Developing and Implementation of a Sewing Operator Performance Evaluation System for the Ethiopian Garment Industry. A Case of Novastar Garment Factory

Master's Thesis, 2021

129 Pages, Grade: Very Good








1.1 Background
1.2 Background of Ethiopian garment enterprises
1.3 Problem Statement
1.4 Research purpose and objectives
1.4.1 Research purpose
1.5 Research objectives
1.6 Justifications
1.7 Benefit and Beneficiary
1.7.1 Improved staff and team performance
1.7.2 Benefits for organizations

2.1 Skills Management
2.2 Workers skill level and attributes
2.3 Grade system for sewing machine operators
2.4 Sewing machine operator skill level grading
2.5 Grading based on efficiency of sewing machine operator
2.6 Grading system of sewing machine operators in the garment Industry
2.6.1 Grading according to types of operation
2.6.2 Grading according to sewing operator’s capability in various operations
2.7 Rating the performance of worker
2.8 The Rating Concept
2.8.1 Performance rating
2.9 Time study
2.9.1 Standard minute value (SMV)
2.9.2 Standard allowed minute (SAM)
2.10 Efficiency
2.10.1 Overall Efficiency and On-Standard Efficiency
2.11 Literature Gap
2.11.1 The limitation of Jochem 2018 spreadsheet
2.11.2 AG5 Skill Matrix Software,

3.1 Target population
3.2 Sampling technique
3.3 Sample size determination
3.4 Materials
3.5 Research process
3.5.1 Pre-study phase
3.6 Measure the skill of swing machine operators through time study
3.6.1 Steps in making time study
3.7 Consider lost time (Approx. real-time) of operators without using advanced devices like RFID
3.8 Skill categorization within a team/line
3.9 Developing skill matrix
3.10 Implementation phase
3.11 Result and discussion phase
3.12 Exiting measure of sewing machine operators in the factory
3.12.1 Allowances
3.13 Skill matrix procedure
3.13.1 How to use excel template to retrieve skill history of the employee/ operations

4.1 Non-Productive time of machine operators in Novastar garment factory
4.2 The focus of management for sewing operators in the company
4.3 Work satisfaction of sewing machine operators in the factory
4.4 Machine skill level of sewing operators in the factory
4.5 Garment operation skill level of sewing machine operators in the factory
4.6 Work place allocation and daily target of sewing machine operators in the factory
4.7 Machine operator’s performance level in the case company
4.8 Categorization result
4.9 Proposed skill matrix
4.10 Implementation outlines

5.1 Conclusions
5.2 Recommendations
5.3 Future Work



Appendix A) Sewing Machine Operator Skill Evaluation Procedure

Appendix B) Operators Questionnaire

Appendix C) Supervisor Questionnaire

Appendix D) Cycle time for each operation..

Appendix E) Non-Productive time record format.

Appendix F) Standard allowed minute of each operation

Appendix G) Grading of Sewing Machine Operators depend on efficiency

Appendix H) Skill Inventory Report

Appendix I) Proposed Skill Matrix

Appendix J) Implementation on progress result

Appendix K) Skill Inventory format from the date of evaluation


Ethiopian garment manufacturers need to improve their manufacturing performance to be competitive in local as well as in international markets. The garments need to be high-quality which have to meet international standard, low cost and on-time delivery simultaneously. Some of the Ethiopian garment manufacturer problems like lack of skill monitoring system for employee skill evaluation methods, high levels of competition, low level of production efficiency, produce low-quality products, does not meet daily target, inadequate training, dissatisfaction of sewing operators and absenteeism, are some of the existing problems. Therefore, for such problems focusing on performance of sewing labor is essential. The focus is on raising the production efficiency and multi-skill development as well as single skill development in the sewing production line through a skill matrix system. The workers skill is analyzed on different jobs and based upon his/her performance on a job, a grade is given. This grade defines the level of performance an operator can achieve on that specific job. This study aims to find out the skill gaps of each individual sewing operators and categorization of the workers based on their skill levels and builds up the labor performance monitoring system. The data collection method for this study was both primary and secondary data sources and for the selection of sample size random sampling technique was used. The categorization was based upon the well-established attributes from literature and relevant websites and done in two ways: i) skills on the operation (types and number of operations) and ii) skills on the machine (types and number of machines). The study initiated the company management to know the performance of their employees and their skill gap. Therefore, employees having better abilities may be rewarded and the wrong selection and placement may be reduced or avoided. Moreover, the operator’s skill gap will be used for future capacity building of the company.

