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FABRIC GROUPING

August 21, 2018 Amita Bhatia
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Fabric is the single biggest cost driver for the garment industry. It accounts from 60% to 70% of the garment cost. Thus, fabric utilization with correct system and procedure adds millions of dollars to the garment manufacturer’s pocket. And, on the other side, could increase the shipment performance and topline process.


As it stands right now, most of the buyers will accept over 100% shipment. This is the area where one should target because anything past 100% will bring extra revenue to the company without any additional cost. This can be done through fabric utilization.


Fabric utilization is a function of several aspects in the functioning of a factory. What do you do with the fabric that comes into the factory? Your supplier cannot control all variations. Hence, the need to group your fabric for the sake of fabric utilization and quality comes into picture. Let us see how.


Fabric grouping, or fabric batching is one of the major process that can result in improvement of planning and utilization of fabric along with the improvement in quality control. It is the process in which fabric rolls are segregated to create a group with similar properties and specification.
There are three parameters on which fabric grouping can be done: -

  1. Fabric Shrinkage.
  2. Fabric Width.
  3. Fabric Shade.

Fabric Shrinkage: Fabric shrinkage is the most common type of problem faced in garment manufacturing which may occur after fusing and washing. In case of denim and knits, each roll is tested for shrinkage and can be recorded for different warp and weft shrinkage. Extreme care must be taken in segregation of rolls based on shrinkage testing.


What would happen if we ignore roll segregation on the bases of shrinkage?


If we ignore the roll segregation on the bases of shrinkage, different rolls with different shrinkage might be used in one lay. This will affect the dimension of the garment after washing or fusing. A garment meant to be of size 32, would end up with size 30 after washing. 
This will result in garment rejections and shortage in shipping quantity. This is a huge loss in terms of money, time and efforts. So, if we ignore fabric grouping, it can lead to big problem in the factory. 

Fabric Shade: Fabric from different dye lots may have variations in shade. Rolls can be laid together if the variation is slight when compared with the approved sample. 
However, in the case of huge variation in shade, the concept of shade grouping must be used. The number of different shades is determined. All the fabric rolls are then segregated and divided into groups according to the shade. Several shade groups can be used in one lay using shade separators.


What would happen if we don’t segregate the fabric by shade?


If we ignore the fabric shades, we would end up with the different shades in different parts of the garment. These garments are being rejected by the buyer and make the loss to the factory in terms of money, time and efforts. So, if you don’t segregate the fabric shade wise, start doing it.

Fabric Widthwise: Fabric arrives with different width in each roll. If rolls are not grouped according to the width, then all the markers are made in the lowest available cut-able width. This will result as a failure in fabric utilization efforts.
What would happen if we don’t segregate the fabric rolls width wise?
Let’s take an example, we receive a fabric in two widths as shown in the table:

Before Fabric Grouping: 
Cuttable width – Least Width – 64 Inches
Total fabric – 470 Yards
Total Cutting area = Roll length * Cuttable width
(120*64 + 100*64 + 150*64 + 100*64) = 30,080 Sq. Yard

After Fabric Grouping:

Total Cutting area = (Total fabric in group 1*cuttable width) + (Total fabric in group 2*cuttable width)
(250*64) + (220*66) = 30,520 Sq. Yard
So, the fabric wasted = 30,520 – 30,080 = 440 Sq. Yards
Through width grouping, we can save 1.46% of fabric (in this example).
Thus, width grouping ensures the potential increase in the fabric utilization.

Complications of Grouping

Fabric grouping should be done in such a way so that it does not increase the cutting team effort, time and workload. Also, it should not decrease the cutting efficiency.


Now if we do the manual grouping, grouping is performed at the time of production planning. One dominant style of grouping breaks up the total order quantity in the grouped fabric quantity’s ratio. 


Let say, the incoming fabric is segregated by shrinkage into minimum possible groups.
For example, we have 400 yards of fabric for order quantity of 200 Pieces. After receiving the fabric, it is divided as per the shrinkage into two groups A & B of 300 Yards & 100 Yards. To plan this order, the order quantity i.e. 200 pieces divided as per the group ratio 3:1. 150 pieces planned from group A and 50 Pieces planned from group B.


Now these two groups are treated as two different orders. It is possible to execute these orders manually, but it will increase the cutting room efforts, time and workload. Also, it will increase your number of markers and lays.
Here we do the group based on one parameter i.e. if we want to do the group based on two or three parameters, it is very tedious job to manually group the fabric (Acc. to width, shade, Shrinkage). It will also increase the time, efforts and workload of fabric store and cutting room. 

ThreadSol’s intelloCut automates this entire process in just one click by ensuring highest quality with optimum fabric utilization and less efforts.
Through intelloCut, prepare the cutplan and then group the fabric in one click based on the three parameters i.e. shrinkage, width, Shade.
The lays are then associated with the groups in such a way that the highest fabric utilization is achieved with much less time taken and less efforts of the cutting room in terms of less number of lays and markers
Grouping is a tedious job if we try to do it manually, but with the help of intelloCut, on a single click, it will reduce a large amount of manual effort, quality rejections, increasing the fabric utilization, which will ultimately impact the profit of the manufacturer.

 

Click here to check out more on how intelloCut works and how it can automate the tedious process of fabric grouping.


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