How to Determine Sewing Room Capacity and Sewing Operator Efficiency

A sewing room in the garment industry is a dedicated space where sewing operations are done. It is a crucial area where fabric pieces are assembled, stitched, and transformed into finished garments. Generally, sewing room is equipped with various sewing machines, cutting tables, pressing equipment, and other necessary tools and supplies. A sewing operator is a skilled worker in the garment industry who operates sewing machines to stitch fabric pieces together and construct garments. They play a vital role in the production process and directly contribute to the quality and efficiency of the sewing operations. Sewing room capacity and sewing operator efficiency are different aspects but co-related each other. In this article I will discuss separately.

sewing room
Fig: Sewing room

Determination of Sewing Room Capacity:
Production planning in garment industry is generally done based on sewing capacity. Apart from production planning, the production planner should also have knowledge on the capacity in other processes to meet the deadline. The sewing room capacity can be calculated by the given formula.

Sewing room capacity per day (min) = {(Number of sewing machine x work hours in a day x 60) – worker absenteeism%} x efficiency%

Monthly capacity = Daily capacity × number of working days in a month

Example of a Sewing Capacity:

Line No. No. of
Minutes/Day (Daily Working Hours x 60) Line Efficiency (%) Absenteeism
Line 1 20 480         50 8 4416.0
Line 2 26 480         55 10 6177.6
Line 3 30 480         45 9 5896.8
Line 4 32 480         50 10 6912.0
Total sewing floor capacity per day (in minutes) 23,402.4

For example, a garment industry has 4 lines and it works for 8 hours day.

The number of total operators, line efficiency and absenteeism percentages are as given in above Table.

Available capacity of the line will vary on factors such as:

  • Number of operators working in the line
  • Line’s existing efficiency
  • Operator absenteeism percentage

Capacity could also be expressed in number of garment pieces by dividing the total capacity (in minutes) by SAM of the garment. Assume that a garment industry produces a full sleeve shirt of SAM 21. Shirt production capacity of the floor will be 1394 pieces per day (29,268/21).

Determination of Sewing Operator Efficiency:
In a garment manufacturing system, skills and ability of a sewing operator are stated as ‘operator efficiency’. An operator having higher efficiency produces more garments than an operator having lower efficiency for the same period of time, which could minimize the cost of manufacturing a garment.

In addition, the capacity of the industry is determined according to the operator efficiency. Thus, efficiency is one of the predominantly used performance assessment tools. SAM of the garment and the list of operations performed by the operators are required to calculate the efficiency of the operator using the formula given below.

………………………… ……….Total minute produced by an operator
Operator Efficiency (%) = ———————————————————— x 100
………………………….  ……………Total minute attended by him


Total minutes produced = Total pieces made by an operator x SAM of the operation [minutes]

Total minutes attended = Total hours worked on the machine X 60 [minutes]

For instance, an operator was carrying out an operation with a SAM of 0.65 minute. In a shift of 8 hours, he produces 420 pieces. Then the operator’s overall efficiency is given by,

= (420 x 0.65) / (8 x 60) x 100%

= 56.87%

On-Standard Operator Efficiency:
Operator efficiency could be articulated in a more precise manner as ‘on-standard efficiency’. An operator may be attending all the hours in a shift but if he or she has not been allotted any on-standard job to carry out in the particular shift, then he or she will not be in a position to achieve the SAM as per his or her capacity and skill level. The operator’s on-standard efficiency could be determined using the following formula:

……………………………………………………………Total minute produced
Operator on-standard efficiency (%) = ——————————————————– x 100
……………………………………………………….Total on-standard minute attended


Total minutes produced = Total pieces made by an operator X SAM of the operation [minutes]

Total on-standard minute attended = (Total hours worked – Lost time) x 60 [minutes]

For example, an operator produces 450 pieces per shift of 8 hours with an operation SAM of 0.70 minutes. He was ‘waiting for work’ for 30 minutes and his machine broke down in a particular shift for 40 minutes. Then, the operator’s on-standard efficiency is given by

= (450 x 0.70) / {480 – (30 + 40)} x 100%

= 76.8%

Sewing room capacity is determined by factors such as space, layout, number of sewing machines, operator skill, and production management. It represents the maximum production output that the sewing room can achieve in a given timeframe. Sewing operator efficiency is crucial for maintaining high productivity, fulfilling production goals, and delivering quality garments in the garment industry.


  1. Apparel Manufacturing Technology by T. Karthik, P. Ganesan, D. Gopalakrishnan
  2. Industrial Engineering in Apparel Production By V. Ramesh Babu
  3. Garment Manufacturing Technology Edited by Rajkishore Nayak and Rajiv Padhye
  4. Garments and Technology by M. A. Kashem.
  5. Sarkar Prasanta . How to Calculate Operator Efficiency at Work. (Accessed on 7 July 2023)

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