Keywords: Skill gap; skill matrix; skill development; Sewing machine operators; performance monitoring system


I would like to thank my respected advisor Dr. Shalemu Sharew for his guidance and the evaluation of outcomes of my thesis entitled “Developing and Implementation of Sewing Operator Performance Evaluation System for Ethiopian Garment Industry: A Case of Novastar Garment Factory ”.

Besides, I would like to thank the case company Novastar Garment Factory managers and employees for their valuable contribution and guidance when I conducted the research.

I am also immensely grateful to Ethiopian Institute of Textile and Fashion Technology for granting me the scholarship and support in this research that enabling me to pursue my study.

Finally, I would like to express my deepest thanks and appreciation to my teachers and friends who assisted and encouraged me during my master’s study.

Ahmed Muhye

July 2020


Table 2. 1 Workers’ skill levels category with their attributes

Table 2. 2 Grading of sewing machine operator based on machine type and operation

Table 2. 3 Evaluation of machine operators – worker grade

Table 2. 4 Grading of shirt manufacturing processes

Table 2. 5 Grading according to sewing operator performance

Table 2. 6 Different types of Performance rating method

Table 3. 1 Time study sheet sample

Table 3. 2 Non-Productive time record format

Table 3. 3 Skill categorizations on the excel sheet

Table 3. 4 Skill matrix development procedure

Table 3. 5 Standard Allowances added to the basic time of the operations

Table 3. 6 The first operation (Pocket pins preparation) have 10 cycles of observation

Table 3. 7 Data entry sheets

Table 3. 8 Detailed analysis of operator performance

Table 4. 1 Detail off-standard time record of machine operator

Table 4. 2 supervisor response for questionnaire number (1,2,3,4,5 &7)

