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Merchandising in Garments sector


The textile and garments industry is booming in Bangladesh, especially after elimination of the global quota system. Presently India exporting garments to more than 70 countries including US, EU, Latin America, and Middle East. Last year, garments export was nearly $3500 million and about 700 million pieces. The main competitors of Bangladesh are countries like Chain, India, Sri-Lanka, Hong Kong, Thailand etc.

The Bangladeshi garment industry is gaining ground in the world market at breakneck speed, but still not flourished at its fullest extent. Already the resources are available plentiful with a powerful foundation of fabric and spinning sector to support. The key factors behind this low technological development, lower output, cut throat competition, high raw material cost, inadequate infrastructure, traditional productivity, unfavorable regulatory policies, and globalization impact. However, there is a fair list of producers, suppliers, and exporters that are fully acknowledged with regulatory policies and formalities, international marketing policies and procedures. The only concern is in executing their productivity initiatives, and with order deadlines.

Now days, major companies are adopting merchandising concepts, which comply with all procedures to execute and dispatch the shipment on time. Merchandisers are serious in the success of any garment retail business. They provide the right products at the right time, enabling a company to match with latest market trends and meet the market demand. In the merchandising concept, time management is a gig to manage one’s time properly, so he can focus on value adding actions.

Today’s garments merchandisers have to move with frequent changes in demand and the developing technologies utilized in manufacturing and production. To find out customer requirements, they regularly visit retail outlets, and come up with latest updates from frontline staff. In order to keep an eye on developments in sourcing, site visits are made every week to mainland factories to meet suppliers and study production.

In garment merchandising, there is no specific rule, so it’s important to able to think on one’s feet.

Objective of the study

It is said that, “where there is no objective, there is no way to do something.” So that is any task, objective less, is performed- like to run behind the “Luminous Marsh- Gas or Ray of False Hope.” So any task, whatsoever, should be performed depending on any specific objective. This study is not out of above concept. However, the objectives depending on which the research study will be performed are as follows.

1. Understanding sample order.

2. Managing order route card and production timetable.

3. Using route card to reschedule activities.

4. Submitting pre-production sample.

5. Solving shortage problem.

6. To know the market demand & position.

7. To know about competitor.

8. Communicating with associated people and buyer.


Limitation of the study

Limitation of Data

Merchandising is properly a practical matter. So there is no hues written data, journal, book about merchandising.

Limitation of internet information

In the website there is not enough proper data and documents about this topic. So it is very difficult to prepare a report on this topic.

Executive summery

Merchandising is a challenging job in the garments sector. Now its an adopting concept in garments industry. Merchandiser plays an important role in the RMG manufacturing company.

Merchandiser has to understand the buyer’s requirements after receiving specification in the sample order. In many cases, there are modifications pertaining to the specifications in the order to dispatch on time and the right quality. He has to talk with the in-house veterans on the execution problems of sample orders, as the right information is required in decision making.

Merchandiser has to manage every single production schedule and order route card that helps to follow-up the execution in the planned way. It is expected to be acknowledged various descriptions like: design, no. of modules, no. of operators, how many process, and date of dispatch, quantity, output capacity, and deadlines in the schedules.

Merchandiser plans the activities depending on the essential or non-essentials, and top priority is given to the most essential tasks. In a daily schedule, merchandiser has to carry out and categorize is the most significant and urgent task.

To get update on the current status on the order, the route cards should be utilized. The latest status can be fed into the computers. In case, the buyer ask for the goods prior to the deadline, then merchandiser has to reorganize the schedules to accomplish tasks, output capacity, no. of pieces to be produced daily, substitute arrangements, time availability, supply time, scheduling critical ratio, etc.

The pre-production samples should be provided on time to the concerned buyers. Quality of the sample must be verified. If required revise sample should be made available to the buyers. Merchandiser should adjust to the required changes to demand by the buyers.

In process inspection denote between any tasks in order-execution. Incase of non-confirmation, it is better to focus on the concerns of quality. Merchandisers that work on complete orders have to check deviation to the production teams so that any amendments can be done to avoid the non-conformities.

The merchandiser should know about the pricing, consumption, sourcing to get the order. Merchandiser should know about the dearth of any commodity such as fabric, yarn, etc… from the beginning. Actions should be taken immediately to arrange required materials, after discovering the shortage. It is expected that merchandisers should verify the quality of goods prior to execution of the order. If the material is found unavailable, the superior should be informed about the concern.

