Everyone wears apparel. We would expect the apparel manufacturing market to be large. In fact, according to IBISWorld, the global apparel manufacturing market size reached $825.7 billion in 2021*.

Lean and Six Sigma applications in the industry serve to improve processes, reduce defects and waste. We’ll take a look at several cases focusing on the implementation of Six Sigma and Lean from a general look at Six Sigma methodology, with apparel manufacturing examples to cases from Bangladesh, India, and Tunisia. We’ll finish with a video of how shirts are made.


Six Sigma Applied to Apparel Manufacturing


This article from Apparel Resources titled “Quality Management System in Apparel Manufacturing: Six Sigma Implementation” does an excellent job of introducing Six Sigma to the apparel trade audience and includes detailed examples for the DMAIC phases.

The article includes:

  • Documenting the Define Phase
  • Process Walkthrough for Fabric Audit and Cutting Department
  • Top Down Chart for Sewing, Finishing, Packing and Inspection Processes
  • Trend Chart for Rejection Rate at End of Line Checking
  • Pareto Chart of Finished Garment Defects at Final Inspection
  • Fish Bone Diagram for Root Causes of Sewing Defects
  • Six Thinking Hats for Solution Mapping
  • Redesigned Process Flow Chart

You can access the article here.

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Application of Six Sigma to Minimize Sewing Defects: Bangladesh


In a case study titled “Implementation of Six Sigma to Minimize Defects in Sewing Section of Apparel Industry in Bangladesh” authors Jaglul Hoque Mridha, Shah Md. Maruf Hasan, Md. Shahjalal and Forhad Ahmed cover the implementation of Six Sigma in the Sewing Section in Ananta Apparels Ltd. in order to minimize defects.

The case study includes:

  • DPMO and Sigma Level of Current Process
  • Frequencies of Defects of Polo Shirts Inspected
  • Cause and Effect Diagram
  • Suggested Solutions for Defect Causes
  • Corrective Actions
  • DPMO and Sigma Level After Improvement

You can read the case study here.


Using Six Sigma to Reduce Shirt Manufacturing Defects: India


In a case study titled “Performance improvement of manufacturing industry by reducing

the Defectives using Six Sigma Methodologies” authors Chethan Kumar C S, N V R Naidu, and K Ravindranath discuss the application of Six Sigma methodologies to reduce the number of defects in shirt manufacturing at Sun garment industry.

The case study includes:

  • Shirt Defectives per Batch
  • Capability Study
  • DPMO Calculations
  • Defect Types and %Occurrence
  • Pareto Chart of Defects
  • Cause and Effect Diagram
  • Remedial Actions per Defect Type
  • Defects per Batch after Remedial Actions
  • Defect Types and %Occurrence after Remedial Actions
  • Capability Study after Implementation

Initially, the overall percentage of defective was  4.42%.  After implementing the DMAIC methodology the percentage of defective was reduced to 1.95%.

You can read the case study here.


Using Six Sigma Methodology to Reduce Garment Shipping Delays: Tunisia


In a paper titled “Reducing Delays in Delivering Garments using DMAIC-Six Sigma Methodology” authors Thouraya Hamdi, Faten Fayala, Mohamed Jmali, and Nizar Saidane discuss the application of Six Sigma and Lean Tools to reduce garment delivery delays in a factory producing workwear garments.

Key elements of the project included:

  • Voice of Customer Questionnaire
  • Resources Required for Project Plan
  • Order Fulfillment Process Flow
  • Order Fulfillment Process Map
  • Delay Causes
  • Frequency Distribution of Run Types in the Workshop
  • Functional Design of Scheduling Procedure
  • Pull System Description
  • Workshop Work in Progress
  • Pull/Kanban Deployment

You can read the article here.


Video Showing How Granoff Quality Shirts are Made: Germany


With headquarters in Germany, Granoff manufactures men’s shirts and fashions.



You can watch the video of how their shirts are made here.


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