Increasing sewing operators' efficiency: Challenging the glass ceiling
“…a high security factory in any South Asian country…, the workers start their day in the factory practising “warrior yoga” followed by a doctor-vigilant health food breakfast. The shopfloor is a scientifically lit soothing coloured chamber with an airtight artificially oxygenated temperature and balanced humidity level… The health of every worker is monitored at regular intervals and each is offered carbohydrate-protein drink frequently…. Vitamin C and E pills have replaced candy bars during break... During the evening, operators enjoy their choice of cycling, swimming, dancing and step aerobics under strict guidance... After completing a healthy dinner, the workers go to sleep in a special dormitory - a simulated “alpine cottage” - where added nitrogen changes the mix of the air inside, reducing oxygen content while leaving pressure unchanged. The operators report for the next day’s work with energy-generating red blood cells.” The result? Operator productivity that is unheard of! Sounds absurd? Dr. Prabir Jana, Professor, NIFT, Delhi in his characteristic (unorthodox) style challenges the glass ceiling of operator efficiency.
It must be noted here that the views expressed in this article belong exclusively to the author and in no way reflect the opinions of any specific organization.
With growing retailer pressure to reduce the manufacturing costs, organizations in newly developed nations are constantly searching for innovative means to improve productivity. So much has been written, discussed and argued about increasing productivity of sewing operators in various journals and seminars over the years, which speak a lot about the importance of this issue. There are two different aspects of operator training for increasing productivity. The first one is the scientific screening tests conducted during recruitment and the second one is the scientific training given to develop skills, stamina and confidence.
As the wave of robotics in sewing is playing in everybody’s mind, the human being can’t be ignored. It is high time that we look into the scientific approach towards efficiency improvement.
Unfortunately, both the aspects are scientifically unexplored.
While the training objective remains to develop an operator who will follow consistent rhythmic motions to sew fabric components effortlessly, and deliver quality products, different experts prescribe different methods to achieve this goal. The initial step is to teach a sewing operator correct hand and body movements to accomplish the sewing task, and the importance of completing the exercises within a stipulated time. Human physical abilities, endurance and stamina are common factors of success, once the trainability of a subject is established. Though few experts emphasize building stamina, it is equally surprising to note the lack of any scientific training technique to facilitate hand motions and build up stamina. I would like to draw the attention of experts in the field of training and biomechanics by comparing the sewing operation with sports.
Limit of physical ability
Scientific training reflects and improves an operator’s physical abilities and endurance. Through scientific training and sports medicine, we see an average