Time Study of the Textile IndustryTime Study of the Textile Industry

How To Do Time Study In Textile Industry

The textile industry is characterized by intricate processes and a need for high efficiency. Time study, a method of analyzing the time taken to complete tasks within the production process, is a powerful tool for optimizing these operations. This blog provides a detailed guide on the time study procedure, essential equipment, and the objectives of setting production standards in the textile industry.

What is Time Study?

Time study involves observing and recording the time taken for each operation in a manufacturing process. It helps in:

  • Identifying bottlenecks
  • Setting performance standards
  • Improving process efficiency
  • Reducing labor costs

Importance of Time Study in the Textile Industry

In the textile industry, where processes range from spinning and weaving to dyeing and finishing, time study plays a vital role in:

  • Streamlining production
  • Ensuring consistent product quality
  • Meeting delivery deadlines
  • Enhancing worker productivity

Time Study Procedure

The procedure for conducting a time study in the textile industry involves several systematic steps to ensure accurate and useful data collection.

1. Select Garment

Choose the specific garment or product for which the time study will be conducted. This selection should represent a typical item in the production line to ensure relevant results.

2. Identify Operation

Identify the operation or process within the production of the selected garment that you want to study. This could be anything from fabric cutting to sewing or finishing.

3. Break the Operation Down into Elements

Divide the selected operation into smaller, manageable elements or tasks. For instance, if the operation is sewing, the elements might include joining seams, attaching pockets, and hemming.

4. Select Operator

Choose a skilled and experienced operator to perform the tasks. The operator should be representative of the average skill level within the workforce to ensure the results are applicable across the production line.

5. Record Cycle Time

Use a timing device to record the cycle time for each element of the operation. Cycle time is the time taken to complete one cycle of the task.

6. Adjust Rating Factor

Apply a rating factor to adjust the observed times based on the operator’s performance compared to the standard performance level. This ensures the times are normalized to reflect a standard level of effort and skill.

7. Determine Allowances

Calculate allowances for fatigue, delays, and other contingencies. These allowances ensure that the production standard is realistic and achievable under normal working conditions.

8. Determine Production Standard

Establish the production standard by combining the adjusted cycle times with the determined allowances. The production standard is the expected time for an average operator to complete the task under normal working conditions.

SAM or SMV= Basic Time + Allowance

What is SAM (Standard Allowed Minutes)?

tandard Allowed Minutes (SAM) is a time measurement unit used to calculate the time required for a skilled operator to complete a specific task under normal working conditions. SAM is crucial for determining the production capacity, setting performance standards, and estimating labor costs.

How to Calculate SAM:

  1. Identify the Task: Break down the garment manufacturing process into individual tasks or operations.
  2. Perform Time Study: Record the time taken for each task by a skilled operator under standard conditions.
  3. Adjust for Performance Rating: Apply a performance rating factor to normalize the recorded time.
  4. Add Allowances: Include allowances for fatigue, personal needs, and unavoidable delays.

Formula: SAM=(Observed Time× Performance Rating100)+Allowances SAM=(100Observed Time× Performance Rating​)+Allowances

What is SMV (Standard Minute Value)?

Standard Minute Value (SMV) is another metric used to quantify the time required to complete a specific task in garment manufacturing. While SAM and SMV are often used interchangeably, SMV can sometimes include additional factors like machine efficiency and production environment, providing a more comprehensive measurement.

How to Calculate SMV:

  1. Analyze the Task: Similar to SAM, break down the process into individual tasks.
  2. Conduct Time Study: Measure the time taken for each task.
  3. Adjust for Performance and Environment: Apply adjustments for operator performance and production environment.
  4. Incorporate Allowances: Add allowances for various factors affecting productivity.

Formula: SMV=(Basic Time×Performance Rating100)+AllowancesSMV=(100Basic Time×Performance Rating​)+Allowances

Importance of SAM and SMV in the Textile Industry

  1. Production Planning: SAM and SMV provide accurate time standards, which are essential for effective production planning and scheduling.
  2. Costing and Pricing: These metrics help in estimating labor costs accurately, aiding in the pricing of garments.
  3. Efficiency Measurement: By comparing actual production times with SAM and SMV, manufacturers can identify inefficiencies and areas for improvement.
  4. Performance Benchmarking: SAM and SMV serve as benchmarks for evaluating operator performance and setting productivity targets.
  5. Workload Management: They help in distributing workloads evenly among operators, ensuring balanced and manageable work shifts.

Real-Life Example: Calculating SAM and SMV

Let’s consider an example of calculating SAM and SMV for sewing a T-shirt.

Task Breakdown:

  1. Align panels
  2. Sew side seams
  3. Attach sleeves
  4. Hem bottom edge

Time Study Data:

  1. Align panels: 10 seconds
  2. Sew side seams: 30 seconds
  3. Attach sleeves: 40 seconds
  4. Hem bottom edge: 20 seconds

Observed Time Calculation: Total Observed Time = 10 + 30 + 40 + 20 = 100 seconds

Performance Rating: Assume the operator is performing at 110% efficiency.