It is essential to communicate with the buyers regarding the order. It is expected to give some time to the buyer to read the sent messages. Merchandiser should to go through the messages received from the buyer and reply on time. In many cases merchandisers have to provide order status to the buyers. Also merchandiser has to communicate with the people that are in-house, vendors, contractors and job workers. Only through the right communication can one meet deadline for the concerned orders.


The method of the data analysis was divided into two parts. First I gather opinions of the Sr.Merchandiser by personal interviewing from the Islam Garments Ltd and analyzed data in my suggested way. Then I have presented the data of merchandising from merchandising division of Islam Garments Ltd. and other merchandising division in Bangladeshi garments factory.

For collaborating the data and information collect through primary and secondary sources. I have also used quantitative & qualitative method that gives a view about Merchandise Management of our country.

The major secondary sources are-

· Merchandising report of Islam Garments Ltd.

· Audit report

· Website

· Relevant books, Research papers, Newspapers and Journals

· Internet & various study selected reports.



Formal and Universal Definitions


l Oxford Advance Learner’s Dictionary – The activity of selling goods, or of trying to sell them

l Encarta Reference Library 2005, Dictionary

– Trade Commercially; to trade in or buy and sell products for profit

– Market Products: to promote a product by developing strategies for packing, display, and publicity.

The Merchandiser

A highly skilled individual who has to perform many functions. The most important of these are to:

– Make long-range plans and forecasts of sales, profit margins, and stock products

– Keep accurate records of goods bought, sales, returns, transfers, and markdowns

– Control the mark-up and margins, to cover expenses and to produce a profit in the buying budget

– Maintain stock levels within a budget

– Control what to buy and advice the buyer of what has been bought

– Implement the company trading policy in merchandising terms, e.g. pricing policy

– Assist with sales promotional activity by briefing relevant staff of stock assortments available

In reality  Bangladesh clothing industry


Handle, follow-up, and take responsibility of an order(s) from start to end or booking to shipment and beyond to the customer who placed it and for the company’s management.

The Merchandiser

A individual who acts as a coordinator, follows-up and takes total responsibility of an order form booking to shipment and beyond, for the customer who placed it and for his company’s management.


l The order is the first ‘official’ document that the vendor will receive from the buyer (Customer). Every order describes the product and orders a certain quantity, at a negotiated price, to be delivered by a certain date.

l As for a merchandiser, an order would be a project to manage from start to end and beyond, with trade-offs and targets such as performance, quality, time, & cost.

A merchandiser should

Always work SMART, than hard.

Be very good Time Managers.

Take pride on their work and not on their position.

Be effective team players.

Be able to adopt to change.

Be responsible.

Paradigm Shift….

In order to face the ‘Paradigm Shift’…

  • You should always have a positive attitude and be discipline towards what we do.
  • Secondly, never say that you have a ‘weakness’, since this will only stop you what you dream to achieve. Nothing is impossible, from today on wards you call it an ‘Area for Improvement’ and work hard and more to improve it.


l Positive attitude & Discipline

l Time Management Skills

l MS-Excel (This is a key element in making a efficient merchandiser)

l Filing (Systematically – all should follow on filing system – do all trim & swatch cards)

l Transparency

l T&A’s / Critical paths & Planning

l Communication

l Costing

l Meetings

l Others

1. Fabric / Trim booking charts.

2. Material control and follow-up.

3. Sample follow-up.

4. Shipment follow-up and recording.


Managing your Time

  • Come to office to work, leave when you are done. Should not hanger around till late for some other person.
  • Punctuality at work
  • Use your computer more efficiently
  • Meet suppliers with prior notice
  • Do not ‘Procrastinate’ any tasks
  • Meetings to be held at planned times

MS-Excel (Spread sheet application)

This is the key, if anyone can handle this application efficiently, they can do a days job in one hour.