Table 4. 3 Respondent response about work satisfaction

Table 4. 4 Observed time of Police Shirt for individual sewing operators

Table 4. 5 Detail information to construct time study for police shirt

Table 4. 6 Excel formula of the time study sheet

Table 4. 7 Skill categorization of sewing machine operators

Table 4. 8 Proposed Skill Monitoring System


Figure 3. 1 Novastar garment sewing Line

Figure 3. 2 Some of the products of the company

Figure 3. 3 Research process

Figure 3. 4 Data collection method

Figure 3. 5 Data entry and refresh file

Figure 3. 6 Operator wise skill history

Figure 3. 7 Operation wise skill history

Figure 4. 1 Cause of re-work

Figure 4. 2 Cause of Production Capacity reduction

Figure 4. 3 Skill monitoring system

Figure 4. 4 Occurrence of the skill development program in the company

Figure 4. 5 Sewing operators skill level on basic sewing machinery

Figure 4. 6 Current sewing ability of operators on different garment operation

Figure 4. 7 Employees' Response about work allocation and target

Figure 4. 8 Response of sewing machine operators about their daily target

Figure 4. 9 The reason for respondent which doesn’t meet their daily target

Figure 4. 10 Implementation and grading Process

Figure 5. 1 Existing status of sewing machine operators


SNLS Single Needle Lock Stitch Machine

BA Button Attach Machine

BH Button Holing Machine

BT Bar Tacking Machine

FL/IL Flat lock/Inter lock Stitch Machine

DNCS Double Needle Chain Stitch Machine

MN Multi needle sewing machine

3TH Three Thread Over Lock Machine

5TH Five Thread Over Lock Machine

CT Cycle Time

ST Standard Time

OT Observed Time

SMV Standard Minute Value

HR Human Resources

AB Absent

IE Industrial Engineering

PLC Private Limited Company

SPSS Statistical Package for Social Science

IBM International Business Management

RFID Radio Frequency Identification

T&C Textile and Clothing



1.1 Background

The Textile & Clothing (T&C) industry is the starter industry for export-orientated industrialization and economically developed countries. Now with the advantages of globalization, this industry shifted to developing countries, like Ethiopia, 85 percent of the population still depend on farming for their livelihoods (Gereffi, 2002). The country’s government is increasingly turning to the textile and clothing industry in a bid to reduce the dependence on agriculture. It wants to create 300,000 new jobs in the sector by 2025 (Monga, 2019). Zero-duty imports and the financing of industrial parks in different regions are intended to serve as incentives for foreign investors. Industrial parks like Bole Lemi and Hawassa are part of the government’s plan to create jobs. The country's economy has grown quickly over the last few years, from an agricultural economy to an industrializing one. Ethiopia has now one of the highest economic growth rates in Sub-Saharan Africa (Berg et al., 2011). The growth of the sector has been hindered to date by a lack of technology, infrastructure, and an insufficiently qualified workforce. There is a shortage of skilled workers and managers and there is no supply industry either employee turnover among already established companies is high. These factors are acting as a brake in terms of achieving the desired success.

There are more than a hundred garment factories already operating in the country, but productivity and wages are low moreover, working conditions need to improve. A huge number of skilled and unskilled workers contribute to garment industries performing various operations in this labor-intensive industry (Kim et al., 2006), (McNamara, 2008), (Khondoker and Kalirajan, 2012). For any labor-intensive manufacturing process improvements of labor performance for labor productivity along with the process and product quality are important for achieving the target goal (Banker, 2002). In garment manufacturing manpower is hired as direct labor, management, and support staff. The direct labors are engaged on the products being produced, such as cutting, sewing, and finishing operators and convert materials into finished products by adding value to products (Srivastava, 2014). In recent years garment manufacturer has been experiencing significant changes. There is a steady shift from the hierarchy-based organization to a team-based organization. The multitier organizational flutter ones are replacing the structure. All these changes would be effective only when employees understand the values of their organization places in them. This requires clarity on the part of the employee about the contribution expected from. Identifying the contribution to be made by the employee requires a detailed understanding of the knowledge and the skill necessary to contribute. A skill evaluation system (skill matrix) gives an outline of various skills necessary and the level of skills possessed by each employee. This is the first step in the skill assessment process, which aids in developing world-class employees for a world-class organization. Measuring individual competencies is an important process in the development and retention of employees. This assures employees about the value placed on them. A skill matrix is a simple tool that allows assessment of skill required ranging from the entire organization to every individual.

This research is focused on the skill level of the sewing operator to establish an easy way to assess the individual workers based on the operation and machine type. It also reveals a useful skill evaluation system that will help the management to take initiative for the daily manpower management, worker improvement program, and adaption of modern technology. Evaluation system can practice of understanding developing and deploying people and their skills. Well-implemented skills management should identify the skills that Job roles require the skill of individual employees and any gap between the two.

Skill is the practiced application of a topic, technique, or concept. The skills involved can be defined by the organization concerned, or by third-party institutions. To be most useful, skills management needs to be conducted as an ongoing process, with individuals assessing and updating their recorded skill sets regularly. These updates should occur at least as frequently as employees' regular line manager reviews, and certainly when their skill sets have changed. They are usually defined in terms of a skills framework, also known as a skills matrix or skill competency map. This consists of a list of skills, and a grading system, with a definition of what it means to be at a particular level for a given skill (Bobrowski, 1993), argued that skill could not be explained in words, it could only be demonstrated. To perform the function of management and to assume multiple roles, managers must be skilled. Three managerial skills that are essential to successful management: Technical, Human, and conceptual. Technical skills involve a process or technique knowledge and proficiency. The manager uses the process, technique, and tools of a specific area. Human skills involve the ability to interact effectively with people. Managers interact and cooperate with employees. The conceptual skill involves the formulation of ideas. Managers understand abstract relationships, develop ideas, and solve problems creatively. Thus, Technical skill deals with things, human skill concern people, and conceptual skill have to do with ideas. A manager’s level in the organization determines the relative importance of possessing technical, human, and conceptual skills. The top-level manager needs conceptual skills that are used in planning and dealing with ideas and abstractions. Supervisors need technical skills to manage their area of specialty. All levels of management need human skills to interact and communicate with other people successfully and employees should know to stitch of all styles in the company and they must develop the ability to run basic sewing machinery.

