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:
The industry is also struggling to confront unsafe conditions in its supply chain. In 2013, the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh, which housed factories making garments for global brands, collapsed. More than 1,100 people were killed, and thousands more were injured. Since then, driven partly by media and consumer pressure, the industry has attempted to prevent and remedy the dangers to its workforce. The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh was drawn up with much fanfare and signed by more than 200 clothing brands. Factories were inspected, and corrective action plans were put in place. However, 1,401 of the 1,646 factories covered by the accord are behind schedule on these tasks, according to the Accord’s quarterly report dated July 2016.
As an industry faced with these issues, ensuring product quality control and a stable quality management system can be especially challenging.
Recommendations to improve quality in both the short and long-term include:
Focus on supplier selection
- Consider various regions and their reputation for quality and overall sustainability/social responsbility .
- Verify potential supplier’s capabilities and environment with an on-site assessment. View an example SR report and an Initial Supplier Evaluation.
- Contact other clients working with the supplier.
Conduct ongoing inspections & data analysis
- Depending on how comfortable you are with the supplier, first-article, in-process and pre-shipment inspections can be employed. A previous blog post reported on common issues we note during textile/garment inspections.
- Evaluate inspection data on a periodic basis to drive continuous improvement efforts. Consider the 80/20 rule for monthly management.
For additional information, a comprehensive article discussing all aspects of textile/garment quality can be found here. Akter Hossain, Department of Textile Engineering at Daffodil International University offers several insights and recommendations.