Filing, Trim cards, & Swatch cards

o Should be uniform

o Should be neat & systematical, so any file could be referred or found easily during his or her absence.

o Should omit the use of folders, everything should be filed.

o QA, samples room, factory files should be prepared very clearly.

o Trim & swatch cards should be very clear with all information and passed to relevant departments on time.


l Very important aspect in order to deal with suppliers and customers smoothly.

l Statements and payments should be clear, so balancing is easy.

l Post costing should be done to know the real situation of the order.

l Should issue a purchase orders for every purchase.

l Instruct our suppliers also to deal in a professional manner.


q Costing for inquires – we must make sure that we give a price to a customer within 48 Hours after receipt of all details.

q Pre-costing on orders – this could be your final costing on an order, once it’s confirmed.

q Post-costing – this is very important, to see whether the order is profitable or not.

q Costing responsibility will be on the merchandiser – in most cases the cost-sheet will be approved by finance department.

T&A Control & Planning

  • This is important to control the order from the initial stage.
  • T&A’s up-dated & meetings held.
  • Screaming when something is sliding or going offhand.
  • Making it practical and easy to follow.
  • Planning production & sampling base on the T&A.
  • Standardizing and customizing.


l Better communication will lead us to understand our customers much better and give them in return what they really expect.

l Replying messages promptly.

l Training

l Improves Proactiveness


l Planning meetings

l T&A meetings

l PP meetings

Sample Follow-up

l The sample flow of a order should be followed by the merchandiser and he is totally responsible for it.

l Once again, you should stick to the T&A to make sure the samples are approved on the given time frame.

l Make proactive decisions if something is going wrong.

l All sample comments has to be read by the merchant and should be discussed with the sample room in-charge before passing a copy.

l On this you have to work as a team, than passing the ball, since you know the order better than the sample room.

Global Supply Chain

Defining the Supply Chain

Is an integrative approach to dealing with the planning and control of materials and product flow from suppliers to end-users? Supply chain management represents a network of firms interacting to deliver a product or service to the end customer, linking flows from raw material supply to final delivery.

History of Title & Buzzwords

As the elements involved in SCM increased, so do its title & buzzwords changed. The emergence of the concept of managing a process can be dated roughly as:

· 1975 Buying & Stock Control

· 1980 Merchandise Control

· 1985 Quick Response

· 1990 Efficient Consumer Response

1995 Supply Chain Management


  • Suppliers
  • Manufactures
  • Distributors


  • Demand, Planning, and Forecasting
  • Procurement
  • Manufacturing and Assembly
  • Distribution
  • Return


• Demand Forecasting

• Inventory Simulation

• Manufacturing planning

• Transportation Scheduling



  • Order processing
  • Production & Assembly
  • Distribution
  • Return

Part of the Supply Chain

• Performance control – How well has the supplier matched the instructions?

• Supplier compliance – Has the supplier followed the instructions?

• Supply chain visibility – Can the retailer see what the supplier is doing?

• Collaborative management – Treating the supplier as a genuine partner & the supplier too been passionately devoted

‘Three Ts’ that Enhance Value & Reduce Costs

• Time

• Trust

• Transparency

Trade Offs

  • Price
  • Lead time
  • Risk
  • Quality
  • Reliability

A trade-off usually refers to losing one quality or aspect of something in return for gaining another quality or aspect. It implies a decision to be made with full comprehension of both the upside and downside of a particular choice.

Additional Tasks

  • Packaging
  • Labeling
  • Ticketing
  • Bar-coding


Procedures & Systems

• Purchase orders placed

• Purchase orders in manufacture against target supplier delivery dates

• Merchandise dispatched by the supplier

• Merchandise received at the retailer’s warehouse

• Stock at the warehouse

• Merchandise allocated to stores

• Stock at stores


  • Raw Material Flow
  • Finish Goods Flow
  • Information Flow
  • Financial Flow

Challenges (In the Clothing Supply Chain)


• To Source, Design and produce clothing patterns, and prototype, the latest in-house, and then contract the production to the manufactures.

• To place the company at the forefront of up to the minute design and innovation to attract more shoppers to the company’s stores.

• To allow the supply chain to respond quickly to changing needs and circumstances.

• To make proactive go/no-go decisions base on complete, and completely accurate, data.

• High levels of control over stock movement, and enhance decision making in a highly dynamic environment though process visibility.

• To develop strategic thinking and planning to occur months before the product reaches the stores.

Challenges (In the Clothing Supply Chain) Count…


• Coordinating and controlling thousands of tons of clothing from manufacturing centers throughout Asia to the final destination, with a greater control and visibility as well as overall reduction in inbound logistics cost.

