Saturday, August 25, 2007

SOP for Sewing Operator Recruitment and Training for Apparel Mfg Facilities

This research paper is relevant to Indian Apparel manufacturing sector.

Research Associate: Mr. Vinod Kumar - Training Engineer

Note: Download the files from the links available at the bottom of the post & go through the explanation for better understanding

The Objective of this research paper is to:

I. Procedure for Setting up of Sewing Training Section in factory

II. Procedure for Recruitment of Trainee Operators (Tentative)

III. Training Syllabus for Trainee Operators

Scientific Approach to “NEED BASED TRAINING” in 2 simple Steps

1. Primary Training: Basic Sewing & Machine Control Training

2. Secondary Training: Adding on Skills to Existing Operators & Improving the Efficiency of Low Performing Operators

I. Procedure for Setting up of Sewing Training Section in factory

A. Analysis to be made before setting up of the Training Section

1. The Output capacity of training section needs to be determined before setting up of a training section in the factory.

2. To determine the Output of the training section following factors need to be considered:

a. Present Operator Strength in the Factory & Grade wise % contributing to the strength.

b. Line wise, Grade wise Operators % available in every line

c. % Labour Turnover in the factory & Grade Wise % Split in the total Turn Over

d. % Absenteeism in Factory (Should also be analysed line wise) & Grade wise % Split in the overall Absenteeism

e. Complexity of styles running in the factory & Operation wise Skill Set requirement for the style needs to be analysed. This would tell use what should be the ideal mix of Skill Set that needs to be allocated to the line

f. Analysis of most frequently running styles in the factory & Operation wise Skill Set requirement for the style. Needs to be analysed. This would tell use what should be the ideal mix of Skill Set that needs to be allocated to the line

g. Style/Operation Specific Skill set availability

Considering the above said factors, the factory IE has to co-ordinate with the training supervisor in training of Operators

B. Planned Strategy:

1. Training Instructors need to be recruited depending on the size of the training section and the trained operator output planned out of the training section.

2. There will be two categories of instructors required in training of the operators. One is training section instructor who will train the trainees within the training section and the other instructor will render ON JOB TRAINING instructor who will train the existing operator or the newly trained operator.

II. Procedure for Selection of Trainee Operators (Tentative)

1. Personal interview:

Discuss & fill the relevant information in the Trainee Operator Recruitment Slip by HR Department

2. Selection tests:

  1. Peg board tests
  2. Pin board test
  3. Ball &tube test
  4. Visual Accuracy test
  5. Colour Perception test

Objective: Assessment of Basic Skills for making successful Sewing Operators

These tests are very important for assessment of basic Skills such as Manual dexterity (Speed of Hand Movements), Finger Dexterity (Speed of hand movements), and Hand Eye Co-ordination & Sewing tests (Only for experienced operator, these basic skills are very Important for making successful Sewing Operators).


A. Peg Board Dexterity Test A (PBDA):

In this test, we can assess the ability of applicant’s Hand & Arm movements, Two Hand Co-ordination

Apparatus Reqd: Peg Board, Metal pegs (120), Stopwatch

Grade: 1to 5 (Grade 5(75 sec); Grade 4(76-80 Sec); Grade3 (81- 86Sec); Grade 2(87-90sec) Grade1 (Above 90 sec).

Target: 75 seconds

Note: 1 Being Least & 5 Being Highest

B. Peg Board Dexterity Test B (PBDB):

In this test we can assess the ability of finger movements, & two hand Co-Ordination.

Apparatus Reqd: Peg Board, Metal pegs (120) one end painted red, & Stopwatch

Grade: 1to5 (Grade 5(82 sec); Grade 4(83-90 Sec); Grade3 (91-100Sec); Grade 2(101-105 sec); Grade1 (Above 105 sec)

Target: 82 seconds

Note: 1 Being Least & 5 Being Highest


In these tests, we can tests the ability to do the fine work with the fingers. It tests the ability to make rapid finger movements, neatly, accurately & sensitivity.

Apparatus Reqd: Standard Pin board, 135 pins, & Stopwatch,

Target: 90 seconds

Test: Right Hand & Left Hand

Note: 1 Being Least & 5 Being Highest


In this test, we can measure the main manual Co-ordination together with the Finger dexterity

Apparatus Reqd: Ball tube Stand & Boxes with one lid, 25 balls & Stopwatch

Target: 25 Seconds

Test: Right Hand & Left Hand


In this test, we can measure the visual Accuracy & Speed

Apparatus Reqd: Visual forms, pencils, & Stopwatch.

Target: 48 Seconds

Grade: 1to5 (Grade 5(17-20); Grade 4(13-16); Grade3 (10-12); Grade 2(7-9); Grade1(less than 7))

Note: 1 Being Least & 5 Being Highest


This test is conducted to analyze the colour sensitivity of the operator. In this test operators are asked to differentiate and rank different shades of the same colour in Ascending Order. We also can give them some cones of thread of different colours and blocks of same or nearly same colours and asked to match the thread to the block of colours.

