AT­TACH­MENTS AND WORK AIDS: SHOULD THEY BE IN­DUCTED DUR­ING OP­ER­A­TOR TRAIN­ING?

Stitch World - - NEWS -

In ap­parel in­dus­try, op­er­a­tor train­ing is one of the most cru­cial and de­mand­ing tasks for any com­pany’s man­age­ment. Usu­ally, such train­ing is or­ga­nized at a train­ing cen­tre, which is al­ways lo­cated in a pre­de­fined ded­i­cated space in­side the struc­ture, fol­low­ing spe­cific meth­ods and man­u­als. But many times, man­agers and train­ers find great dif­fi­culty in let­ting go of the past with such es­tab­lished meth­ods of train­ing. With new tech­nol­ogy, au­to­matic sew­ing ma­chines and var­i­ous aids and at­tach­ments be­ing used in ap­parel man­u­fac­tur­ing units, do train­ing op­er­a­tors with or­di­nary sew­ing ma­chines or with­out at­tach­ments still have any rel­e­vance? This is an on­go­ing topic of dis­cus­sion. Team StitchWorld brings to our read­ers the nu­mer­ous in­dus­try opin­ions on the same.

Work­ing aids and at­tach­ments are an es­sen­tial part of gar­ment man­u­fac­tur­ing which not only en­hance the pro­duc­tion and prod­uct qual­ity but also de­crease the pro­duc­tion cost. Re­duced han­dling time and re­duced er­rors serve the pur­pose of us­ing work aids and at­tach­ments. Guide, com­pen­sat­ing foot, stitch­ing jig, fold­ers, stack­ers, etc., are some of the com­monly used work aids used in a sew­ing ma­chine.

Team StitchWorld tried to put to­gether the opin­ions of the be­low men­tioned five in­dus­try ex­perts on the var­i­ous ques­tions re­lated to this seg­ment.

Paul Col­lyer has 46 years of ex­pe­ri­ence in pro­duc­tion based ac­tiv­i­ties in gar­ment in­dus­tries. He is cur­rently work­ing as a self- em­ployed ap­parel trainer and con­sul­tant.

Sha­l­abh Srivastava is Part­ner at Gun­ina So­lu­tions and head­ing the skill de­vel­op­ment sec­tion. He was pre­vi­ously the Head-Train­ing & Skill De­vel­op­ment at Ma­trix Cloth­ing Pvt. Ltd.

Rinkoo Prasad works as Gen­eral Man­ager – Train­ing at Ma­trix Cloth­ing Pvt. Ltd.

Chan­dra­jith Wick­ra­mas­inghe is the Founder of Cor­rigo Con­sul­tancy Pvt. Ltd. and has more than 17 years’ ex­pe­ri­ence in ap­parel man­u­fac­tur­ing. He has held se­nior po­si­tions at MAS Hold­ing - Sri Lanka for a decade.

Roberto In­glesi is a vet­eran in fash­ion and shirt man­u­fac­tur­ing tech­niques. He has worked for lead­ing fash­ion brands such as Roberto Cavalli, Pierre Cardin, Calvin Klein, Benet­ton Ar­mani.

Why do you think use of dif­fer­ent presser foots, at­tach­ments are not in­tro­duced to trainees?

Paul Col­lyer: The cause is one of the big­gest prob­lems in the In­dian RMG in­dus­try; old-

Ex­ist­ing prac­tice of train­ing peo­ple in stand­alone train­ing cen­tres is a kind of delink from the in­dus­try pre­req­ui­site. These cen­tres of­ten lack cor­rect in­fra­struc­ture and equip­ment like, at­tach­ments, fold­ers, presser foots, etc.

fash­ioned tra­di­tional think­ing and train­ing prac­tices.

Sha­l­abh Srivastava: Cur­rently, two types of train­ing pro­grammes are be­ing run in In­dia for the sew­ing in­dus­try: In­dus­trial Sew­ing Ma­chine Op­er­a­tor ( SMO) and Self Em­ployed Tai­lor ( SET). How­ever, use of dif­fer­ent presser foots and at­tach­ments are not be­ing used by most of the train­ing providers for two rea­sons: Lack of aware­ness about the ben­e­fits of such at­tach­ments in case of SMO and un­suit­abil­ity w. r.t. Um­brella Ma­chines for SET course. How­ever, some of the SMO train­ing cen­tres which are be­ing run in­side or un­der in­dus­try part­ners’ su­per­vi­sion are ad­e­quately us­ing these at­tach­ments due to im­me­di­ate re­quire­ment on the sew­ing lines and ease of avail­abil­ity of such parts.

