IE interview questions of apparel industry

The apparel manufacturing sector relies heavily on industrial engineering (IE). If you’re working or aiming to work in the IE department of a garment manufacturing company, understanding common interview questions can be very helpful. This guide covers interview questions and answers collected from top garment companies for various positions.

Basics of IE-Industrial Engineering

Here are some fundamental IE concepts you should know:

  1. Capacity Study, Time Study, Method Study, Motion Study, Work Study
  2. Line Layout, Line Balancing, Operation Bulletin
  3. SMV (Standard Minute Value), CM (Cost per Minute), Line and Efficiency Calculation
  4. Production Target Setting
  5. Creating Operation Breakdown from Sketch or Sample
  6. Removing Bottlenecks in the Production Line
  7. Following Up on Work in Progress (WIP)
  8. Thread Consumption
  9. Implementing Lean Tools: Kanban, Kaizen, TPM (Total Productive Maintenance), TQM (Total Quality Management), 5S
  10. Recruitment and Skill Assessment for Production Operators

Interview Questions for IE Jobs in the Apparel Industry

  1. What is SMV?
    • Answer: SMV stands for Standard Minute Value, which is the time it takes for a standard worker to perform a task under predefined conditions. The formula is:
      SMV = Basic Time + (Basic Time × Allowance)
      For example, if a standard operator takes 1 minute and there is a 15% allowance:
      SMV = 1 + (1 × 0.15) = 1.15 minutes.
  2. What is Efficiency?
    • Answer: Efficiency compares actual production with potential production using the same resources (people, machines, materials). The formula is:
      Efficiency = Earned Minutes / Available Minutes
      Where Earned Minutes = Production (pieces) × SMV
      and Available Minutes = Manpower (Helpers + Operators) × Working Time (minutes).
      Efficiency is expressed as a percentage.
  3. What is Production and Productivity?
    • Answer: Production is the process of turning inputs into outputs (goods or services).
      Productivity measures the efficiency of converting inputs into outputs, using the formula:
      Productivity = Output / Input
  4. What are Work Study, Method Study, and Time Study?
    • Answer:
      • Work Study: Systematic examination of work methods to improve efficiency.
      • Method Study: Recording and critically examining ways of doing work to make improvements.
      • Time Study: Measuring the time required for an operator to perform a task to set a standard time.
  5. What is Work Measurement?
    • Answer: Work measurement assesses the time required for an operator to complete a task. Common techniques include:
      • Time Study: Recording time with a stopwatch to find an average.
      • Synthetic Data Analysis: Summing basic times for all steps of an operation.
      • Work Sampling: Determining time spent on tasks through multiple observations.
      • Predetermined Motion Time Study (PMTS): Using human motion data to calculate basic time.
      • Analytic Estimation: Estimating time based on previous data and experience.
  6. What is CPM and CM?
    • Answer:
      • CPM (Cost per Minute): Total costs (labor + operational) divided by available minutes.
      • CM (Cost of Making): Calculated using CPM. For example, with an SMV of 5.5, efficiency of 62.5%, and CPM of $0.03:
        CM = (5.5 × 0.03) / 0.625 = $0.264 per piece or $3.168 per dozen.
  7. What is Rating?
    • Answer: Rating measures an operator’s skill level. Factors affecting rating include work measurement technique, time duration, work quantity, and work quality. The formula is:
      Rating = (Observed Rating × Standard Rating) / Standard Rating
  8. Objectives of Work Study and Method Study?
    • Answer:
      • Work Study: Cost optimization, increased productivity, profitability, job security, standard procedures, and fair tasks.
      • Method Study: Improved factory layout, better plant design, safety, work flow, quality, material handling, resource utilization, output, administration, and waste reduction.
  9. Principles of Motion Economy?
    • Answer:
      • Use of Human Body: Coordinated, simultaneous hand movements; natural rhythm.
      • Workplace Arrangement: Fixed locations for tools, materials close to the worker, comfortable seating.
      • Tool and Equipment Design: Hands-free work where possible, combined tools.
  10. What is a Bottleneck and Line Balancing?
    • Answer:
      • Bottleneck: A part of the process that limits overall capacity.
      • Line Balancing: Distributing tasks evenly across a production line to avoid bottlenecks and improve productivity.
  11. What are the 8W Wastes in Garment Manufacturing?
    • Answer:
      1. Motion: Excessive movement.
      2. Inventory: Stored materials and parts.
      3. Transportation: Moving people, materials, or information unnecessarily.
      4. Waste: Unused materials and parts.
      5. Overproduction: Making more than needed.
      6. Overprocessing: Doing more work than required.
      7. Defects: Rework and corrections.
      8. Skill: Underutilized workers.
  12. What is 6S?
    • Answer: A method for workplace organization to create a safer environment:
      1. Sort: Separate necessary from unnecessary items.
      2. Set in Order: Organize items by necessity.
      3. Shine: Clean and eliminate unnecessary items.
      4. Standardize: Develop standard procedures.
      5. Sustain: Maintain standards.
      6. Safety: Ensure a safe work environment.
  13. What are Muda, Mura, and Muri?
    • Answer:
      • Muda: Waste that doesn’t add value. Includes necessary and non-necessary activities.
      • Mura: Unevenness in production that can be smoothed out with Just-In-Time (JIT) systems.
      • Muri: Overburdening workers or processes, avoidable through work standardization.
  14. What is Takt Time?
    • Answer: The average time between the start of one unit and the next, aligned with customer demand. Formula:
      Takt Time = Net Available Time / Demand
  15. Differences between LT, TAT, and CT?
    • Answer:
      • LT (Lead Time): Time from order placement to fulfillment.
      • TAT (Turnaround Time): Time from job start to output delivery.
      • CT (Cycle Time): Time from job start to completion.
  16. What is Gemba?
    • Answer: Gemba means “the real place,” referring to the production floor. Gemba Walks involve visiting the production area to see real conditions, identify issues, and make informed decisions.
  17. What is the Toyota Production System (TPS), Heijunka, and Jidoka?
    • Answer:
      • TPS: A system to eliminate waste and improve efficiency using JIT principles.
      • Heijunka: Smoothing production to reduce unevenness.
      • Jidoka: Automation with a human touch, focusing on quality control through detecting abnormalities and stopping production to fix issues.
  18. What are the 5D’s?
    • Answer: The absence of 5S principles results in five devils:
      1. Delays
      2. Downtime
      3. Defects
      4. Dangerous (Unsafe) Workplace
      5. Demoralized Employees
        These lead to dissatisfied customers and decreased profits.

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