After passing of above tests by trainees, then only they are eligible for to entering the training department

Resources Required:

  1. Sewing Machines
    1. Single Needle Lock Stitch – 10 Nos
    2. Double Needle Lock Stitch – 1 No
    3. Over Lock Machine – 3Thd – 1 No
    4. Over Lock Machine – 5Thd – 1 No
    5. Flat Lock Machine – 3Thd - 1 No
  2. Manpower – Sewing Instructor – 1 Person
  3. Continuous Availability of Fabric, Thread & Needle for Sewing Training
  4. Cupboard of Documentation – 1 No
  5. Soft Board – 4X4 – 1 No
  6. While Board – 4X4 – 1 No
  7. Duster - 1, White Board Marker – 4, Permanent Marker – 1, Measuring Tape – 5
  8. Stop Clock – 2 Nos
  9. Peg Boards – 1 No & Metal Pegs – 120 Nos
  10. Pin Board – 1 No & Pins – 135 Nos
  11. Ball & Tube Stand – 1 No & Marble Balls – 25 Nos
III. Training Syllabus for Trainee Operators


Approx Duration: 1 Day


1. General idea of other departments in the factory.

2. Different types of Sewing Machines

3. Sewing Machine and its parts.

4. Threading sequence for different types of Sewing Machines (S/N,O/L,D/N,F/L,FOA)


Approx Duration: 3 Days


1. Treadle movement, Treadle Control PART-I

a. Running the machine at high Speed

b. Running the machine at low Speed

c. Running the machine at very low speed,

d. Needle up & Needle down.

e. Full speed & stop at stop points.

f. Roughing exercises.Theory

2. Different kinds of Stitches.

3. Different kinds of Fabric, and its general use.

4. Different kinds of Needles, Threads and their use.

5. Stitches per Inch (SPI) & Stitches per Cms (SPC) and adjustments.


Approx Duration: 3 Days


  1. Adjusting Sewing conditions - SPI, Thread tension, Presser Foot, Feed dog etc.
  2. Needle change, Tension adjustment.
  3. Selection of Needle, Thread and SPI for given Fabric.
  4. Folders, Attachments and their use.
  5. Importance of Daily Machine Cleaning and Preventive Maintenance check-up.


  1. Treadle movement, Treadle Control PART-II

Fabric Exercises (Single ply) with threaded machine.

1. Straight line (single ply)

2. Square (single ply)

3. Triangle (single ply)

4. Curve. (Single ply)

5. Circle or oval shape (single ply)

6. Zigzag Exercises.


Approx Duration: 3 Days


  1. Exercises to improve handling & increase M/c time

1. Long burst practice on waste fabric

2. Practice of Run stitch, Edge stitch, pointed stitch, Precision Start & Stop & various other sewing exercises.

3. Two ply attaching by Run stitch, Turn & stitch pointed or edge (kinari).


  1. Structure and Principle of Assembly of Cloths.
  2. Sewing Defects, Cause and Effect diagram, Trouble shooting.
  3. Importance of “Alignment” while stitching and its importance to Quality.
  4. Quality Requirement, Quality Control and Reliability.
  1. Work place Layout & Principles of Motion economy:
    • In this Session we particular train operators on better handling techniques, arranging their work place according to the sequence of motion to reduce handling & increase machine time.


Approx Duration: 2 Days


1. Practical Exercise - To consolidate all the above steps.

2. Common Operations in Garmenting of Different Styles

a. Collar operation (collar run stitch, collar top or edge or pointed stitch)

b. Sleeve operations (placket attach by using folder)

c. Hemming Operations

3. Quality Exercises

Objective: To make more Quality awareness to all trainees by showing & explaining the different types of defects showing in the readymade board. Here we should make job cards showing correct method (it shows good quality) & wrong method of sewing (it shows defects).


Released to Production Line & Follow up

  1. Once the training instructor has been satisfied about trainee performance during training, then he /she can been released into the production line using Trainee Operator Release Slip.
  2. While releasing the operator to production line, performance report of the operator during training, detailing the skill level, the recommendation of the instructor & the strength & weakness of the operator is given to IE team for their reference.
  3. Newly trained operators have to be constantly monitored by the Training instructor seeking the help of the work analyst & Online training instructor in the line and the industrial engineer of the factory.

Click on the links below to download the file

Trainee Operator Recruitment, Training Tests & Release Slip Formats

Trainee Operator Recruitment Slip
Trainee Operator Release Slip
Trainee Operator Progress Chart
Training Test for Step - 1
Training Test for Step - 2
Training Test for Step - 3
Training Test for Step - 4
Training Test for Step - 5