Key Activities of the Different Departments in the Apparel Industry

In this article key functions of all sections of the apparel industry (garment manufacturing industry) are described briefly.

Marketing Department

The marketing department is into fetching orders to the manufacturing unit and promoting its products into the markets.

Merchandising Department

Merchandising department of the apparel industry is almost connected to each department. Buyer or buying house contacts to the merchandiser. Merchandising department understand the need of the buyer and then they try to make things as expected by the buyer.   Merchandising process involves planning, developing, executing and dispatching the order (product) to the buyer. The merchandising process comprises guiding and supervising for the successful processing of an order. The main objective of merchandising is the development of the product, costing, sourcing and get order confirmation. Merchandising involves all the responsibilities starting from sourcing to finishing.

HR Department

The HR Department recruits new employees as and when required. They look after planning different policies for the employees apart from planning their pay scales. The training of the newly admitted operators or staff is also taken care of by the HR department. It is the responsibility of the HR department to keep the absenteeism and attrition rate to the minimum.

Accounts Section

 The accounts department looks into the following things: LC (letter of credit), COO (country of origin), Invoice, Packing list. It also handles the cash flow of the organization.

Design Department

Many organizations have a different department dedicatedly working with designing areas. The work of this department is to create new and fresh designs in accordance with the current market trends or analyze the designs that are received from the buyer.

Pattern Making Department

The role of the pattern-making department of the apparel industry is to create patterns of the designs received from the design department. It is done on certain user-friendly software like Rich peace, Garber, etc.

Development and alteration of patterns, development of size set pattern by grading and digitization of the pattern is done in pattern making department.

Sampling Department

Sample quality decides confirmation of bulk order so this department is one of the key department. This department is also called a product development department. In this department, different types of samples are made from Proto to the TOP sample. Merchandiser co-ordinates sampling department.

Fabric and Trim Store Department of the Apparel Industry

In housing, the ordered material and comparing it with the BOM and order quantity is one of the roles of the store’s department. Keeping a check on the inventory, dead stocks and reporting the same are also the responsibilities of the store’s department. Once the ordered fabric, trims and accessories are in-house, the store’s department carries out an inspection of the same.

Fabric Inspection Department

The main aims of fabric inspection department are to analyze fabric defects using various standard methods. 4-point inspection method and 10-point inspection methods are used to the asses fabric quality. Trims and garments are checked with AQL (accepted quality level) 1.5

Testing Department

It is in the case of very few industries that they have in-house testing laboratories. The ones which have can cater to the following testing: tensile strength, abrasion resistance, bursting strength, pilling, button pull tester, etc. They carry out the above-stated tests and provide the reports of the same. If the facility for specific tests mentioned by the buyer is not available in the industry, it should be sent to external laboratories that are authorized by the buyers.

Production Planning Department

Once the order gets confirmation and pre-production sample is approved the merchandiser takes preproduction meetings with the department heads. The planning section then carries out the estimation and planning of order quantity, plan cut date (PCD), breakup of order, operation breakdown, etc. based on the particular unit.


Zero breakdown and preventive maintenance are mainly aimed toward reducing the downtime and increasing lifetime, respectively. The maintenance department works out the following terminologies: MTTR: Mean time to repair, is the time required to mend a failed machine. MTBF: Mean time between failures is the time between two successive failures.

CAD Section

CAD department of the apparel industry collects different inputs such as Tech pack, Purchase order, fabric details, 10 parameter report, pattern, etc. and with this, they come up with output as Lay reports and consumption per garment. Role of CAD department is very important from costing point of view, as good work from CAD will have least wastages and highest marker efficiency and less consumption per garment. Fabric consumption lesser means lesser cost.

Production Department

In a garment factory or in any manufacturing industry, the production department of the apparel industry is a heart of factory as maximum people are involved in the production department. The key function of the production department is to achieve maximum production, productivity, the efficiency with minimum wastages and in minimum time.

In garment factory Production department involves – Cutting, Sewing and finishing department.

Fabric Washing Section

After the completion of the assembling and inspection process, the garments are sent to the washing department of the apparel industry for the washing or finishing that is required for the particular style according to the specification sheet.

Quality Assurance Department

To maintain and control the quality, the quality assurance department of the apparel industry divides the work into different stages of inspection. Pre-inspection, inline inspection, online inspection, end line inspection, and final inspection. Zero defect and perfect measurement in apparels make a quality product and the quality department is responsible to achieve this.

Industrial Engineering

Industrial engineering always thinks about betterment. The industrial engineering department of the apparel industry works on productivity improvement, production improvement,  quality improvement, SOP making, efficiency calculation and improvement, thread consumption, time study, method study, SAM calculation, target setting, line balancing, etc. In addition, an industrial engineer works on the implementation of the lean tool.

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