• Maximizing the container utilization by consolidating a larger percentage and thereby reducing cost.

• Also to implement value-added pre-shipment services, such as quality control and barcode scanning at origin.

Merchandising & Interdepartmental Relations

(Manufacturing & Trading)

Operational Responsibilities

n Critical Path / T&A Control.

n Meetings held at the planned times.

n Availability & Accuracy of Tec-Packs.

n Ensure Potential Ricks are highlighted.

n Planning and Prioritizing.

n Relevant Documentation Completed & distributed.

n Filing system.

n Follow-up Actions.

n Accountability.

Merchandising Department

n Will do the Time & Action Control.

n Will distribute all relevant details and information to all other departments.

n Will co-ordinate with the sample room and QA’s to ensure smooth execution of the order.

n Should always up-date all departments with information updates from the buyer.

n Should up-date the customer on the orders.

n Raw Material ordering and follow-up

Much more…..

Production Planning

n Booking, production planning, & shipment planning of all orders.

n Finding sub-contract early if a ordered needed to sub-contracted & have the factory ready with sample approval etc..

n Monitor daily production against planned targets and highlight if cannot meet delivery deadlines.

n Following up on, TOP samples, production, carton samples etc.., since these are a must, if we are to ship the order on time.

n Will push all departments to start the order as planned.

n Will fill and send all following charts to customers, local officers, and other departments on daily / weekly / monthly basis, as requested.

· Daily / weekly production reports of all orders.

· Shipment schedules / Plan for all orders.

· Booking summaries and order summery sheets.

· They will get all information from the Merchandising & Commercial departments.

Product Development Department

n Product Development Manager and the Merchandising Manager will work together on all planning of samples for customers. Planning Manager and Production Managers will also join if necessary.

n Will plan according to the sample request sheet from the merchant.

n They will have a record in a master file for all customers on the sample comments / approval from fit to PP and maintain their own chart for easy reference.

n They will directly complain to the management, if they are unable to do a sample on time, due to unavailability of materials / information.

n The sample room plan and problems will be reviewed in the production meeting.

n They could get the help of support services for Washing, fabric problems etc…

n They will also sit with the QA managers and have the PP meeting, before a order is cut.

n Consumptions for inquires and orders.

n They will maintain all samples with tagged from Fit to PP for all orders running, it’s better if they could maintain a log book for all samples.

Support Services

They will be the link between all departments (merchandising, product development and QA / Production) for support; they will work on following areas.

a). Fabric Inspections.

b). Washing.

c). Inventory

d). Shade Bands / Color Approvals

They will also help the sample room to procure fabric / trims for development samples if necessary.

QA / Production Department

n This department will handle the quality and report on the production to the office on all orders.

n The QA Teams will be allocated customer wise, hence they will handle the order from the Fit Approval stage, so they will know better once it’s in production (Buying Office).

n QA Managers will work closely with the Support Services during production, to control washing, fabric problems etc..

n QA Managers are responsible for T&A control too, they will have to report issues to the management, if the T&A dates are not hit and discuss same at the production meetings, such as on, Production samples, Washing approval, Shade band approval, delay in Cut dates, delivery etc.. (Copies of the T&A will be given to QA managers by the Merchant)

n QA Department will open their own file base on the T&A and start following-up on the orders and then get the relevant information / details from Merchant to complete the file before the cut date.

n Will have their own PP Meeting with the factory staff before cutting of any order.

HRD (Human Resource Development)

n Training and development activities.

n Counseling activities.

n Absenteeism and turnover recording.

n Sick room, first-aid, and maintaining of in-house accident register.

n Code of conduct and other disciplinary action.

n Monitoring and recording of daily attendance, leave, etc…

n Monitoring the Direct: Indirect ratio.

n Grading, appraisals, & evaluations.

Finance / Accounts

n Will analyze the total expenses of the operations.

n Prepare and work on a budget.

n Should analyze the monthly expenses of each factory against exports (earnings), in order to determine the CM cost each factory should work on.

n Should control material and cost, such as permitting to order only on management approved p/o.


n Operations meeting (A meeting every month).

n Production & Planning meeting (A meeting every week).

n T&A Meeting (Every week, only within the merchandising department).

n Pre-production meetings (A meeting before starting of each order).

