Quality Approaches for Mass-Produced Fashion: A Study in Malaysian Garment Manufacturing
Abstract:The garment manufacturing industry involves
sequential processes that are subjected to uncontrollable variations.
The industry depends on the skill of labour in handling the varieties
of fabrics and accessories, machines, as well as complicated sewing
operation. Due to these reasons, garment manufacturers have created
systems to monitor and to control the quality of the products on a
regular basis by conducting quality approaches to minimize variation.
With that, the aim of this research has been to ascertain the quality
approaches deployed by Malaysian garment manufacturers in three
key areas - quality systems and tools; quality control and types of
inspection; as well as sampling procedures chosen for garment
inspection. Besides, the focus of this research was to distinguish the
quality approaches adopted by companies that supplied finished
garments to both domestic and international markets. Feedback from
each company representative has been obtained via online survey,
which comprised of five sections and 44 questions on the
organizational profile and the quality approaches employed in the
garment industry. As a result, the response rate was 31%. The results
revealed that almost all companies have established their own
mechanism of process control by conducting a series of quality
inspections for daily production, either it was formally set up or
otherwise. In addition, quality inspection has been the predominant
quality control activity in the garment manufacturing, while the level
of complexity of these activities was substantially dictated by the
customers. Moreover, AQL-based sampling was utilized by
companies dealing with exports, whilst almost all the companies that
only concentrated on the domestic market were comfortable using
their own sampling procedures for garment inspection. Hence, this
research has provided insights into the implementation of a number
of quality approaches that were perceived as important and useful in
the garment manufacturing sector, which is truly labour-intensive.
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