control labs, via the link below.

“Analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of clothing companies and factories establishing their own textile testing laboratories.”

Summary:

Make sure you carry out test on the physical and chemical properties of any material intended to be used. These tests should include shrinkage, durability and other index performance testing standards that exist. Ensuring the quality of goods follows the appropriate expectations and specifications of the target region for the good produced are essential.

 

1.3 CUTTING STAGE’S GARMENT QUALITY CONTROL

Just after the tests have been carried out, one can proceed into the cutting stage. The cutting stage is as delicate as every other stage. One should never use side knives in cutting fabric, as this is bad for the material. There are machines and tools specifically created for this purpose. The value of the fabric must be maintained.

Laser cutting garment fabricIt is worthy to note that fabrics shouldn’t be cut against the pattern. Damage to the pattern can damage the fabric.

To decide the front and back of the cloth, one can check through the width of the cloth. This can also be done based on the sample of the fabric found on the cardboard. The size of wide fabrics cut, particularly the embroidered and printed types, would be directly affected by an inconsistency in the width of the marker. There have been times when suppliers did not specifically inspect the width of the fabric and ended up cutting carelessly, increasing losses.

garment fabric cutting process

(Figure 1-3 Garment fabric cutting process)

Summary:

You should examine the pattern carefully while cutting. Check if there is a problem with the pattern or the grading. You ought to check if there are any issues with the construction of your clothes. Check the width of the fabric and whether the fabric varies in color. After cutting, the piece should be closely examined for incorrect cutting issues. You will need to validate the pieces for parts of the production to make sure that they are all in order to enable design matching.

 

1.4 PROTOTYPE PRODUCTION OF GARMENT QUALITY CONTROL

The course of joining the cut material to forming a prototype can be delicate. This process requires continuous proofing. Proofing is an important part of prototype making, and in cases where patterns are to be made, workers must be careful in this regard.

Summary:

Prototype manufacturing is designed to track defects with the sample and development process prior to mass production, to enhance, smooth mass production and prevent issues with the quality of the product.

 

1.5 PRE-PRODUCTION TRAINING, BULK PRODUCTION PROCESS SHEET, PRODUCTION PLAN

The aim of a production plan is to control the production schedule and ensure products are delivered on time. Formulated by the production planning department, the plan needs to coordinate the fabric accessories, sample clothing, cutting, and other departments, which is also a reasonably significant relation to the production.

The craft sheet somewhat similar in purpose to the purchase contract (PO). The difference between these two is that the sheet comes with images demonstrating the sample of cloth accessories while the PO doesn’t. It is also a document that allows the producer to note and know which requirements and precautions have been followed.  There should be a craft order for general purchases. The design information and process requirements of the manufacturing or retailing of merchandise and the handover of the products should all be in the production plan.

garment production guide sheet

(Figure 1-5 Production Process Sheet)

The pre-production stage also involves the training of employees. Production can have key points that are sometimes difficult. Employees must be taken through a process and guidelines for the production of fabric and clothing. This is to reduce the risk of bad quality production.

Summary:

The craft sheet is the reference base for the manufacturing process. This includes the scale of the cloth, detail on the cloth (accessories), and essential and complicated crafts. The craft sheet is similar to the craft standard and is an essential element influencing the consistency of the quality of the good. The stage of the production plan is the planning stage, and its purpose is to set an immediate future target, including demand, production quality, and so on. A successful development plan will dramatically increase manufacturing performance and reduce the likelihood of quality issues.

Chapter 1 Summary

Pre-production planning is a collection of preparatory work carried out before mass production, it will the first stage of appling garment quality control. This stage include quality management, physical and chemical testing, cutting, measuring, pre-production training of workers, mass production process sheets, project schedules, etc. Without these, the performance of the goods could be in jeopardy.

 

 

CHAPTER 2 PRODUCTION IN-PROCESS GARMENT QUALITY CONTROL

Quality control of fabric is also done during the production process. The need to check the quality of clothes is essential to their durability and performance.

2.1 FIRST SAMPLE OF BULK CARGO, PRODUCTION SITE IE (INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING)

Quality management of the first sample of production is a necessary and systematic manufacturing process. The first sampling of large products is an insurance step ahead of real production. Carry out a quality check on the first piece of bulk cargo to prevent any quality issues afterward. On-site IE support plays an essential part in addressing production site issues. They are responsible for educating workers at the most demanding stages in the manufacturing process, as well as providing assistance and solutions to challenges found in the manufacturing process.

Summary:

In ensuring product quality, it is essential to inspect the quality of the prototype produced before mass production is carried out. The need for this is for uniform quality across board and the meeting of standards set by manufacturers and product target countries.

 

2.2 PRODUCTION MANAGEMENT

The magnitude of production management depends on the product being made and the materials to be used. One must make sure there exists a balance between the efficiency and quality of products. There are three elements involved in production management. These are the workers, the goods, and the place.