(Minutes must be taken on all meetings with an action plan & a person assigned)

Operations meeting..

n HR / Personnel

n Housekeeping

n Security

n Transport

n Engineering

n Shipping

n Training

Production Meeting

o There should be a production meeting every week.

o The main purpose of this is to high light the problems (All day to day problems) to the Top Management. The Director will chair the meeting.

o There will be a summery of following maters to be discussed, Inspections, Sample, Planning, Merchandising Raw Materials, Production, & Shipments.

o All problems will have to be high-lighted by relevant departments, so the Management could take action or speak to the customer on same.

o Each department will get ready for the meeting on the previous day with all relevant information for the meeting (Preparation is very important).

o Important – Do not cover anyone’s back, coz ultimately the company will suffer. This meeting is not to punish anyone; it’s to make sure that action is taken for issues upfront.

Discussed at the Production Meeting

just some examples

– Inspections (Fabric) – Rejections and reasons

– Samples – Delay’s and Rejections

– Raw Materials – Delay’s why?

– Production – Quality Problems and Delay’s

– Shipments – Delay’s and Extensions

– Only Problems – everything should be transparent and nothing hidden.

Pre Production Meetings

n All departments will sit for the PP Meeting.

n Should have a PP Meeting before cutting on every order / style.

n The main purpose of a PP Meeting is to review all information from all departments on the style and make sure at the end, that all important and relevant information and details are passed to the factory production line.

n We should minute all Pre-production meetings and each department should have copy in the file (There will be a format to be filled for this).

These are a Must at PP Meetings

n Approved Pre Production / Seal Sample

n Approved Trim Card

n Approved Shade Band

n Approved Wash Standard

n Fabric Inspection reports

n Inventory Reports

n Fabric test reports

n Fusing report

n Final Confirmed Marker / YY’s

n Completed Tec-files for QA Managers

n Copy of the T&A

When a order is in production…

n It should be closely followed up.

n We should give more attention and work hard on critical orders.

n Each one of us should be proactive and work as a team to make sure quality goods are shipped on time.

n Problems should be highlighted at a very early stage in order to avoid air freights.

n Production and shipment recording should be standardized and up to date, so we don’t waste much time on reviewing same.

n Should request buyer for help or extension at an early stage of the order.

n We should all remember that we get paid only if the exports are done, so this must be taken very seriously.

Confirming orders…

n We must avoid very small orders, since we’ll not have any efficiency gain on them in production and we have to do the same sampling and the ground work as we do for a regular order.

n We must consider the quantity, delivery, cost, efficiency, & productivity when confirming a order.

n Should avoid high risk orders.

n Consider suitability of the order.

n Should start to work with more up-market customers, so we could up-grade our operation too.

Manufacturing or Trading…

n First of all we could be very clear about our operation, are we ‘A Manufacture’ or ‘A Trading house’?

n A Manufacture should up-grade his factory and go for up-market customers, since he will not learn or gain anything with customers who only confirm orders for cheap price. He should only take orders with a certain amount of GP on the pre-costing.

n A trading company should only take orders if they have a remarkable margin, since most of the time in Bangladesh they take the risk, do all the hard-work, and have no gain at all, which should be avoided. Basically they do all the work for the factory until pre-production & then pocket-out the air freight when factories don’t keep their commitments.

n A trading company is highly dependable on our vendors; hence they have to choose their vendors very carefully. They should have a consistent vendor base to do their orders round the year.

Areas of improvement (General)…

n Product Development – should be fast in turning a sample’s / YY’s around (Should have a fixed time).

n Human resource – training & development

n Strategy and Motivational meetings (By having this sort of meetings the staff could learn and be aware of what is expected from them)

n Information Technology –

n Meetings – We should have regular meetings, by doing this we could build the self-confidence of our staff.

n Follow-up activities – Production, QA, shipment etc… Should be done in the proper manner, more clearly and with easy traceability.

n Past records and samples stored in a very organized manner.

n Discipline

n Transparency.

n Filing

Most of all, we should all discuss and continuously improve the system to avoid loopholes.

Order Follow-up


• Controlled (Within our Control)

• Uncontrolled (Not within our Control)

** It’s important that we understand and identify above.

Required Details & Information

  • PO / Order Sheet
    • Price
    • Quantity
    • Color & Size break-down
    • Ex-Factory / final inspection date
  • Fabric / trim details – colors, quality, requirement, etc..
  • Size-spec
  • Sample, sketch & color ways
  • Sample requirement
  • Workmanship details
  • Packing & shipping instructions

Opening the Master File

• Should be very neat and tidy.

