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Fashion merchandising: pre- production meetings

In garment export merchandising process buyer communicate all the related information to sampling, costing, and production of a style with factory merchandiser only. It is the responsibility of factory merchandiser to pass the information to the concern department. There are various way of communication which merchandiser use like e-mail, telephone, meeting, etc. to communicate the information all concerned people in the factory. Out of all this pre-production meeting is one of the most important and widely use tool of communication by merchandiser for the smooth production of the garment in the factory.

Introduction

As the name suggests, a PPM is a meeting held prior to production and after sampling, i.e. after the pre-production sample is approved. It is also called an “Order Clarity Meeting”. Normally Pre-Production Meeting is held before starting of Pilot run and after fabric and most of the trims arein house. The main purpose of PP meeting is to clarify any doubts and address any potential issues well in advance to make sure everyone related to garment production is aware of all about the style and execute the style respecting all quality points and to minimize communication gaps and to get a know-how of the order starting from cutting section to finishing section. This meeting includes every production details, planning and processes involved for it.All important comments, procedures to be followed, dos and don’ts related to style are discussed. Scheduling of Pilot Run, PCD (planned cut date) and shipment date is shared to all teams during the PP Meeting.This meeting enable garment manufacturer to take preventive measures, so that finished garments meets or exceeds buyer’s quality expectations. Primarily, this meeting is an internal function of garment manufacturer and some time it is also attainted by Buyer’s Merchandiser and Quality team.Pre-production meeting need to be conducted for every style.

Merchandisers or production planning department conduct pre-production meeting and it is attained by

  • Sampling team
  • Raw material warehouse team
  • Raw material quality team
  • CAD/Pattern making person
  • Cutting team
  • Industrial Engineer
  • Production team
  • Quality Assurance
  • Finishing and Packaging team

Purpose of PPM

  • To discuss the construction and technical details of the garment that is approved by Buyer and going to load in production
  • To identify the possible problems which is likely going to happen during the production and try to resolve the same.
  • To give the clear idea of the expected quality standards by Buyer to the production and concern department, and discussion on the same.
  • To discuss the difficulty incurred during sample making, and discuss the approach to solve it.
  • To ensure all the raw material like fabric, trims and accessories related to particular style are in-house or expected date of sourcing to avoid down time in production.
  • Merchandiser discusses the queries related to production asked by buyer with concern department and tries to resolve them.
  • To set the responsibilities and time line for pending approvals and information, if any.

Procedure of PP meeting

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Pre-Production Meeting

Merchandiser conducts this meeting to discuss all the details of the order which is being executed till pre-production sample, and before holding the actual production at first place this meeting plays the important role in all aspects of order execution. With the help of this meeting merchandiser and other team members can understand the difficulties which are likely to arise during production.Before going for actual production there should not be any doubt in any one’s mind that is related to export order, hence all departments are necessary to be present for this meeting. The discussion happened with all departments is as follows
Sampling department:
In preproduction meeting sampling department plays important role. Sampling is the first to produce the garment. While producing sampling there might be few hurdles which were faced by sampling department and solutions are found out at the same time. Hence sampling department has the better idea of the problems associated with the style while producing it. Sampling department discusses all the difficulties in PPM that they faced while producing the sample which eventually help IE and Production team to deal with it.
The topics discussed by sampling department are

  • The buyer comments at each and every stage of sampling
  • Hurdle in production like, thread brakeage, problems associated while sewing the critical areas of the garment, seam allowance problem etc.
  • The quality parameters of the garment
  • Critical operation in the style
  • Garment handling while production
  • Other technical problems that are faced by sampling department.

Documents needs to carry while pre-production meeting

  • Buyer comments on samples
  • PP sample along with comments
  • Approved size set sample
  • Pattern used during sampling
  • Miniature marker used during sampling (if required)

Quality department:
This is the most important department on which merchandiser relies on. The quality department plays important role before and after execution of production. From the first stage of any export order quality persons understands the know-how of the buyers’ quality parameters. Hence this department is well aware of what problems are going to happen while production to achieve the quality. Quality department ensures the education of production people about any specific quality parameter for the garment expected by buyer. In PPM quality department can raise the issues related to garment appearance what is been observed during sampling.
The quality department discusses the issues like

  • Measurement issues
  • Seam quality (strength, bending or curvature observed before)
  • Possible defects in production and their solution
  • Handling of the material which affects the appearance of the garment
  • The discussion on what defects or mistakes are happens while sampling in case of quality and solutions for the same.
  • Proper instructions to production department in same meeting.
  • If quality department does not understand the any quality parameters or if something that is unachievable then that should be discuss in the same meeting before going to production.