Rinkoo Prasad:

Work­ing aids con­sti­tute the es­sen­tial as­pects of any ap­parel man­u­fac­tur­ing shopfloor. They are one of the most ef­fec­tive sew­ing tools. How­ever, at­tach­ments and work aids are not in­tro­duced dur­ing op­er­a­tor train­ing. The rea­son be­hind this is that in the cur­rent sce­nario of acute short­age of skilled man­power in the gar­ment in­dus­try, the fo­cus of train­ing is on im­part­ing only ba­sic sew­ing skills for quick em­ploy­ment through short-term train­ing pro­grammes. This does not per­mit fur­ther time to train on us­age of dif­fer­ent types of presser foots and at­tach­ments. Be­side this, lack of train­ers’ aware­ness about the us­age and avail­abil­ity of work aids is also fre­quently one of the rea­sons for not us­ing presser foots and at­tach­ments dur­ing the train­ing.

Chan­dra­jith Wick­ra­mas­inghe: In the op­er­a­tor train­ing pro­gramme, there are three stages:

1. Ba­sic ma­chine train­ing

2. On job or Op­er­a­tion train­ing

3. Multi-skill train­ing

In stage one, we fo­cus on in­tro­duc­tion to ma­chine, ma­chine con­trol and ba­sic stitch­ing oper­a­tions like join­ing pan­els, top stitch, stitch­ing on dif­fer­ent shape seams. For this op­er­a­tion, most of the time, the ba­sic presser foots are only used. But we fo­cus from day one it­self on work­place engi­neer­ing and train­ing op­er­a­tors on the cor­rect pick and drop mo­tion and of­ten we use work aids at­tach­ments also. In stages 2 and 3 al­ways, train­ing on spe­cific/ spe­cial­ized ma­chine for re­quired op­er­a­tion or skill is car­ried out. In this stage all at­tach­ments, presser foots, work aids are used and that's the whole pur­pose of do­ing this train­ing.

Roberto In­glesi: This, in my opin­ion, is a ques­tion about the man­age­rial at­ti­tude which af­fects the train­ing pro­gramme in many cases. I be­lieve that young fresh op­er­a­tors must learn the us­age of dif­fer­ent at­tach­ments and fold­ers. I strongly be­lieve that us­ing a sew­ing ma­chine is ex­actly like driv­ing a car. Just as in case of a car, where you can only move ahead if you know about the es­sen­tial in­stru­ments, sim­i­larly in a sew­ing ma­chine, knowl­edge of presser foots and at­tach­ments is def­i­nitely re­quired to run the ma­chine ef­fec­tively.

Do you feel that not in­tro­duc­ing work aids and at­tach­ments dur­ing op­er­a­tor train­ing is sim­i­lar to teach­ing some­one to draw a straight line with a free hand, and then give him/her a scale to draw a straight line?

Paul Col­lyer: If you in­tend to give some­one a scale to draw a straight line, then why would you teach them to do it free­hand? All train­ing should re­flect pro­duc­tion prac­tices. If spe­cial presser foot and guides are used in pro­duc­tion, then they should be in­tro­duced to the trainee as soon as pos­si­ble. If they are not be­ing used, then ques­tions should be asked to IE and the man­age­ment.

In­dian com­pa­nies need to free them­selves from tra­di­tional at­ti­tudes and prac­tices. We do not need “tai­lors” but sew­ing op­er­a­tors.

There is no merit in teach­ing more than what is nec­es­sary or skills that are dif­fer­ent or ex­tra to those needed. – Paul Col­lyer, Ap­parel In­dus­try Vet­eran

Ortho­dox method of train­ing peo­ple on pa­per ex­er­cises is a waste of time. Trainees should be se­lected based on a well-de­signed se­lec­tion tool/test and al­lo­cated skill sets/oper­a­tions based on their learn­ing or train­abil­ity. – Sha­l­abh Srivastava, Part­ner, Gun­ina So­lu­tions

Sha­l­abh Srivastava: Yes, your ar­gu­ment is partly right. Use of dif­fer­ent presser foots can be im­parted in the ini­tial phase of the train­ing, when skills are de­vel­oped. This will help the SMO trainee to un­der­stand the speed part of learn­ing and also as­sist him to reach up an op­ti­mum stamina level ef­fort­lessly.

