Why You Need IE Department in a Garment Factory?

IE department in garment industry

In a garment factory each department has its some core tasks that cannot be done by other departments and personnels from other departments. The industrial engineering department set up with work study team and industrial engineers who are trained and skilled with certain activities. It is also true that earlier days, people were running their garment making businesses without any industrial engineers and IE departments.

Nowadays garment factories set up IE department with skilled engineers and professionals. Engineers are also paid a good salary. 

Now question is why one need IE department in their garment factory?   

The IE department performs many job responsibilities and roles which are essential in running garment factories profitably and competitive way. In this article, we will learn the main reasons of setting up an IE department through their job responsibilities.  

1. Product analysis

IE department analyze the new styles and simplify the product construction methods where possible. This act has many benefits to the manufacturers as well as the buyer. It reduces the standard time of the style and reduces the labor costs. They way an IE perform this task can bot be done by other departments without having right skills. 

2. Operation study 

While doing product analysis, IE department prepare the process flow of the operations and operation bulletin. As you might be knowing an operation bulletin (OB) is the key tool to many activities. Following the operation bulletin, an IE prepares line layout which reduces the style changeover time. Following the OB sheet, IE and production department can estimate daily production capacity of the sewing lines. They can calculate the daily production target of the line from the Style SMV. 

3. Estimation of standard time (SMV)

One of the primary responsibilities of the IE team is establishing SMV of sewing operations of the styles they will be making. The garment labor costs are calculated based on the style SMV. They prepare database of operations SMVs. Where there is central IE team in a company for multiple garment factories, IE department play important role to have accurate SMV. The SMV must be agreed by the brands.

Without standard time RMG factories cannot calculate accurate labor costs.

Can you think of any other departments who can do this job in a garment factory?  

4. Manpower planning 

After estimating operations SMVs, and preparing operations bulletin, an IE calculate operation-wise manpower requirement to achieve the daily production target. This job helps a factory to accurately arrange sewing operators and helpers for new line setup. It is not just pulling operators from the list and allocate to the production line. IE defines operators who are fit for which operations depending on the operator skills on the specific sewing machine and sewing operations. Industrial engineering team refers to the operators' skill matrix to identify right operator to fit the required skills. 

They also work of identifying the department-wise manpower requirement and allocation of manpower to meet the planned schedules.

5. Machine requirement planning

The IE department calculate the machine requirement for the new styles in advance so that factory can arrange all the machines needed for making the new style and produce garments as per daily requirement. They work on improving the machine utilization on daily basis. 

6. Developing multi-skilled operators 

To run the sewing lines efficiently, factory must hire some multi-skilled sewing operators. If not available, IE team can train some operators and convert them as multi-skilled operators. IE team also take a role in identifying the low skilled operators from the existing operators and work on improving their skills by assigning trainer for them. If operator training cell is not available in the factor, IE can work on this operators' skill improvement through skill training. 

7. Reduce the training curve 

When a new style is loaded to a production line, it takes some time to reach the peak production. The warm time that takes to reach the line at the peak performance is known as learning curve. Longer the learning curve less the average line performance. 

Factories may take it as normal and keep working as traditional way. Industrial engineers can help on reducing the length of the training curve. By reducing the learning curve. RMG factories can increase the capacity utilization of the line and reduce the average garment manufacturing cost.  

8. Line Balancing and production monitoring

Line balancing on the real-time is key to keep the line performance at the top and achieve daily production target. Daily line target is given based on the total manpower and style SMV. But if the line work in an imbalanced way, line would not get the desired production though line has the capability to produce the certain production. The cause is bottlenecks in the line. By removing the bottlenecks and balancing the line production rate of the line can be increased. Industrial engineers do this task. 

They also monitor the line by collecting data and review the production data by line and by operation. 

9. Thread consumption 

This task can be done by merchandisers. But garment factories dependent on the industrial engineering department in determining the thread consumption for the styles. After production analysis (of a style), an IE gets the list of seams (operations). They can easily generate sewing thread requirement for the specific style by using thread calculation templates.  

10. Takes responsibilities of new project

In the garment factories, where there are established IE department, management prefer them to take care of new initiative in the factories. IE team is normally involved in new projects (process development project, lean project, etc.)

Management reporting 

The MIS reports are key tools for monitoring the production and other processes in the apparel supply chain. Which department can make the accurate reports and do the data analysis as per management's goal? In the most garment industrial engineering department prepares the daily production reports and WIP reports. They also measure operators' daily performance which are used for skill matrix and performance incentive calculation for operators.


Though the work of the IE department and impact of their daily activities not visible to everyone, they work on the background managing the production floor. They work on meeting the production goal and lead time. IE team involved themself in machine and attachments procurements to advance the production techniques. If you have already hired IE team, allow them to work to achieve the factory's goal. If you have not yet set IE department in your factory, go for it. 

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