Productivity Improvement Techniques in the Textile and Garment Industry:
Productivity is not how long you can get an employee to work; it is how well you can get him to work. In other words, productivity is defined as getting the best out of an employee without stressing him. There are multiple management techniques and tools designed for this purpose. This article will focus on that rare commodity, common sense, and how to approach productivity in simple terms. Small textile unit owners and managers would find this useful.
1. Coordination Between Departments:
Your textile unit will have a marketing, apparel production, purchase, and stores department. How good is the coordination between these departments?
One of the most common forms of stress arises when departments work without coordination. Each department might have the best interests of the firm in mind and exhibit initiative and enthusiasm, but this is like sitting on the same boat and rowing in opposing directions. The boat will stand still and so will your production and performance. Communication and coordination are the keys to solve this puzzle.
Have regular meetings between decision-makers in each department so they understand the big picture and work towards holistic goals.
Marketing should have a clear idea about the yarn stock and the lead time to design/create and deliver a lot. This will stop them over-promising and under-delivering to their clients which in turn will solidify trust.
Purchase and stores should shape a process to procure and stock materials needed with clear timelines and keep production informed. This would mean developing a network of suppliers that are trusted and sticking with them.
Production should review their staffing regularly. Staffing must be adequate with a required buffer so employee leaves or absences in key areas of production don’t shake the process and affect deliverables. One of the common errors in planning is to keep the manpower at the barest minimum. This is dangerous and will backfire if not corrected. People work to live and your employees are no different. Allowance must be made for illnesses to employees their family members or to their social commitments.
2. Incentivize Innovation:
All employees are not the same, some work steadily and some think beyond their roles. Keep an eye on the second type of employee. Your best chance to innovate and increase productivity comes from them! Some of the best ideas to increase productivity comes from the ground up. Always keep that channel open for ideas to flow up and recognition to flow down.
If one of your employees comes up with a solution to a production problem that saves time or increases productivity, recognizes him/her without delay and rewards him/her adequately. This will encourage more people to think about improving the process and consequently their part in it. Sometimes, the results could be far better than employing a consultant!
3. Add Skills – Reap Rewards:
Do the budget for the regular training of your employees. In the long run, the returns will outweigh the investment. An employee trained and updated on the latest production techniques and processes will understand his/her role in the entire process and behave more responsibly. The trust you show in them will almost always be reciprocated since they would see the company as a place to grow and you as an employer who will nurture the talent. This promotes long-term employment which in turn is more economical than having to recruit and train a new employee.
4. Cross-Training Employees:
In any unit, there are always chances to cross-train employees, grab this opportunity with both hands. Cross-training will improve employee performance and responsibility; create buffers without having to recruit fresh and overall cut costs for your unit. If you are utilizing contract workers, cross-training will ensure regular employment which in turn promotes loyalty and trust. For regular employees, this provides empowerment and creates involvement.
5. Take Care of Your Machines -They Will Take Care Of You:
Most companies spend long hours on how to take care of their people but have no clear-cut strategy on maintenance and replacement of their machinery. Getaway from this bad practice. Let your maintenance team create an overall schedule for maintenance and your stores keep stock of frequently needed spares. Let not want a horseshoe to lose a war for you. The maintenance schedule should be drawn in consultation with all the departments, so there are no surprise spurts in demand when maintenance is due.
6. Productivity- The Man-Machine Duet:
Finally, productivity is a duet between men and machines. Both have to work at their peak to ensure maximum productivity. Just like a machine needs maintenance and care for your employees to need looking after. Create good employee care practices and follow them. Promise good employment and deliver on the promise. You will be surprised at the results. A happy employee always outperforms one who works under duress and stress. Reward them with cool T-shirts or gift coupons using which they can buy their favorite merchandise online.
Responsible Employment – Empowered Employee – Updated Machinery – Increased Productivity