Technical Audit Compliance Evaluation

Technical Audit – Factory Compliance Board operates with the belief that ‘FIRE PREVENTION’ is better than Fire Fighting as well as aiming to ‘GET IT RIGHT THE FIRST TIME ROUND’. There are 4 sections to the technical compliance evaluation and they are: –

  • Housekeeping and Maintenance of Equipment
  • Pre Production Measures for Compliance Audit
  • Quality Assurance Process
  • Product Integrity

Points will be given for the technical compliance evaluation.  Each Buyer customer has a different standard in quality acceptance, therefore the minimum points required will be different from each customer.  In the event a factory does not meet the minimum points, the factory will fail the technical compliance portion of the factory evaluation and will be required to make corrections and improvements within an agreed time frame.

The only exception to this ruling is that the factory does not comply to Garment Buyers mandatory requirement of a broken needle policy or control of sharp tools (ie. Knives, trimming scissors etc). A factory that does not meet these mandatory requirements cannot start business with Garment Buyers customers.

Housekeeping and Maintenance of Equipment

Under this section, Buyer evaluators will be looking at how the factory maintains its premises and its equipment (which includes machineries) to prevent possible dirt, dust, oil contamination as well as potential issues with quality. Some examples of poor housekeeping and maintenance of equipment are: –

Factory has no storage in all parts of their factory or storage areas are compromised by sharp edges causing possible snagging on materials

Machines are rusted or leaking oil and there is no written records of maintenance Compliance Audit

Fabric and/or materials in the warehouse are exposed to direct sunlight causing color fastness issues

Lighting at areas in the factory that affect quality (i.e. inspection, sewing, painting, etc.) is insufficient (i.e. Garment Buyers standard is 500 lux but affected area is only 250 lux)

Pre Production Measures for Technical Audit

Under this section, Buyer evaluators will be looking at how the factory ensures ‘fire prevention’. In this section of the evaluation, written records are mostly required.  Some examples of processes evaluated are: –

Is there a fabric/yarn/inspection process? There should be written records to verify this inspection process and also an inspection standard (4 or 10 point system or ISO) that is used.

Is there a garment shrinkage/elongation test process? Shrinkage/elongation between garment and fabric is never the same, which is why this process is necessary. Again, the before and after results should be documented and tested both of washed and non-washed garments.

Is there a fusing control process? There are 3 elements to a good fusing (pressure, timing and temperature) therefore it’s crucial that there are written records of each fusing machine at least 3 times a day.

Is there a Pre Production Process? Before any bulk production commences, there should always be a pre production process to discuss customer’s comments with all parties involved in production. Again, there should be written documentation on this process as there are a lot of parties involved in bulk production and follow-up is therefore required by an appointed person.

Quality Assurance Process

Under this section, Buyer will be evaluating how the factory ‘gets it right the first time round’. In this section of the evaluation, written records are once again required. If the factory cuts an extra 5%, they should be targeting to ship an extra 3% instead of under shipping 5%. If the order quantity is 10,000 pieces, an over cut of 5% would be an additional of 500 pieces therefore if the factory under ships 5% at USD 10.00 per garment, that would be a waste of USD 10,000.  Some examples of what a Buyer evaluator will be looking for: –

Is there a fabric relaxation process? All knitted and stretched (including woven) fabric should be unrolled and relaxed for at least 24 hours prior to spreading. Thereafter, the fabric should be further relaxed for another 6 hours after spreading (if the factory does not have an over feed automatic spreader) as manual spreading will put tension back into the fabric during spreading.

Is there an inline inspection process (for cut & sewn only)? We strongly recommend the ‘traffic light system’ where inline QCs will visit each sewer twice a day (minimum) to review their performance and inspect at least one bundle (but no less than 12 pieces) per sewer. Based on the number of defects found, the inline QCs will grade the sewer and give her a color (green for good, amber/orange for marginal and red for poor). Again, there should be documentation and recorded follow-up actions by the supervisors.

Is there a finished garment inspection process? 100% inspection should take place at this stage of inspection and QCs should not be found in possession of trimming scissors, as this is not their job.

Product Integrity

Under this section, Buyer evaluators will be walking the lines as well as visiting the packing section to determine product integrity of the factory. Here are some examples of what a Buyer evaluator will be looking for: –

Is there a broken/used needle policy? A broken needle policy should be enforced as it protects Garment Buyers customers from possible law suits by consumers. It should be documented and with all broken/used needles attached. The factory management should also use the information to identify possible quality problems.

Is there a control on the use of sharp tools? Sharp tools like knives, blades and trimming scissors should be tied down and/ or accounted for on a daily basis to avoid misplacement.

Was the seam intake consistent? If an over lock sewer is taking off ¼” on some seams and ½” on others (of the same style), there is inconsistency and factory will be penalized with point deductions.

Were garments already packed free of quality issues? Our evaluators will pick garments that are already packed for

Note : In the event that a factory does not meet the requirements of broken needle policy or sharp tools control. Even if they meet the required minimum score, no business can be placed for a new factory while an exit strategy is in place for a current factory for Compliance Audit