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Setting the production line based on memory…

Setting the production line based on memory…, isn’t that very risky?


Experts say that the capacity of human memory is very large, it’s just that there are many factors, both external and internal, that can trigger us to forget or misremember/confuse memories. What if this happens in our daily work…?

Of course, it will cause problems that can result in light to large losses for both ourselves and the company where we work.

In garment manufacturing, the selection of operators to work on a process is still mostly done by relying on the memory of the operator skills that will be assigned to the process.

In more detail, the line supervisor will determine who will carry out the processes based on his/her memory of the expertise of the operators in the line he/she handles.

Where we know that there are many types of sewing processes using special techniques, different machines, and different materials just to make 1 style of garment.


So how can a supervisor remember exactly the skills of the dozens of operators he/she handles?

What would be the consequences if there was a slight misrepresentation of the operator’s skill?

The solution to this problem is to have a system that can store complete operator data along with ratings and gradings of sewing process skills, even for all processes that can be done by the operator, easily, quickly, and accurately.

We have a solution for the system, namely Skill-Math, which will help you to overcome the problems above.

Appareltech Testimonial

Digitalization has become key factor for factories in fashion industry, therefore in 2019 Appareltech (Korea) have implemented Skill-Math to cover some critical areas at their Vietnam factory.

Skill-Math is able to help in gaining improvement such as:

  • Building skill matrix of operators, by machine and process Improvement in line balancing calculation based on operator skills fast and accurate
  • Manpower planning and operators assignment can be done in a fast and easy way, avoiding bottleneck situations at the early stage
  • Machine planning and asset management

Company size doesn’t matter for Skill-Math

Prospecta Garmindo is world class export oriented garment manufacturer which is based in Klaten, Central Java, Indonesia. With more than 15 years experienced and export oriented garment manufacturer, the people ready to provide you the best service that comforting the world. They specialized in casual wears production like jacket and pant. The Product is mostly exported to Europe and United States.

Prospecta Garmindo can produce up to 20.000 – 40.000 pcs/month with using 600 best machineries and 550s dedicated workers employed in a good system for a good product.

Please see how the system can bring significant improvement for your business, implementation is very fast and easy to use. For further info you can contact and visit our website, our team would be happy to discuss with you.

Investment without spending money

Do you believe that you don’t need to spend any money on a good investment? Skill-Math helps you with that.

  • 40% Time savings on IE activities: 8 working hours x 22 days x 40% = 70.4 hours time savings per month of 1 (one) IE person
  • 20% Time savings on Production supervisors: 8 working hours x 22 days x 20% = 35.2 hours time savings per month of 1 (one) Supervisor

Only from these 2 areas, you are able to earn money, plus upgrade the skill of your team and turn them to be more analytical for more improvement at your company. For further info please contact our team and we will show you how.

Operators & Machines Part 2 (Optimize your Asset, machinery)

Optimize your Asset, machinery

In the earlier article I mentioned operators as your important asset, but nothing much they can do without the machines. Therefore, you need to make sure:

  1. All machines have the required supporting tools ie. folder and attachment
  2. All machines are in good condition and well maintained
  3. You can identify the detailed location on each machine and their status (in operation, in maintenance, etc)

There are situations where the machines are being idle, and surprisingly that’s because you don’t have full control of them. Why?

  1. You cannot synchronize machines’ readiness with the planning of orders. The factory needs to know how many single needles, overlock, bartack, etc that are needed for order and how long they will run in production
  2. You don’t know whether you have a sufficient number of machines and whether are they in good condition
  3. The machine(s) is lost somewhere, and nobody can find them

Skill-Math can help you to provide machine requirement vs availability as it can use the information from your orders planning tool.

The maintenance team can respond faster if there is any downtime because of the machine, as the user can report any downtime thru mobile Apps, real-time!

Operators & Machines Part 1 (Operators as your Asset)

Operators as your Asset

It is very important to maintain your operators to bring benefits to the business, this means:

  1. Identify their current skill and set training programs for their improvement
  2. Create a competitive environment to achieve a good result
  3. Make sure they are happy with the rewards based on performance

Let us see in more detail on each point…..

  1. Most of the time factories have difficulty identifying the skills of operators, it is essential to have the skill matrix of every single operator, analyze their strengths and weakness and then create a training program for them.
  2. It can be challenging for supervisors or line leaders to push operators to hit the target, but by using valid data on the skill of all operators within the factory we can create internal competition amongst themselves.
  3. Motivation is another key point to encourage operators to perform better. We need to identify skillful operators on a certain task, or even multi-talented operators so we can create a fair incentive scheme. This method will help us to keep operators loyal to us and bring benefits to the company.