1.2 Background of Ethiopian garment enterprises

Ethiopia has a long history of traditional garment manufacturing, which is endowed with a profound national culture up to this date. Cottage industries have been the main style for traditional garments and have satisfied the demand of the domestic market for centuries.

The industrialization process of Ethiopia’s garment manufacturing started in the 1950s. In 1958, an Italian took the lead to establish the Addis Garment Factory, which was nationalized in 1975. The public Akaki Garment Company was founded in 1963, followed by the Gulele Garment Company in 1983 and the Nazareth Garment Company in 1992.

These four state-owned garment companies have dominated Ethiopia’s garment sector for a long time (Ronggeng et al., 2004).

The Ethiopian Government has defined the textile and garment sector as a top priority sector in the industrial development package of the country. This is because the textile and clothing market is always demanded next to food commodities. The sector also utilizes more labor which is available abundantly at low cost in the country. The garment sector has a large potential for creating employment opportunities. The sector has strong vertical linkages with the textile industry that has the potential to increase the development of agriculture. It has a vast potential to manufacture goods for export, thus earning highly demanded foreign exchange (Demissie, 2017). Ethiopia’s T & C sector suffers from a lack of sufficiently skilled technicians and specialists despite the presence of a large labor pool in the country. The lack of skills leads directly to lower productivity and quality, which inhibits the ability of the sector to add value, meet buyer requirements, and increase profitability. While the lack of qualified operators is the key problem for the textile segment clothing companies lack both operators and designers: the lack of operators reduces productivity and quality, and the lack of designers hinders the ability of clothing companies to move up the value chain and produce more value-added goods.

1.3 Problem Statement

Garment Manufacturing is the most labor-intensive industry in the world, however, the required skilled labor with the latest technology is contradicted for the success of this sector, because the sector is dependent on various driving forces. According to (Fantahun, 2007), one of the driving forces is skilled labor and performance development program that should come up with advanced technology.

Due to insufficient training in the Ethiopian clothing industry the skill of labor is poor but the industry requirement is skilled and semi-skilled manpower, as a result, the productivity of those industries is low (11 shirts per day), which is low compared to Kenya (13 shirts per day), and India (16 shirts per day) (Hailemariam, 2018).

According to the respondents (Appendix B) positive attitudes towards work is very high (19%). Satisfaction level if they improved their skill level is very high (27%) but the focus of senior management on the working environment of sewing workers is low (29%). The ability of sewing workers when switching from ordinary work is low (71%). The enthusiasm for the work when sewing workers are in training are very low (43%).

The other critical issue in the case company is 65% of sewing operators didn’t meet their daily targets (question number 9) according to 35% of the respondents the main reason for this is stitching quality-related issues. 90% of respondents said (question number 7) that the job allocation is not based on their skill level. According to the respondent, the reason for this is not well trained (24%) and the supervisor doesn’t care about their skill is (35%).

In the case company out of 123 sewing operators, who can do with three machines is 7%, whereas, 10% of them can do three operations (question number 5). However, operation skills per operator of the Novastar garment Industry are only 1 to 2 skills per operator whereas those of best practices in the garment industry are 5 to 6 skills per operator (Sudarshan, 2015), it shows that the case company falls very far behind from the best practice.

