Monday, November 6, 2017

Quality Management System in Garment Industry

In the recent past, the corporate world has become extremely competitive. Exposure to media, the advent of social media, increased consumer awareness and more active pressure groups have now made it important for the firms to focus on customer satisfaction. Customers today are well informed about the value of money they should expect and therefore retaliate almost instantaneously if their expectations are not met. For this reason, quality management is one of the top priorities for the firms today. They aim to make sure that the customers get the best quality product and can attain the maximum utility from buying that product.

The apparel industry, which mainly falls under the fashion industry, is one of the rapidly growing industries around the world. It is usually a high demand product, and most customers are very particular about the value for money in case of the apparel industry. Many young people today are extremely fashion conscious and therefore look way beyond the quality and the stitching of the fabric. Everything from the making of the fabric to it’s stitching to its styling, packaging, selling and after-sales services are judged by the customer and are important influencer on the consumer’s buying decision. For this reason,a comprehensive quality management system in the apparel industry and therefore most apparel brands follow a strict quality management protocol. Failure to do so increases the probability of returns and refunds, which are an added cost for the business. The total quality management system that is followed by a major chunk of apparel brands around ensuring efficiency and perfection in all processes ranging from product design and development to selling and after-sales service. This is extremely important to make sure that the customer will return again for buying.

In general, the quality management process may have three elements:

  1. Quality control
  2. Quality assurance
  3. Quality management
When it comes to the quality management at the production level in an apparel industry, communication between the customer and the producer is of utmost importance. It is important that manufacturer asks the customers about all his expectations before accepting the order. Likewise, the producer should also make sure that he communicates all his reservations and issues to the manufacturer beforehand. Last minute changes can incur higher costs. It is essential that the company representative who negotiates with the customer should have around grip on all production and packaging protocols.

Quality Management Systems (QMS)

Cycle of Quality management systems
Fig: Cycle of Quality management systems
Quality management systems are the most widely used method in the global apparel industry.Quality Management systems are a series of interdependent and interlinked techniques that aim at achieving the maximum level of satisfaction. In essence, Quality Management Systems is a preventive measure to eliminate risks of returns in future. A standard Quality Management protocols ensure that only those goods are produced and are invested upon, which are of high quality and will not disappointed with what they got. 

A standard quality management protocol for any apparel brand is as follows:
  • Maintaining a strict check and balance on all incoming, in-process and finished and final products that leave their premises.
  • Running thorough checks on all patterns and pattern grading.
  • Monitoring and ensuring efficiency of markers and marker making methods.
  • Monitoring quality checks on garments and raw materials coming in from the suppliers using sophisticated equipment such as Martindale Abraison Tester and Air Permeability Tester.
  • Monitoring all processes such as spreading, cutting, knitting, dying,etc. using equipment such as Wringer and IR Lab Dyeing Machine
  • Making sure that knitting looms are given their due relaxation.
  • Installation of inline inspection systems in sewing lines
  • Install necessary systems such as Traffic Light Chart systems or another relevant systems to be able to monitor quality in production lines.
  • Making sure that all goods that come out of sewing lines are inspected thoroughly and 100% for quality,
  • Using Statistical Techniques to inspect the table quality inspection for in line passed garments.
  • Ensuring control and sorting of rejected pieces and making sure that they do not mix with those that have been passed the quality checks.
  • Ensuring control of goods that are repairable or washable so that they can be reassessed for quality.
  • Making sure that all quality assessments are done using the right machines, equipment, tools, and techniques and under right conditions so that the results are accurate.
  • Inspect all pieces for the right techniques of ironing, pressing and folding.
  • Making sure that all finished goods are rechecked for quality before poly-bagging.
  • Making sure all packaging material and poly-bags are up to the required quality standard.
  • Making sure that all packaging measurements packaging procedures are in line with the customer’s requirements.
  • Ensuring one final round of inspection at the manufacturer’s end before dispatching the goods.
  • Ensuring that all quality assurance staff has undergone updated training programs that enable them to identify defects and understand the causes of defects.
  • Making sure that all quality assurance personnel are provided with necessary training related to using statistical methods.
  • Researching room for continuous improvements and plan and implement them.
When it comes to the apparel industry, quality standards need to be calculated regarding the quality of yarn, fiber, stitching, dying, durability, fastness, designs and final finished goods.This is extremely important a seemingly perfect finished good may turn out poor after use at the customer’s end because of a defect in yarn or dying process, regardless of how physically appealing the final good was when packaged. This can hit the brand hard and can turn away the customer from repurchasing. Therefore, it is important to employ Total Quality Management Systems so that quality can be precisely measured at every level and defected pieces can be separated instantaneously. It is important to understand that new technology and tools result in continuous improvements in quality management systems and therefore apparel industries should ensure that all its inspection systems are up to date so that firms an remain competitive. This is because the quality is one of the key factors that influence customer buying decisions.

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