Technical Audit in Apparel Industry

Technical Audit (TA) is a very crucial task of garments manufacturing. Every buyer (Customer) do a technical audit before placing an order to any garments factory. In this article, I am going to talk about what is a technical audit in apparel industry and how we can use and for what purpose technical audit fulfill. Many garments buyer have their own technical audit checklist, Audit must be done routine wise time to time. Through Technical Audit, auditors actually assurance of ability to make export quality garments of garments maker. Technical audit checklist can vary buyer to buyer.

Technical Audit in Apparel Industry

Technical Audit in Apparel Industry

Objectives of Garments Buyer Technical Audit

  1. Ensure the QMS is effectively
  2. Audit quality control system
  3. Ensure compliance with customer quality standard
  4. Ensure customer manufacturing and process control requirement
  5. Apply best practice in garments manufacturing.
  6. Ensuring effectiveness, efficiency, improvement and customer satisfaction.
  7. To get excellence & sustainable results in the long run of customer product quality and as a supplier.

Types of Technical Audit (TA)

Internal Audit/ 1st Party Audit

Performed by factory internal Auditor assigned by factory management. Internal auditor report for factory management, management evaluates the report and take corrective action. Here supplier has a scope of improvement as per customer quality and technical requirement by their own (internal) audit system.

Customer Audit/ 2nd Party Audit

Performed by customer/ buyer own self, report to their supplier and ask for corrective action, available scoring or rating system to classify supplier. Customer audit is very important for the supplier.

External Audit/ 3rd Party Audit

Third party audit is external independent audit performed by a party hired or approved by the customer to verify their process standard and requirement. 3rd party is a contracted organization work on behalf of the customer, make a report or certify supplier for a certain period.

Technical Audit Categories/Sections for Apparel

  1. Factory Warehouse (Incoming Goods Storage)
  2. Trims & accessories area
  3. Fabric Inspection
  4. CAD
  5. Cutting
  6. Pre-Production
  7. Fusing
  8. Sewing
  9. Finishing
  10. Final Inspection
  11. Quality Control
  12. Packing/ Finished Goods

Technical Audit Criteria for Garments

Factory Warehouse

  1. Product identification, FIFO-LIFO, storage items tracking system and inventory
  2. Mold prevention system, relative humidity %, and controlling system
  3. Trims, accessories and fabrics storage using pallet or rack
  4. 5S implementation effort

Trims and Accessories Inspection

  1. Approved trim card for every running style
  2. Inspection procedure and lighting
  3. Rejected items isolation and keeping an isolated area
  4. Third party or supplier internal test report of all Trims and Accessories.
  5. Complain against the failed product to the supplier and replace, show documents.

Fabrics Inspection and Procedures

  1. Fabrics inspection system, procedure, and Report (Follow 4 point or 10-point system)
  2. Shrinkage test accuracy
  3. Lightbox for shade evaluation
  4. Color evaluation, shade grading as per customer requirement

CAD

  1. Pattern Library and E-pattern library
  2. Marker calibration, verification (pattern or dies, bundles, direction) and Report
  3. Making separate pattern as per shrinkage variation

Cutting

  1. Grainline/notch indication, cut mold, stripe & check matching indication
  2. Pattern measurement for verification
  3. Process sequence of fabric cutting
  4. Fabric relaxation procedure and report documentation
  5. Spreading quality control- Table marking –Ends-Leaning-Tension-Narrow Goods-Remnants-Counts-Ply High-Marker placing-Fabric Flaws
  6. Cutting quality control- Miss cut –Rugged Cutting –Notches-Matching Plies and pattern check
  7. Bundling and numbering separation, its accuracy and proper report to sewing
  8. Cut panel inspection
  9. Preventive Maintenance system and report
  10. 5S implementation effort
  11. Using all types of personal protective equipment. Cutting safety materials: Hand gloves, musk,

Sampling and Pre-production

  1. Pre- Production meeting for very style and keeping document
  2. Sampling and pattern correction before bulk start

Sewing

  1. Proper sewing allowance vs. machines and making before wash measurement spec
  2. Needle Control Policy; Sharps tools and Staples control
  3. Preventive Maintenance system and report
  4. Roaming QC Audit system
  5. Overclock machine fabric trimming check, keep guide for maintain proper seam allowance
  6. Approved trim card and approved sample for each running style
  7. In-process quality checkpoint, defects type record, and alteration
  8. Mockup (with written instruction) or JQS (job quality standard) for every sewing operation
  9. Checking garments for construction, seam quality, and overall garments appearance.
  10. Garments measurement and construction checking comparing with approved sample and customer provided spec
  11. Seam puckering, SPI, stitch tension, needle mark and all others stitching quality
  12. Approved lighting condition in all QC checkpoint, customer required lux and checking report
  13. 5S implementation effort

Fusing

  1. Interlining bonding strength, temperature, time and pressure

Finishing

  1. Pull test of snap and shank button and pull tester machine calibration
  2. Quality inspection system and report
  3. Metal and needle detection in place and effectiveness
  4. Garments measurement procedure as per customer requirement
  5. Preventive Maintenance system and report
  6. Excessive WIP, dumping garments in finishing workplace
  7. Approved lighting condition in all QC checkpoint, customer required lux and checking report
  8. Pressing system. (Temperature, steam, Iron shoe and head)
  9. Show approved sample or customer provided data for attaching finishing sticker and folding.
  10. Garments AQL Audit
  11. 5S implementation effort

Carton Warehouse

  1. Carton keeping system
  2. Mold prevention system, relative humidity %, and controlling system
  3. Packing, inventory and delivery/shipment system
  4. Moisture percentage checking in garments
  5. Carton weight report, scan and pack system

Final Quality Audit Room

  1. Location of Audit room, separated from production area or not
  2. Available necessary for final Audit; approved sample, trim card, inspection table.
  3. The customer required a light source

Documentation to Show During Technical Audit

  1. Complete own Quality control manual of a factory
  2. Quality inspectors training and evaluation exam
  3. Quality management system and their activities
  4. All section SOP separately as following
  1. Analysis with section quality result and setting target
  2. Factory performance report from customer end
  3. Factory layout, evacuation, management, and quality organogram
  4. All machine calibration report attaching with the machine by the supplier, 3rd party or own calibration system
  5. Quality analysis and control report
  6. ISO, ASQ or any other international certificate
  7. Quality tools calibration report. E.g.: Measurement tape

 Audit CAP and Follow up Improvement in Garments

End of an audit, auditing party make a report with their comments where requirement does not meet as per standard or customer requirement. Audit result by the scoring system by marks (Performance rate) or classify Good, alert and risk. Supplier takes corrective action as per 3rd party auditor or customer recommendation for their customer requirement.

CAP Report Includes

  1. Audit observation/findings
  2. Auditor recommendation/Comments
  3. The corrective action plan of supplier
  4. Estimated completion date
  5. Progress status
  6. Follow up improvement 

Follow up Improvement of Audit

As per audit checklist report by an auditor, a supplier has to fill up customer requirement by a certain time. Customer follows up improvement of CAP in every week or month. If the number of CAP decrease after every month, supplier improving towards customer requirement. Anytime or after certain period buyer audit again.

This article also refers to few headlines as following

  1. Garments manufacturing best practice
  2. Benchmark apparel manufacturing industry
  3. Garments quality management system (QMS)
  4. Export garments quality control system
  5. Garments factory standardization
  6. Technical Audit checklist in the apparel industry
  7. Technical checking points in garments buyer audit

Download PDF: Technical Audit in Apparel Industry

Written by

A.M. Amirul Islam (Washim)
Email: [email protected]

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