Importance of Production Planning and Control in Garment Industry

Production or manufacturing is a process of converting raw materials into semi-finished or finished products and thereby value of utility is added to the products which can be measured from the difference between the value of inputs and the value of the outputs. Production planning and control (PPC) is a systematic approach of planning and control of the manufacturing activities of an organization to attain the desired goals.

Necessity of production planning and control (PPC) in apparel industry:
Every production system requires systematic approach to attain its goal of production. Consequently, it brings forth the necessity of coordination and proper execution of production planning and control. Production planning and control (PPC) are important aspects of the garment manufacturing industry. Precision in planning equates to on-time shipments, the best use of labor, and assurances that appropriate supplies and equipment are available for each order. Production planning involves everything from scheduling each task in the process to execution and delivery of products. In most cases the production of garments is very time sensitive in order to ship goods to stores and boutiques for the upcoming season. In the context of apparel manufacturing, principle importance of the PPC department are listed below.
PPC in garment manufacturing industry
Fig: PPC in garment manufacturing industry
1. Job or task scheduling: 
This requires preparation of time and an action calendar for each order from order receiving to shipment. The job schedule contains a list of tasks to be processed for the styles. Each task planner notes when to start a task and the deadline for that task. The name of the responsible person (department) for the job is listed, for example, scheduling planned cut date and line loading date.

2. Material resource planning (inventory):
Preparation of a materials requirement sheet according to sample product and buyer specification sheet is necessary. Consumption of garment accessories (e.g. fabric, thread, button, and twill tape) is calculated and cost of each material is estimated.

3. Facility location:
Where a company has multiple factories (facilities) for production and factories are set for a specific product, the planner must identify which facility will be most suitable for new orders. Sometimes there may be a capacity shortage in a factory; in that case the planner must decide which facility will be selected for those orders.

4. Patterns and markers:
Pattern making, grading, and markers are a crucial part in planning for production. Once markers of each style are finalized, one can easily calculate the yield of fabric needed for production and in turn can order the fabric. When planning for the production schedule one must speak to the fabric supplier about the turnaround of the fabric and any additional time needed for dyeing or washing the fabric.

5. Estimating quantity and costs of production:
The planner estimates daily production (units) according to the styles’ work content. With the estimated production figure, production runs, and manpower involved, the planner also estimates production cost per piece.

6. Capacity planning:
The PPC departments play a major role during order booking. They decide (suggest) how much order they should accept according to their production capacity, that is, allocating of total capacity or deciding how much capacity to be used for an order out of the total factory capacity.

7. Line planning:
A detailed line planning with daily production targets for the production line is prepared. In most cases line planning is made after discussions with the production team and industrial engineers.

8. Cost control:
Garment manufacturers cannot afford to lose time or materials in the production process. Raw material prices rise consistently, and poor planning can lead to missed opportunities and higher costs. With styles changing rapidly and vendors making increasingly smaller orders to keep up with changing trends, the planning phase of each production piece must be as accurate as possible.

9. Reduce loss:
About 60-70% of the cost of a garment is in the fabric. As such, it is vital that one orders appropriately and tracks the cutting room processes to keep errors to a minimum. Effective production planning relies on the ability to order the appropriate amount of fabric for a run and to realize no more than a 2-3% rate of error in cutting. That means that the number of garment components produced should equal 97-98% of the garment components cut.

10. Deliver timely shipments:
Early delivery can be as harmful to the company’s future as late delivery, because buyers then must accommodate early deliveries with additional storage capacity. Ideally, the planning should allow for exact delivery when the customer demands. At the same time, there must be sufficient labor and raw material delivery in the exact proportions to meet the deadlines without having to pay extra for overtime.

11. Follow-up daily:
Once the plans are set for a garment run and delivery deadlines, one must institute strict follow-up procedures to ensure that the plan is followed correctly. If the cutting room, for example, falls behind in its production schedule, then the sewing and finishing lines must wait, leading to backlogs and missed delivery deadlines for shipment. To avoid this, one must have a daily oversight of each step and keep the rest of the line updated with any delays so that plans can be adjusted to pick up the slack.

The main purpose of PPC is to effectively utilize limited resources; in other words to increase productivity. If machines or operators are idle because there is no work or if parts remain in inventory because a machine is not available, then resources are being wasted.

The role of PPC is to reduce this waste by intelligently coordinating the availability of operator, equipments and materials. Often, there are conflicting objectives of production, sales, and finance. The role of PPC activity is to interpret the conflicting objectives and then to reconcile them into coherent production plans and inventory policies. The objectives of production planning and control in apparel industry therefore should be the objective of the total company or organization.