• Should always divide in to cages (with separators) for easy reference.

• Should always have a file label with the relevant details.

E.g.. for Cage separation

  • Reports
  • Sample follow-up
  • Buyer in-out
  • Suppliers in-out
  • Order details
  • Fabric
  • Trim
  • Po’s, PI’s, & Requirements
  • Lc’s & Documents
  • Costing & Pre-booking correspondence

Fabric Suppliers

ü Confirmation of delivery date and issue of Performa-Invoice

ü Lab-dip approvals

ü Fabric quality approval

ü Wash standard approval

ü Fabric Shade-bands

ü Fabric sample requirement

ü Pre-shipment test reports

ü Bulk fabric shipment

ü Payments

Trim Suppliers

ü Confirmation of delivery date and issue of Performa-Invoice

ü Color / Quality / Design approvals

ü Trim sample requirement

ü Pre-shipment test reports (If required)

ü Bulk shipments

ü Payments

Ordering (Fabric & Trims)

Consumptions & requirements

Requirement break-downs & workings

Price quotations

Required quality standard / test reports

Purchase orders


Payment terms / LC terms



Ø All approvals – Before cut-date

Ø Fabric – In-house before cut-date

Ø Sewing trims – In-house before cut-date

Ø I.e. thread, labels, zippers, etc…

Ø Packing trims – In-house before packing starts

Ø I.e. Tags, tickets, poly-bags, hangers, cartons, etc…

Trim Cards

• Details – Buyer, Po no., Style, Quantity, Manufacturing unit, Del date, etc…

• Fabric – Swatch & thread (Color, Composition, & Consumption)

• Pocketing / Contrast / Trimming – Swatch & Thread if any (Color, Composition, & Consumption)

• Lining (Woven / Fusible / Non-Fusible)

• Buttons – Buttons and attaching thread

• Marketing – Labels & Tickets

• Trims – Zippers, stoppers, cords, etc… (Length per size, width, etc…)

• Extras & Comments

Tech Files

• Latest tech-spec

• Copy of order sheet

• Approved trim-card

• Approved wash standard

• Sample comments / alterations

• Special important comments / messages

• Copy of T&A

Suppliers that provides a Service

  • Printing
  • Embroidery
  • Appliqué
  • Washing & blasting
  • Special hand work

** Above too have a flow, most importantly these are done on the garment while the garment is on production, and hence we should get all approvals in hand before the cut-date.


• All requirements have to be double checked, since there is no room for mistakes.

• Be extremely cautious when giving information to relevant departments.

• Should always do your best to execute the order in the proper manner, since short-cuts and assumptions might be costly.

Risk Analysis

What is Risk Analysis?

A Systematic evaluation of every product is essential to protect our business from financial, manufacturing, quality and safety risks.

It is a continuous process, where each of these potential risks are clearly identified as early as possible and action taken to prevent and/or control.

Why does Risk Analysis have to be done?

It will protect the business

  • Risks are highlighted prior to bulk production
  • Can warn the customer of potential issues – amend the design at the development stage
  • Factory can carryout pilot-runs early / develop folders / obtain the correct machinery
  • Can use Risk Analysis to prioritize time
  • Safe guard factory from potential risks

– a) New fabric suppliers

– b) New fabric types

– c) New processes – pigment dye

Recommended Stages of Risk Analysis

Stage 1 – Product Screening

(1st Design Garment – Before you send the fit / style samples out)

Stage 2 – Pre Contract Seal Risk Analysis

(Before Contract Seal – Before you send the pre-production samples out)

Stage 3 – Post Contract Seal Risk Analysis

(Pre-Production – Before you start production)

Key Responsibilities

Stage 1 – Product Screening

Head of Merchandising

Stage 2 – Pre Contract Seal Risk Analysis

Head of Production / Merchandising

Stage 3 – Post Contract Seal Risk Analysis

Head of Production / Merchandising

Operational Responsibilities

  • Critical Path / T&A Control
  • Meetings held at the planned times
  • Availability & Accuracy of Tech Packs
  • Ensure Potential Risks are highlighted
  • Relevant Documentation completed & distributed
  • Follow-up Actions
  • Accountability