Key aspects for garment production site management

(Figure 2-1: Key Content of Production Management)

A decent product can be made with advanced and intelligent sewing machines. As long as the sewing machine can be networked or placed, it should be perfect. The productivity and efficiency of production can be improved by fair and orderly process sections, specialized sewing machines, and special auxiliary instruments.

Summary:

Fair and orderly process sections can improve the productivity and efficiency of production. With the use of specialized sewing machines and special auxiliary instruments, this can be achieved.

 

2.3 QUALITY INSPECTION

During quality inspections, there are a few necessary checks one must always make. The axillary points, back axillary points, and other places that tend to float are places one must check during the production stage for quality assurance. This must be done thoroughly, inside out, top to bottom. In the manufacturing process, quality inspection is an important factor determining if product quality problems will hit the market. A two-inspection-gate method for the inspection should be used. At the semi-finished stage of production, one should be carried out, and another inspection of finished goods should be carried out. The inspection material should usually include sample dimensions, faults and stains, thread ends, fabric allowances, and other important points that influence the consistency of the product (in compliance with the process instruction sheet).

Summary:

Quality inspections should never be skipped or overlooked. Products must be checked for quality during the production process.

 

2.4 ORGANIZED PACKAGING

Typically, there is a sequence of arrangements and packing after manufacturing is finished. Here tags and marking of finished goods are done. Take special packaging for offset printing or individual decorations into account after ironing. The packing list must be transparent because the number of boxes that are correct or inaccurate with big orders is quite difficult. For small clothes, one must be careful not to fold because the fiber makes traces that cannot be erased.

Some of the jobs undertaken after manufacturing include storage and packing. The post-production process starts after the main production and involves ironing, washing, and drying, labeling, and packing. The first image of the product will influence the consumer. The quality consistency of the commodity is also an important factor that is quite critical to brand image.

Summary:

Organize packaging is an important part of quality control. The image and impression made by the packaged goods are important and can make or mar the company producing such goods.

 

Chapter 2 Summary

Process management development is a structured method designed to ensure that quality concerns are tracked and that errors don’t happen with consistency. The first sample inspection of bulk products, IE on site, process flow arrangements, quality testing and product packaging is included in this process. Production in process is the most likely to trigger product issues and is also the big factor influencing product quality.

 

CHAPTER 3 QUALITY MANAGEMENT: THE METHOD OF GARMENT QUALITY CONTROL

The final phase of quality control is the comparison and quality standard checking phase. This is the last stage before products hit the market. It is when products are weighed on the conventional scale of manufacturers and existing market standards.

 

3.1 WHAT QUALITY MANAGEMENT STANDARDS ARE THERE?

To increase the level of internal performance, the quality management methodology ISO 9001 provides organizations with a technical methodology for quality monitoring and quality assurance. It guarantees product quality in all aspects through leadership, planning assistance, service, performance assessment, etc. A recorded structure is developed, including standardized content such as quality manuals, procedural documentation, work orders, and standardized external documents. In addition to the ISO quality system, there is a more common PDCA quality management method, namely plan-implement-check-process.

PDCA quality management cycle

(Figure 3-1: Quality Management Method PDCA Cycle)

Summary:

There are some standardized and market accepted methods and codes. These should be used in the management of quality and quality control of products.

 

3.2 HOW TO IMPROVE EMPLOYEES’ QUALITY AWARENESS: THE PEOPLE WHO CONDUCT THE GARMENT QUALITY CONTROL

Employees’ awareness is a key factor in quality management. A good way to do this is to organize employee skill training and competitions. The quality of awareness of employees is based on the demands of manufacturing and the requirements of the respective departmental heads of work. The quality status of the whole factory is another thing here. The overall atmosphere in such companies is said to be of high quality considering that they produce quality goods over the long term, with workers who have a certain sense of autonomous quality.

The following steps can be used as a guide to improving workers orientation;

  • Track the level of entry and increase employee productivity.
  • Strengthen staff training
  • Intensify the evaluation of quality and create a quality incentive for workers.
  • Enhance the cultural life of workers, increase employee motivation and awareness, etc.

Summary:

The raw and auxiliary materials, the manufacturing and particularly operational activities, generally present quality problems. Workers rely on the managers’ past experience. There is an onus then on management to make sure workers are up to the task and producing quality goods.

 

 

CHAPTER 4 CONCLUSION

A standardized method is needed for garment quality control. The need for consistency in the creation of quality clothing is essential to the growth of a company. There is no prescribed guideline to achieving this in a day. One must learn on the job. To make it smoother, you need to continue reviewing and building up knowledge with the actual process. I hope that this article will support apparel manufacturers while they choose their manufacturing processes for clothing production. Quality control is not as easy as it seems, but it definitely can be achieved if care and diligence are observed during production.

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