Challenges in Production Planning and Control in Apparel Manufacturing

This is a guest submission from Ashish Kumar Gupta

You could not meet your production plan every time.

You can try your best to execute and control the production plan. But you never know what surprise is waiting for you at the end.

Why so?

Reason - you are working in a challenging environment.
Challenges for PPC Department

Production planning and control department of a garment manufacturing unit is responsible for the timely shipment.

Generally shipment is sent by sea as it is the cheapest mode of transport but if the shipment is delayed and can’t be sent by sea, it is shipped by air at the expense of manufacturer .Though it is very costly and affects the profitability of the organization badly but has to be done to avoid the order cancellation.

Re-occurrences of these incidents can lead to the loss of valuable clients. Any problem in the planning can lead to a chain of unpleasant events affecting the shipment schedule of subsequent orders. Thus production control should be seen as an inseparable function of production planning.

In this article we will discuss various challenges in Production Planning and Production Controlling in the apparel manufacturing.

  1. Delay in Raw Material Sourcing and approval
  2. Delay in Sample Approval
  3. Production Delay
  4. Recording and communication wrong data
  5. Failing in Final QA inspection

1. Delay in Raw Material Sourcing and Approval

Raw material should be procured by the factory well in advance to accommodate the time taken in inspection and testing as directed by the buyer. A plan should consider the worst-case scenario when the procured raw material fails the test and the buyer is not willing to accept the anomaly.

In such cases, there should be enough time to replace the raw material without effecting the subsequent operations.

2. Delay in Sample Approval

Importance of sample cannot be undermined as buyers strongly follow the process. Buyer would not accept the product if the sample at any stage has failed. Generally garment manufacturer starts the production after the approval of Gold Seal sample/sealer sample.

If the sample approval is delayed it will lead to the delay in production. Factories set up a separate sampling department to effectively handle the sampling. Merchandiser is responsible for the timely approval of the sample. A production planner should keep a keen eye on the sample approval.

3. Production Delays

Production can be delayed due to many unforeseen circumstances

  • Labor Strike
  • Machine Breakdown
  • Critical operation slowing down the efficiency
  • Absenteeism
  • Natural calamity
  • Production being held due to quality problems

Production planner should keep some buffer to adjust the delay. In case the delay is very critical the planner should take swift action and make the necessary amendments to ensure that the production plan remains viable.

4. Recording and Communicating Wrong Data

With proper planning, a disaster can be averted. But a simple problem can play havoc if comes out of blue. Recording wrong production data for the sake of inflating the production figures to avoid the ire of management can lead to an even bigger disaster.

A factory should device a production reporting system which is robust and can’t be tinkered with as all the decisions will be based on the data only.

Different factories follow different systems for recording the data both manually and electronically. Effective data recording will help in effective planning.

5. Failing of Final QA Inspection

Once a shipment is ready it is offered to the buyer QA for inspection. The inspection is carried out on the basis of AQL standards as prescribed by the buyer. If a shipment fails the inspection, it is subjected to rechecking and offered to buyer after rectifying the quality issues. The process will continue till the buyer approves the shipment. Re-screening the shipment is very tedious.

Most of the time re-screening may involve opening packed pieces and refinishing the garments. Rework anywhere any time in the manufacturing leads to wastage which might be avoided by doing the right work first time. It may delay the shipment and can even lead to air shipment which most of the times is on the cost of the manufacturer.


A planner need to have a cut off time of 3-7 days to give go ahead for the production of the order if the production order (PO) has cleared all the necessary pre-production approvals and the raw material is in-house.

A process can be devised where the merchandiser has to give the PO production certificate verifying all the necessary approvals and material requirement to the planner so that he can schedule the production. Production Planner should have a good network of fabricators so that some orders can be outsourced to maintain the sanity of the production plan.

Ashish Kumar Gupta is a Master of Fashion Technology from NIFT and he holds a Bachelors degree in Textile Technology. He was associated with Madura Exports as Assistant Quality Manager for two and half years. At present he is working with Lovely Professional University as an Assistant Professor.

0/Post a Comment/Comments