1st Tier: 8 Sections

1) Fabric / Lining / Interlining

2) Trims / Components

3) Additional / Finishing Processes

4) Make Up / Design Features

5) Packaging & Labeling

6) Laying Up & Cutting

7) Fit & Styling

8) Warehouse & Distribution


Risk Analysis Activities

Fabric / Lining / Interlining

• Performance

• Fitness for purpose

• Environmental

• Past Knowledge

• Cost

• Wash & Wear Tests / Wearer Trials

• Work Study / Engineering

• Interlining

• Product Safety

• Pilot


Risk Analysis Activities, Additional Finishing /Design Processes

• Embroidery

• Pleating

• Non iron

• Garment dye

• Cost

• Wash test / Wearer trial

• Engineering

• Past History

• Wash Laundry

• Product Safety


Make Up Features

• Engineering

• Fitness for purpose

• New Design Features

• Past history of design features

• Wash test / Wearer trial

• Product Safety

• Pilot

• Location

• Handling


Packaging / Labeling

• Promotional

• Packaging

• Hangers

• Engineering

• Cost

• Product Safety

• Labeling


Cutting / Laying Up

• Costing

• Laying Up

• Cutting

• Past history

• Special Requirement

• Product Safety


Fit / Styling

• Fitness for purpose

• Wearer Trial

• Wash tests

• Past History

• New Features

• Measurements

• Product Safety


Warehouse / Distribution

• Handling

• Storage

• Transport

• Cost / Freight / Duties

• Product Safety


3rd Tier: Questions / Prompts

  • Stage: Pre Contract Seal Risk Analysis
  • Section: Make Up & Design Features
  • Key Activity: Engineering / Work Study
  • Questions / Prompts:
          • Do we have the right machinery?
          • Do we require any new types of machinery?
          • Are there enough machines?
          • Are there special attachments needed?

The Risk Analysis Meeting

  • Raise a Risk Analysis Assessment Form for every design / Tech pack
  • Brainstorm as a team – have relevant prompts / questions
  • All Risk issues recorded on the form with agreed actions, responsibilities and completion date
  • Ensure results are fed back into the system
  • On-going issues recorded for the next stage

Suggested Involvement at Each Stage

    • Product Screening
        • Product development / Design
        • Merchandising
        • Costing / Work Study
        • Garment Technology
        • Fabric Technology

Suggested Involvement at Each Stage

  • Pre-Contract Seal Risk Analysis
      • Merchandising
      • Product development / Design
      • Costing
      • Engineering / Work Study
      • Garment Technology
      • Fabric Technology
      • Quality Management
      • Purchasing
      • Production

Continuous Improvement of the System

  • Create a Questions / Prompt Sheet
  • Update it every season
  • Passed / Fail Designs – reasons
  • Passed / Fail Samples – reasons
  • Late Deliveries & Reasons (Air freights)
  • High Quality Costs (Repairs, Seconds)
  • Missed planned production start dates and reasons
  • High customer returns

Sourcing of Materials


Fabrics and other raw materials for your apparel or sewn product contribute about 50-70% of the production costs or about 35-40% of the total wholesale price of apparel products. So, naturally, where you buy your raw materials (or “source” them) is of critical importance.

Sourcing Options

• Producers (Mills, factories, etc.. Large producers will usually sell though through regional sales offices)

• Distributors (Middlemen / Agent)

• Converters (purchase fabrics from these mills and then print or dye the fabric [convert] before selling it)

Domestic, Off-shore, & Full Package Sourcing

Some materials are easier to find either domestically or off-shore

There are still advantages to domestic materials sourcing – Closer production contact and control, flexibility, shorter lead times, and less transportation, shipping, & commercial, costs.

Full-package services – This is certainly a more convenient process, sourcing full package form one supplier, than dealing with different lead times from many suppliers. This reduces the shipping & financial costs.


“What you give up when you import, you give up flexibility and lead time. “

Internet Sourcing

The internet has become an easy way to source fabrics. It is possible to search for types of fabrics by end uses such as apparel or upholstery, by fabric categories such as woven or knit, or by specific fabric types such as fleece or denim. Some sites simply list distributors, mills, or converters that offer particular types of fabrics, giving addresses or phone numbers, and offering Internet links if available. Cotton, Inc., maintains a site like this for sources of cotton fabrics.