Allowances: Allowances for fatigue and delays = 15%

SAM Calculation: SAM=(100 seconds×110100)+15%SAM=(100100 seconds×110​)+15% SAM=110 seconds+16.5 secondsSAM=110 seconds+16.5 seconds SAM=126.5 secondsSAM=126.5 seconds SAM=2.11 minutesSAM=2.11 minutes

SMV Calculation: Assume the same basic time, performance rating, and allowances. SMV=(100 seconds×110100)+15%SMV=(100100 seconds×110​)+15% SMV=110 seconds+16.5 seconds SMV=110 seconds+16.5 seconds SMV=126.5 seconds SMV=126.5 seconds SMV=2.11 minutes SMV=2.11 minutes

Objectives of Production Standard

The primary objectives of setting production standards are:

  1. Improving Efficiency: Identify and eliminate inefficiencies in the production process.
  2. Cost Control: Reduce labor costs by optimizing task times.
  3. Quality Assurance: Ensure consistent quality by standardizing operations.
  4. Performance Benchmarking: Set performance benchmarks for evaluating worker productivity.
  5. Capacity Planning: Aid in planning and scheduling production activities effectively.

Time Study Equipment

Conducting a time study requires specific equipment to ensure accuracy and efficiency.

Timing Device

A reliable timing device, such as a stopwatch or time study software, is essential for recording cycle times accurately. Digital devices often provide better precision and ease of data collection.

  • Timing Device: A digital stopwatch is preferred for accuracy and ease of recording.
  • Time Study Observation Sheet: A pre-defined form to capture element descriptions, cycle times, and performance ratings.
  • Time Study Board: A lightweight board to hold the observation sheet and stopwatch for convenient use during observation.

Other Equipment:

  • Depending on the complexity of the operation, additional tools like video cameras may be used for detailed analysis.

Time Study Observation Sheet

An observation sheet is used to record the cycle times, operator ratings, and other relevant data. This sheet should be designed to capture all necessary information in a clear and organized manner.

Time Study Board

A time study board is a portable writing surface that allows the observer to easily record data while standing or moving around the production area. It typically includes a clipboard and space for holding observation sheets and timing devices.

Other Equipment

  • Video Recorder: For capturing the operation on video, allowing for detailed analysis and review.
  • Calculator: To perform quick calculations and adjustments during the study.
  • Stopwatch Printer: A device that prints recorded times, useful for detailed analysis.

Conducting a Time Study

Let’s walk through an example process for conducting a time study on the sewing operation in a garment manufacturing unit:

  1. Select Garment: T-shirt
  2. Identify Operation: Sewing the T-shirt panels together
  3. Break the Operation Down into Elements:
    • Align panels
    • Sew side seams
    • Attach sleeves
    • Hem bottom edge
  4. Select Operator: An experienced seamstress
  5. Record Cycle Time:
    • Align panels: 10 seconds
    • Sew side seams: 30 seconds
    • Attach sleeves: 40 seconds
    • Hem bottom edge: 20 seconds
  6. Adjust Rating Factor: Assume the operator is working at 110% efficiency. Adjust times accordingly.
    • Align panels: 10 seconds / 1.1 = 9.1 seconds
    • Sew side seams: 30 seconds / 1.1 = 27.3 seconds
    • Attach sleeves: 40 seconds / 1.1 = 36.4 seconds
    • Hem bottom edge: 20 seconds / 1.1 = 18.2 seconds
  7. Determine Allowances: Add a 15% allowance for fatigue and delays.
    • Align panels: 9.1 seconds * 1.15 = 10.5 seconds
    • Sew side seams: 27.3 seconds * 1.15 = 31.4 seconds
    • Attach sleeves: 36.4 seconds * 1.15 = 41.9 seconds
    • Hem bottom edge: 18.2 seconds * 1.15 = 20.9 seconds
  8. Determine Production Standard: Sum the adjusted times.
    • Total time per T-shirt: 10.5 + 31.4 + 41.9 + 20.9 = 104.7 seconds (1 minute and 44.7 seconds)

Advantages and Disadvantages of Time Studies in the Textile


  • Increased Efficiency: Time studies pinpoint areas where production slows down, allowing for targeted improvements in workflow and machinery. This can lead to significant cost savings.
  • Accurate Production Planning: By establishing realistic production standards, companies can plan schedules, resource allocation, and delivery timelines more effectively.
  • Fair Labor Practices: Time study data aids in setting fair piece rates for workers. Workers are compensated based on the established standard time for completing an operation.
  • Improved Quality Control: Standardized processes established through time studies ensure consistent quality in the final product. Identifying bottlenecks can also reveal potential quality issues.
  • Data-Driven Decision Making: Time study data provides a quantitative foundation for optimizing production processes. This data can be used to compare different methods and equipment, leading to informed investment decisions.


  • Time and Cost: Conducting time studies requires trained personnel and can be time-consuming.
  • Subjectivity: The performance rating of the worker introduces an element of subjectivity into the process.
  • Limited Scope: Time studies only capture a snapshot of production at a specific point in time. Fluctuations in fabric quality, worker fatigue, or external factors can affect results.
  • Worker Discomfort: Some workers may feel pressured during a time study, leading to performance anxiety and potentially inaccurate data.
  • Resistance to Change: Established work practices may be challenged by the findings of a time study, potentially leading to resistance from workers and supervisors.

Overall, time studies offer valuable insights for optimizing textile production. However, it’s crucial to acknowledge the limitations and be mindful of potential downsides. For best results, consider:

  • Training: Train personnel on conducting objective time studies with minimal worker disruption.
  • Multiple Observations: Conduct time studies on multiple workers and across different production days to account for variations.
  • Communication: Communicate the purpose of the time study clearly to workers and involve them in the process improvement phase.


Time study is a vital tool in the textile industry, enabling manufacturers to optimize production processes, reduce costs, and improve product quality. By following a systematic procedure and utilizing the appropriate equipment, time studies provide valuable insights that drive operational efficiency. Setting realistic production standards based on these studies ensures that manufacturers can meet their goals effectively while maintaining high standards of quality and productivity.

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