The documents need to carried by quality team while PPM

  • Quality manual(if available and applicable)
  • Sample comments
  • FPT and GPT reports
  • PP sample (if available)
  • Observations noted down while sampling

IE department:
IE department calculates the SAM and SMV of the style. IE department must discuss the following issues in PPM

  • SAM of the garment
  • Thread consumption
  • M/c lay out of the line for that particular style
  • Capacity planning
  • Line balancing

The IE department along with production department discuss the problems associated with the production of particular style.
Cutting department:
Cutting is another important department that is need to discuss thoroughly. The discussion happens about the following things.

  • The discussion and decision about the height of lay and mode of spreading
  • Cutting department may ask the several questions like
    • Whether fabric is having C/S or not?
    • What should be done with fabric having C/S?
    • The technical know-hows of the fabric such as symmetry, width, GSM, face and back side of the fabric.
    • What should be the relaxation period for fabric containing Lycra/elastomer.
  • The capacity of cutting needs to discuss and plan accordingly
  • If any specific cutting standards are there from buyer side then that need to be discuss thoroughly, otherwise regular SOP will work out.
  • Fusing standards needs to discuss while PPM, which is the defect creating area.

The documents need to carried by cutting team while PPM

  • FPT report
  • Shrinkage report
  • Shrinkage report with fusing
  •  Pattern(if required)
  • Marker plan/mini-marker
  • Size- set sample pass report.

Sewing department:
Sewing department requires all technical details related to production. Before going to actual production sewing department needs to clarify the following things.

  • Skills available and operational efficiency of the plant for that particular style.
  • Methods of sample construction followed which ensures the defects free production needs to discuss.
  • M/c setting and seam allowances
  • Special m/c if used
  • Any attachments if needed
  • Sample availability at all manufacturing stage
  • Operation flow chart
  • Batch allotment
  • Workers per batch
  • Worker mix and capacity
  • Needle breakage and standard of buyer for the same
  • Needle changing frequency
  • Possible production per hour, pre day

Sewing department may ask the questions as

  • Material handling standard if any
  • What are the quality parameters for the style?
  • How many quality check points in one sewing line (any buyer specification)?
  • What are possible obstacles may be there while production?

Documents needs to carried by production while PPM

  • Operational breakdown
  • Capacity planning
  • Skill reports of operators
  • BOM/trim card provided by merchandising
  • A copy of time and action calendar

Finishing and packing department: It is the last step of production which needs to discuss in detail in pre-production meeting. The finishing and packing departmentdiscusses following issues in pre-production meeting.

  • Finishing quality parameters
  • Labels, hand tags position
  • Type of hanger (if applied)
  • Folding type
  • Special instruction for hanging garments

For packing following things are important to discuss

  • Packing type
  • Whether barcode is there or not
  • Whether RFID tag is there on carton or not
  • Packing quality
  • Size ratio in packing
  • Colour combination in packing
  • Warehouse capacity

Questions asked by finishing and packing department

  • Is there any special instruction for finishing?
  • What are the appearance requirements of the buyer?
  • How much is the distance between two hanging garments while packing?
  • Are there any special requirements from buyer to maintain temperature, humidity in warehouse?

Production file

During the preproduction meeting, merchandiser handovers production file to production team with all requirement documents and details filed in it properly. This file contains all the information needed to produce the style as per buyer quality standard.
The production file contains following documents in it.

  • Check list
  • Tech-pack
  • Comments sheets
  • Approved PP sample with buyer comments
  • All colour ways and a fabric swatch
  • Sample trims
  • Packing specification
  • Art work
  • Thread run
  • Quality manual (if applied)
  • Packing specification
  • A copy of time and action calendar
  • A copy of PP meeting format
  • FPT and GPT
  • Ex-factory date.

Conclusion:

“A stich in time saves nine”, “Prevention is always better than cure’, these two phrases are sufficient to explain about Pre-Production Meeting. Pre-production meeting is the free discussion within the department along with merchandiser to achieve the common goal. This meeting allow the concern departments to raise the doubts and get clarification. The problems associated with the production and dispatch of the export order is discussed in this meeting. As all departments are come together discuss the issues face to face hence there is possibility of resolving the problems well in advance. It gives the platform to solve the problem related to production and major controlling tool for the merchandiser and buyer as well to process the export order smoothly.

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