Understanding Pre-determined Time System in the Garment Industry

The readymade garment industry is highly labor intensive. Hence, labor cost per hour is an important factor in this sector to remain competitive. We can safely consider Labor costs as the second highest cost factor (second only to fabric cost) in Readymade garment industry

Assembly line production system has made it important that work done by each laborer is measured in terms of “method” and “time”. This work measured is then standardized and rationalized for consistent and accurate output and optimum labor expenditures. Each worker needs to be assessed based on the standardized output parameters so that manpower is effectively planned and daily output planning can be done in advance.

Also, such information provides the management to assess the effectiveness of people and machinery employed within the business along with the means for management to increase productivity.

Garment manufacturers all over the world catering to high fashion markets are in tremendous pressure to deliver products in a shorter manufacturing lead time. Garment exporters typically work with a lead-time of 75-90 days, vertically integrated plants are known to work with even longer lead-time. With turnaround time becoming a prime factor in attracting business, manufacturers are increasingly exploring options to reduce the cycle time.  Any delayed shipment would affect the credibility of the vendors and decrease their profitability. The onus is on manufacturers to create an efficient T&A plan for a style order that is successfully executed without any delay.

It is important for a garment manufacturer to cost a garment with a high level of accuracy prior to the start of the production process.  Deriving a labor cost at the time of order booking is a challenge which affects both the manufacturers and brands. Mostly the CM cost derived at the costing stage is not very accurate since there are no set standards followed to derive the same.

Above challenges demand for a system of scientific, reliable and consistent solution which can cater to below points:

All the above solutions are possible with the use of systems for Predetermined Time Standards (PTS).

About Predetermined Time System (PTS)

PTS is a procedure which is used to analyze any physical activity with respect to rudimentary or essential motions that are needed to accomplish it. Every motion has a standard time value and all the individual time values are synthesized in a manner to obtain the total time that is a standard.

The major function here is to estimate the time associated with a task even before it is being performed.

Predetermined time systems can have different classifications. They can be classified according to accuracy level, the time required for application, and the extent of method description.

This system is used in various industries to arrive at standard times and targets.

The first Predetermined time system was developed by A.B. Segur. He called it Method-Time-Analysis (MTA) (Segur, 1956)

In 1963 a new member of the MTM system called General Purpose Data (MTM-GPD) was introduced. And gradually with time and new found needs these systems were revised and developed to MTM-2, MTM-3, MTM-V, MTM-M, MTM-C and 4M DATA.

Features of PTS 

PTS system has the following features:

Before PTS was introduced, the garment manufacturers used Time Study to establish time standards for the processes involved when manufacturing garments.

About Time Study And How Its Limitations Were Catered By PTS

Time Study required the practitioner the use of a stopwatch, usually calibrated in 1/100 of a minute and be competent at Rating Operator Performance. The practitioner is required to observe and time an operator while the operator is performing the specified tasks.  The Rating process requires that individual practitioner to fully understand the level of skill and speed necessary to complete the task at predefined levels of proficiency.

Below are some of the limitations seen while working on the Time Study which are now catered by PTS system:

  • Time study is dependent on the ability of a person to apply accurate, consistent and objective Performance Rating. Sometimes this inability could lead to inaccuracy and inconsistency in the set standards.
  • Time study is not possible to maintain standards where workers are given wages on the basis of the number of garment pieces they make.
  • Time study is applicable only where the work is well defined and visible. So, it can be applied only in jobs that are manually done. The only specific type of operations which have identifiable starting and ending points can be timed accurately.

Yet the major limitation is the fact that this process was that it cannot be applied until the product is being manufactured – and by then delivery date and costs have been agreed, so any discrepancies will undoubtedly lead to difficulties with scheduling and profitability.

Challenges before PTS

There is one main limitation to the use of the PTS system for establishing time standards.

A trained professional is required to use this system effectively. Although the system eliminates the use of performance rating and human judgment in most cases, a judgment card is always taken in some complex cases.

Introduction of GSD

To make the entire process of Work Measurement by the use of Predetermined Time System more effective, accurate and user-friendly – GSD computer software was developed in the year 1978.

General Sewing Data (GSD)  is subject to a continual development program by General Sewing Data Limited which is a part of Coats Global Services, using the most usable MTM database.

GSD being a software-based program automates the entire work measurement and analysis process reduced a lot of manual effort and intervention. It has an inbuilt library that has time values saved for a large number of operations for a wide range of products. This library keeps getting updated with time when the user is gradually working every day, which can be later be put to great use in times when a similar/same product is to be analyzed again.

GSD bringing automation and accuracy in the life of garment manufacturers to measure productivity in the most efficient way possible is a huge benefit. In the present time where the entire economic and industrial development is revolving around Artificial Intelligence. GSD is looking forward to the next level of innovation in measurement of labor cost and productivity in order to make it more simple, accurate and less user dependent.

To know more about GSD, click here.

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