5 Fabric Tracking Problems Automation Can Solve


The cutting room is an extremely important section of a garment factory and has a huge impact on the profitability of the business. The main processes taking place inside a cutting room involve marker planning, fabric spreading, fabric cutting and preparation of cut panels for the assembly process (sewing).

To organize an efficient working process inside a cutting room, it becomes very essential that the fabric is reserved and utilized in the best way possible. But due to shorter lead times and in a rush to meet the deadlines, proper fabric reservation and utilisation are generally neglected in the garment manufacturing facilities. This article attempts to highlight the reasons for poor fabric management in the manufacturing facilities which are eating out huge profits for garment manufacturers.

Let’s start with the problems which occur due to poor visibility and indeterminate quantity of fabric received at the factory:

1. Improper Inventory Management

In the absence of proper fabric tracking and reservation, the fabric is generally kept in loads and not properly sorted as per the requirement. This creates various problems for the fabric warehouse and the production teams.

The first major issue is that the fabric lots get mixed leading to confusion on the production floor. Finding the fabric on the floor becomes difficult as the fabric rolls are not segregated. As a result of which, the fabric delivery to the cutting floor becomes a time-consuming process.

During the inspection, if the teams fail to find-out all the fabric rolls then the inspection remains incomplete leading to on-floor rejections. Restocking also becomes an issue as the warehouse team remains unaware of the available (left) stock, further leading to dead-stock or shorter inventory.

2. Mix-up of fabric in different Purchase Orders (POs)

A purchase order is a written document that includes Product Price (FOB), Product Specifications, Order Quantity, Packing Instructions and other important details for an order. In a factory with running styles, a particular style can be divided into various POs depending upon the delivery date, destination, quantity, etc.

For example :

Style A with Order Quantity – 1200 has to be delivered in the USA (Order Quantity – 700) and UK (Order Quantity – 500). These can be called PO1 and PO2 respectively. If the fabric of different POs mixes up, then the tracking becomes very difficult. In this case, the factory fails to identify the consumption of POs generally leading to overutilization or underutilization of fabric.

There might also be a case when the consumption of PO 1 might exceed, leading fabric shortage in the following orders and eventually leading to short shipment For reference, please see the table below:

Here, we can see that even a small fabric shortage led to a shortage of 25% in the overall order quantity.

3. Mixing of Fabric Groups (Shade, Shrinkage, etc.)

Fabric grouping is the process of segregating fabric rolls and grouping them based on parameters like colours, shade, shrinkage, and width. It is done in the manufacturing facilities in order to ensure maximum fabric utilisation and minimum cutting time.

Improper inventory management leads to mixing of the fabric groups. This, in turn, becomes a problem when the fabric is issued on the production floor.

In the cutting room, the markers and lays are made as per the Fabric Groups and Marker Ratio. If the fabric groups are unknown or entered incorrectly, the problem occurs during the fabric spreading process. This increases the time and effort of the Marker Making Team and Spreading Team leading to loss of production time.

If the fabric is not sorted in different fabric groups until it reaches the cutting room, parts from different shade/shrinkage can get stitched together on the sewing floor. This can lead to rejections in high quantity, and order cancellations at the finishing/quality assurance stage.

4. No track of fabric utilisation

Fabric tracking is important at each step of the garment manufacturing process. It provides the complete detail of fabric utilisation on the production floor which can be used for analysis and cater to the shortcomings.

Complete fabric tracking also gives a complete breakdown of fabric wastage on the floor. This wastage data can be used to obtain the correct value of on floor wastage and actual consumption calculation of fabric. Fabric tracking and control help the factories in timely decision-making and avoiding severe uncontrollable situations on the floor because of either unknown wastage or consumption.

5. Incorrect BOM calculation

BOM stands for the Bill of Material. It is basically a list of raw materials essential that need to be sourced in order to construct a garment.

Incorrect fabric utilization and unidentified wastages lead to incorrect BOM Calculation. This creates a bigger impact when the fabric is ordered and received on the floor. This impact is only felt during the later stages of production.

Overestimation during BOM estimation may lead to dead stock in the fabric warehouse further increasing the cost and clutter. On the other hand, underestimation of consumption will lead to short shipment. In this case, the factory would fail to complete the number of garment pieces for an order resulting in a loss to the factory.

All of the above-stated problems are commonly occurring events in a garment factory and require an intelligent fabric planning and automation solution to cater to them.

Coats Digital’s real-time fabric planning solution IntelloCut is designed specifically to help manufacturers optimize fabric utilization and reduce fabric wastage on the production floor. Backed by artificial intelligence, IntelloCut is suitable for fashion manufacturers of all types and sizes, which learns and advances with your cutting floor. All this to deliver an effortless approach to fabric utilisation.

Fabric Tracking: IntelloCutgives factory control over all of its fabric. It helps the fabric store to easily keep a track of how much fabric entered the factory, how much was issued to the production floor and how much was returned back to the fabric warehouse.

Along with this information, a factory can also fetch the information about the fabric used to cut the main lays, fabric given for panel replacements, fabric damages, and also if the supplier had given an excess or shortage in the fabric rolls.

Real-time visibility: IntelloCut is accompanied by a tablet application, which when deployed on spreading tables, can replace paper lay slips and help to give actual live records of production to the planner. Similarly, the same application can be used at the part replacement counter, where the operator can easily enter the replacement records as well as the amount of fabric used. All this information is easily available on the planner’s desktop to have a look at.

To know more about the key features and benefits of IntelloCut, you can simply write your request to marketing.coatsdigital@coats.com or click here.