Rinkoo Prasad: The ini­tial op­er­a­tor train­ing is fo­cused on ac­quir­ing ba­sic stitch­ing skills by sew­ing gar­ments, free hand, with­out much fo­cus on pro­duc­tiv­ity and high qual­ity. Grad­u­ally once, the op­er­a­tor has ac­quired the re­quired

skills, the fo­cus shifts to higher pro­duc­tiv­ity with con­sis­tent stitch­ing qual­ity to meet the buyer’s re­quire­ment. In short, ini­tial free hand train­ing is for skilling and later use of dif­fer­ent presser foots and at­tach­ments is for de-skilling.

Chan­dra­jith Wick­ra­mas­inghe: It's like you are teach­ing some­one to hold a pen­cil and scrib­ble on pa­per. When he has con­trol of hold­ing the pen­cil and scrib­bling some ba­sic shapes with con­fi­dence, you then pro­vide the ruler or other tools. In sew­ing ma­chine, it's not only the straight lines that are sewn, but there are many more shapes and oper­a­tions that are con­ducted with the help of this ma­chine. So, train­ing each and ev­ery op­er­a­tor about so many var­ied oper­a­tions is not vi­able. That's why, only se­lected op­er­a­tors are given multi-skill train­ing.

Roberto In­glesi: Well, there are dif­fer­ent meth­ods of teach­ing and each method is ap­pro­pri­ate to the sub­ject. There­fore any tech­nique of teach­ing must be suit­able to the in­di­vid­ual learn­ing it and should en­hance his/her adept­ness in ma­chine oper­a­tions rather than mak­ing him/ her com­pro­mise on their un­der­stand­ing skills.

Do you feel there is any merit achieved out of the ex­ist­ing prac­tice? What is it?

Paul Col­lyer: There is no merit in teach­ing more than what is nec­es­sary or skills that are dif­fer­ent or ex­tra to those needed. You train be­cause you want some­one to per­form a task for you. For this, they need lim­ited skills and knowl­edge. You give them what they need and no more. Ad­di­tional skills can be added as and when re­quired.

Sha­l­abh Srivastava: Ex­ist­ing prac­tice of train­ing peo­ple in stand­alone train­ing cen­tres is a kind of delink from the in­dus­try pre­req­ui­site. These cen­tres of­ten lack cor­rect in­fra­struc­ture and equip­ment like, at­tach­ments, fold­ers, presser foot, etc. How­ever, such train­ing is still mean­ing­ful for tai­lors be­ing uti­lized in domestic bou­tique busi­nesses/ shops. Such leisurely way of train­ing of­ten suits these ben­e­fi­cia­ries. But for in­dus­trial SMO, this acts as a re­tar­dant in the path of a quick and suc­cess­ful grad­u­a­tion to the po­si­tion of a skilled op­er­a­tor.

Lack of train­ers’ aware­ness about the us­age and avail­abil­ity of work aids is also fre­quently one of the rea­sons for not us­ing presser foot and at­tach­ments dur­ing the train­ing. – Rinkoo Prasad, GM-Train­ing, Ma­trix Cloth­ing Pvt. Ltd.

Rinkoo Prasad: There is a lot of scope for im­prove­ment in the ex­ist­ing train­ing prac­tices.

Chan­dra­jith Wick­ra­mas­inghe: Yes, the preva­lent prac­tice holds merit as I have men­tioned be­fore.

Roberto In­glesi: Teach­ing some­thing is al­ready a good “MERIT”. When­ever you in­struct some­one on work­ing meth­ods and sys­tems, you must in­cul­cate within them a cer­tain work­ing dis­ci­pline. How­ever, in com­pa­nies es­pe­cially in South Asia, the man­age­ment does not give much at­ten­tion to whether the op­er­a­tor has un­der­stood what he/ she is go­ing to do… In many cases, an op­er­a­tor ex­e­cutes an op­er­a­tion with­out know­ing the di­rec­tion in which it is tar­geted… Why?

If you feel the cur­rent train­ing mod­ule is go­ing on tra­di­tion­ally over the years and there is a need to re­vise it, then what all changes will you sug­gest in the train­ing pro­ce­dures?

