Category: Product Inspection

Resolving issues w/ QC in the textile/garment industry

The International Journal of Information, Business and Management recently reported on the garment industry and the impact on quality in the current environment.

Garment factories in Bangladesh have been the site of rights abuses and fatal accidents. The industry also faces its share of traditional business challenges, including mounting international competition and a lack of formal quality management systems, researcher Hasanuzzaman writes. Common challenges to adopting quality management systems – such as Six Sigma – include a lack of financial resources, infrastructure, and education, according to the author’s interviews with factory managers. Those who had implemented quality management, however, reported better customer and employee satisfaction, better waste management, and faster delivery.

CGMA Magazine highlights the ongoing issues noted in the textile/garment supply chain despite attempts to implement corrective actions via quality management:

What You Should Know About QC Product Inspections

We’re answering your most frequently asked questions regarding quality inspections. For example, why should you perform QC inspections, what happens on-site, when is the best time to schedule, and more.

Check out our latest video:

Our quarterly newsletter is also featuring this information. Review the additional content here.  Another video of interest relates to Understanding the Supplier Audit Process. 

Let us know what questions or topics you’re interested in learning more about in 2016! 

 

What types of defects occur most often during inspections?

Over the last three decades, we have inspected an innumerable amount of orders for clients looking to mitigate sourcing risk and uncertainty. As a result, one question we receive often regards identifying trends or commonalties among defects noted.

We asked two of our key team members in Ningbo, China what the most commonly noted issues during inspections include:

“Workmanship is the most common issue due to the variation.”  ~Cynthia Liu (Business Team Manager)

“Inconsistency in production.” ~Nick Chen (Technical Supervisor)

Although each product is unique, we are able to classify our observations by general industry. During inspections, defects are generally classified as major, minor or critical.  More on classifying defects here.

Common defects noted by industry includes:

Textile & Garment Quality: Inspecting a T-Shirt

We are preparing for TexWorld next week in NYC and thought it appropriate to revisit quality within the textile and garment industry.  A recent question we received related to what we would evaluate during a t-shirt inspection.  That’s a good question…

With order details and product specifications in hand, our experienced textile/garment quality engineers go on-site and first verify the order quantity available. We confirm the quantity packaged (and labeled) vs. not packaged. That matters because a pre-shipment inspection generally requires 80% of the order be packaged at the time of inspection.  An in-process inspection is scheduled around 30-50% complete.

If the verified quantity meets the client’s expectations, the inspector will select a random sample of items using ANSI Z1.4 as a standard.  With something like t-shirts, we determine how the client would like sampling in advance. Considerations include various sizes, colors and/or styles.  Many times, clients will combine theses variables and divide out the sample size proportionately. Sampling individually results in additional time on-site and for reporting, so supplier performance/history and cost are considerations when determining what the sample sizes should be.

Fishbone Example: Rejected Pre-Shipment Inspections

We like Ishikawa’s fishbone diagrams, also referred to as cause and effect diagrams for good reason.  They’re great for figuring out why something isn’t working.

For our clients, it is not uncommon for pre-shipments inspections to uncover trends in failures.  When this happens, we want to know why the problem is occurring so appropriate corrective actions can be taken.

We shared a useful four minute overview of fishbone diagrams some time ago, but also decided to put together a general example specific to our experience in the quality industry.  ASQ and Mind Tools also have great resources and templates on the subject as well.

The following process took place to create the fishbone diagram example below.

  1. We talked about the problem and defined it in a way that was specific and relevant.  In this case, there were a series of rejected pre-shipment inspections where paint defects were exceeding AQLs as part of the visual evaluation.
  2. We brainstormed categories that would have an effect on this problem.  We read about and do find the use of sticky notes to be a very effective way to organize this information.  Also, looking through examples can help with this, as there are a handful of very common categories used.  The categories are used as the branches off the main arrow.
  3. We brainstormed the issues digging deeper into each one and including them where they fit best in the categories.  Keep asking why to get a more in-depth evaluation.  Layers in the branches can subdivide out the issues further, as necessary.
  4. We analyzed the diagram and did further research into the causes we listed.  When identifying causes and incorporating corrective action, follow-up metrics are very useful in determining if your actions have produced the desired result of effectively resolving the problem you stated.