Companies must see the workers as partners, on the other hand, workers must appreciate the company as their working place where they can perform their skills and show that they mean something. This relationship is built based on mutual benefits.

Skill-Math can help you to achieve this, company/factory and workers can grow together.

The Art of Line Balancing

Why is it an Art..?

Because it needs special skill to combine the number of operators for many different processes with various cycle times. The purpose is to get a smooth workflow, so there are several steps to be done:

  1. Identify the cycle time per every single process to produce a garment
  2. Determine number of operator(s) for all processes for a smooth workflow
  3. Assign the right operator(s) for each single process

Let’s do a simple calculation as per the illustration below

If we look at the above then the number of operators should be:

We have identified the Cycle time on each process and then do the proper Line Balancing, these mean nothing if we assign the wrong operators. Supervisors/line leaders will choose the operators based on their memory, so the potential bottleneck will always happen if we do not have the skill database of our operators.

Skill-Math will help us in this area, identifying the skills of operators on each process, showing the availability of operators based on the needs at the sewing lines, and at the same time monitoring the skill-trend for further improvement.

Less bottlenecks = Higher Productivity

Capitalized your factory team

Many of us are familiar with the word “Human Capital”

The end goal is to improve productivity by optimizing Education, Skill, Experience, CreativityPersonality, Health, and Moral Character. Let us now focus on the first 4 factors:

  1. Education: It is essential to treat our workers (operators & staff) as valuable assets, therefore we need to implement a Continuous Improvement program to improve their skills based on what they are good at (ie. talents).
  2. Skill & Experience: It is very important to identify the skill of our operators then explore what they are good at, and give more training so they can be better people. We find it very challenging to do skill mapping with manual methods because there are so many variances due to the complexity of the garment styles, and experience does not guarantee the operators can be “a multi-tasking person”.
  3. Creativity: Most of the time IE team is trapped with daily routines, making them mainly do administrative work rather than finding areas for improvement. They need to have the tool for a systematic approach to gain better improvement ie. eliminating bottlenecks, identifying multi-talented operators, creating benchmarks, and optimize manpower utilization.
Capitalized your factory team 2

Skill-Math can help you to monitor operators’ performance and create proper training programs based on your needs so they can be multi-skilled for your business. At the same time Industrial Engineering team can boost their competence to be more analytical rather than being an admin of day-to-day operations.

Measuring CM costs during sales stage…

Can we have accuracy in production cost calculation during the sales stage?

There are many factors that build up the production cost and one of those is the effectiveness of assigning the correct operators for certain tasks.

  • First, we need to know the processing time required and then try to balance the line
  • Second, look at the result of line balance with the idle of each process
  • Third, compare the output target and our cost (direct, indirect, and factory overhead) Last but not least, execute the best option that you have

The above task takes time, especially for production managers who are already busy with daily work to meet targets. And, the next questions are:

  • Is the target realistic to achieve?
  • Does the line balance reflect the optimum result?
  • Can we have this process much earlier to help during the sales stage?

The last question is something we normally miss as we rely on sample rooms which most of the time cannot represent the real situation on the production floor. So, less accuracy in CM cost calculation.

Skill-Math will help factories to calculate CM costs during style review, this will help the Sales team to negotiate with buyers. For factories that have multi locations or subcontracts, this will help to make a decision on which site or Subcon can give better CM cost, therefore, making the business more profitable.

Think of improved method for Line balancing

Familiar with the word “Bottlenecks” ??

This is a common problem of production lines which have several dependent processes and link from one to the other. The reason is simple, due to the different times required to complete the task.

The normal initial process that factories do is time study, capture the time of all processes, and use this as the reference time for Line balancing. The questions:

  • How accurate is the process of collecting the information? Are we sure the operators are performing their real skills when the data was captured?
  • How can we be assured if the time represents the realistic figures?
  • Line balancing is not only about eliminating bottlenecks but also to minimize LOSS of unused minutes. Have we covered this area too?

Those are problems normally faced by factories, the current conventional method is just not enough…

Skill-Math has a unique way of collecting time study data, just as advanced as your mobile phone or computer tablet.

The method of doing Line Balancing is by adapting the most common practice of factories ie. Defining the expected output target, Skill-Math will calculate the number of operators required for each process. On the opposite way, we can also do the line balancing based on the number of operators on each sewing line. Optimize the line balancing and get info on unused minutes for all processes.