Paul Col­lyer: In­dian com­pa­nies need to free them­selves from tra­di­tional at­ti­tudes and prac­tices. You do not need “tai­lors” but sew­ing op­er­a­tors.

Sha­l­abh Srivastava: Ortho­dox method of train­ing peo­ple on pa­per ex­er­cises is a waste of time. Trainees should be se­lected based on a wellde­signed se­lec­tion tool/ test and al­lo­cated skill sets/oper­a­tions based on their learn­ing or train­abil­ity. This will help re­duce the train­ing curve of the over­all batch/ as­sem­bly line, and cre­ate the cor­rect skill in­ven­tory for a fac­tory. Over­all train­ing pro­gramme for SMO should be based and cus­tom­ized as per the in­dus­try de­mand, rather than what train­ing providers/ in­sti­tutes are able to im­part. This is the only way to cre­ate a WINWIN sit­u­a­tion for all the stake­hold­ers.

Rinkoo Prasad:

The cur­rent train­ing pro­grammes are largely based on tra­di­tional method­ol­ogy. A sys­tem­atic train­ing ap­proach is re­quired which is pos­si­ble through the man­age­ment’s com­mit­ment and sup­port for train­ing

Train­ing each and ev­ery op­er­a­tor about so many var­ied oper­a­tions is not vi­able. That's why, only se­lected op­er­a­tors are given multi-skill train­ing. – Chan­dra­jith Wick­ra­mas­inghe, Founder, Cor­rigo Con­sul­tancy Pvt. Ltd.

pro­grammes. Few changes which can be sug­gested to im­prove the qual­ity of train­ing are as un­der:

a. In­tro­duc­ing In­dus­trial Engi­neer­ing con­cepts like Mo­tion Study and Time Study to cor­rect faulty mo­tions dur­ing train­ing to re­duce cy­cle time and im­prove pro­duc­tiv­ity.

b. Us­ing work­ing aids, at­tach­ments, fold­ers and presser foots to re­duce op­er­a­tion cy­cle time and in­crease pro­duc­tiv­ity.

c. Mak­ing in­vest­ment in train­ing in­fra­struc­ture, viz. mod­ern sew­ing ma­chines, spe­cial­ized ma­chines, work aids to con­duct ef­fec­tive train­ing as train­ing is not a cost but an in­vest­ment.

d. Only Train­ers hav­ing un­der­gone “Train­ing of Train­ers” ( TOT) to be de­puted for the train­ing pur­pose. Apart from TOT, the trainer must have few years of work­ing ex­pe­ri­ence on shopfloor as well as ex­pe­ri­ence of con­duct­ing train­ing pro­grammes.

e. Re­duc­ing the train­ers to trainees ra­tio to 1:15 or even lower in­stead of the cur­rent ra­tio of 1: 30. This most likely will re­duce the du­ra­tion of train­ing to 20 - 30 days from 45 - 50 days.

f. Hand- hold­ing sup­port to new work­ers re­cruited from train­ing cen­tre un­til they achieve the pre­scribed per­for­mance tar­get on shopfloor.

g. Soft Skills/ Life Skills train­ing, in­clud­ing co­mu­ni­ca­tion, work ex­cel­lence, fi­nan­cial lit­er­acy, mo­ti­va­tion, prob­lem solv­ing, etc., to be in­tro­duced to en­hance op­er­a­tor in­ter­ac­tions and job per­for­mance on shopfloor.

h. Last but not the least, us­ing mul­ti­me­dia/au­diovideo con­tent in train­ing to in­crease learn­ing ef­fec­tive­ness, flex­i­bil­ity and bet­ter in­ter­ac­tiv­ity.

Roberto In­glesi: Yes, ob­vi­ously the train­ing pro­gramme must be con­stantly re­vised ac­cord­ing to the evo­lu­tion of tech­nol­ogy. To­day, in my opin­ion, the in­dus­try re­quires op­er­a­tors who have a bet­ter ed­u­ca­tion level like knowl­edge of com­put­ers, knowl­edge of elec­tron­ics boards/ ma­chin­ery, and so on.

Just as in case of a car, where you can only move ahead if you know about the es­sen­tial in­stru­ments, sim­i­larly in a sew­ing ma­chine, knowl­edge of presser foots and at­tach­ments is def­i­nitely re­quired to run the ma­chine ef­fec­tively. – Roberto In­glesi, Shirt Man­u­fac­tur­ing Vet­eran

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