Examples of Internet textile distributors/retailers are:

Legal Requirements

Standard procedures and customs for purchase, sale, and use of textiles are guided by Rules, codified in 1926. According to these rules, it is the responsibility of

· The buyer to determine fabric / trim suitability to end use.

· The fabric / trim manufacturer to provide serviceable products and information about quality and performance.

There are several legal requirements for sewn products made from woven and knitted textiles that must be followed by the wholesaler and the sewn product producer of an apparel or home furnishing product. Here are the regulations to which you need to comply.


n Fiber Content – generic fiber names and percentages by weight of each constituent fiber over 1% must be listed in descending order of predominance.

n Country of Origin – Imported products must identify the country where they were processed or manufactured. Check the FTC website below for details concerning products made in more than one country or made in the U.S.A. of imported materials.

n Manufacturer or Dealer Identity – textile labels must identify EITHER the company name OR Registered Identification Number (RN) of the manufacturer, importer, or another firm marketing, distributing, or otherwise handling the product. An RN is a number issued and registered by the FTC and may be issued to any firm in the U.S. that manufactures, imports, markets, distributes, or otherwise handles textile, wool, or fur products

n Care Labels

n In addition, the Federal Trade Commission requires manufacturers and importers to attach care labels to textile wearing apparel. Full details of what should be labeled, what labels must contain, and how labels must be attached.

Sourcing by specification

Your choice of materials will be different based on the styling and functional characteristics of your product, price point, expected sales volume, and business model (i.e. size and value proposition).

Before you begin looking for fabric and trims, you need to thoroughly evaluate the functional and styling characteristics of the materials you are looking for and the price point of your final product. These vary widely, and a material that is appropriate for one product may be very wrong for another.


The cost of materials often depends on the quantity that you buy and the payment terms. If you are willing to purchase more at one time, you may be able negotiate a lower price.

If you are competing on price, low materials cost is especially important. If your value proposition is unique design, material costs may be a higher percentage of the total cost of the product.

Payment Terms

Always Inquire on the payment terms before you make a materials order. Payment terms are negotiated at the time of material purchase. They could be:

• COD (Cash on delivery)

• TT (Telegraph transfer)

• LC’s (Letter of credits) – I.e. at sight, 120 days sight, etc..

As the business establishes a good credit record with specific vendors, credit terms are more likely. Discounts for quick payment & longer deadlines for payments.

Lead Time

Lead time required for fabric / trim orders depends in part on whether the fabric / trim is a stock or whether it is to be made to specifications.

Requirement Volumes

• Minimum yardage requirements

(I.e. 1,000 yards per color)

• Minimum order requirements

(I.e. 500 pieces per size for tags)

• Round-up requirements

(I.e. in 50 or 100 round-ups)

• Price slabs

(I.e. If quantity is 10,000 pcs Price: US$0.26/Dz

If quantity is 20,000 pcs Price: US$0.23/Dz)

Quality Control

Even with extensive specifications, quality of fabrics & trims are a critical issue. Textile manufacturers monitor fabric production as part of their own quality control systems.

Apparel manufacturers may test sample yardage before making large purchase commitments and also conduct either whole cloth or statistical sampling inspections when they receive bulk consignments.

They must set up a system to carefully evaluate fabrics and trims as they are received. The process can be as simple as checking the order numbers and specifications, but the most thorough process includes a visual inspection of the fabric & trims for defects and some basic testing for content and performance.

Independent Laboratories

If a firm does not have the necessary equipment and expertise, independent textile testing laboratories can be hired to perform tests on samples of textile, apparel, trim and other materials for a fee. Some are:

n MTL (Merchandise Testing Laboratories)

n CTL (Consumer Testing Laboratories)


n ACTS Testing Labs Inc.

n ETC Laboratories


“Quality surprises those are the biggest disasters.”


Before purchasing, you should know all the guarantees, warranties, and return policies. It is wise to ask vendors questions starting with, “What happens if…..?” The responses will vary from “it’s your problem” to “if you don’t like it, send it back for a full refund.” You may not change your mind about the purchase, but at least you will understand the consequences.

If you have accepted fabric or trim that you find has a major quality problem, several recourse actions should be considered.