The main resource for the success of a company as well as for the operator is knowing and analyzing the available capacity of the workforce frequently, for such thing skill is necessary which everybody needs to be learned, knew and practiced with a structured approach. According to respondents, the company doesn’t have a skill monitoring system, and skill development session.

As a result, to develop and measure sewing operator’s skill level continuously developing of employee evaluation system have the greatest role to enhance the skill of sewing operator and efficiency of the company and it could be easy to see the available skill level for each individual and the system will be applicable when someone is absent and directly replacing. Because the skill matrix can clearly illustrate, the skills and competence held by the individuals in a team or line (Moin, 2017).

Therefore, this research mainly focuses on the performance evaluation system, for assessing the skill of sewing operators and making relevant implementation and recommendations for the hosted company.

1.4 Research purpose and objectives

1.4.1 Research purpose

-To understand, develop, and track people according to their skills.
-To identify the necessary skills that are needed for some important positions in a team.
-To identifies the training needs within their organization and to maintain a record
-To develop an employee evaluation system for sewing section operators

1.5 Research objectives

The main objective of this study is to determine the skill levels of the sewing operator to establish an easy way to assess the individual workers based on operation and machine type.

The specific objectives are:

- To find out the working conditions of sewing machine operators in the factory
- To analyze individual sewing operator performance trough time study
- To categorize sewing machine operators based on their skill level
- To propose a skill matrix to monitor sewing machine operators
- To implement the system for sewing machine operators.

1.6 Justifications

The skill monitoring system allows the garment industries to determine their strengths and weakness, as a result, improvement areas can be identified, and proper actions can be taken. The employee skill category should be mentioned according to their performance skill. The current skill monitoring system has to advance to more organized systematic, state of the art measurement systems which include quality measurement, employee performance measurement, and customer satisfaction evaluation.

In garment manufacturing, the skills and expertise of a sewing operator are being presented in the “Efficiency” term. An operator with higher efficiency produces more garments than an operator with lower efficiency in the same time frame. When operators work with higher efficiency, the manufacturing cost of the factory goes down. Secondly, factory capacity is estimated according to operator efficiency. Hence, efficiency is one of the most used performances measuring tools.

A skills evaluation system can provide a real-time overview of an organization’s skills base. A skills matrix allows identification of specific training needs, including which training needs are a priority. Without a skills matrix, it is very difficult for an organization to know which areas of training require improvement. By utilizing a skills matrix, training and development are made far easier and effective way. Additionally, with a Skills Matrix, the clear identification of training needs and skills gaps can significantly help with the recruitment process, whereby needs are better defined and more likely to result in the most appropriate candidate being selected. This study supplies new information on the importance of measuring operator skill matrix frequently, for the sewing section of the garment industry, the ultimate purpose of this paper is to evaluate operator capacity according to their skill, in machine wise as well as operational, and clearly recognize the skill gap and skill requirement, and also to increase the productivity of the company, efficiency of individual operator and to reduce biased during operator assignation (Skillsmatrix.Org, 2019). Therefore, this study will have great benefits for garment companies, who have a great interest on such tools, because Skills Matrix is used to find skill gaps and high-risk areas: - A high-risk area is one where there is only a single person who has an important skill for the team if there are important skills or experiences that only a few team members have, this may be a skill gap. If this team member leaves or cannot work for any reason, the factory going to have faced a challenge when they want to replace and assign the right operator for the right operation. Both issues can be fixed by cross-training their team to ensure that there are enough of the appropriate skills in the team. The significance of the skills matrix for a company enables managers/business owners to understand the potential skills, strengths, and weaknesses of the employees. With the help of skills matrix, searching, sorting, and assigning job responsibilities according to the skills of the individual becomes easy and it enables management to see areas of skill strength and weakness.

1.7 Benefit and Beneficiary

1.7.1 Improved staff and team performance

A skills matrix clearly and concisely illustrates a current individual or team status concerning safeguarding the right skills in the right place at the right time. It also highlights the 'gaps', i.e. the discrepancies between actual and required proficiency levels.

A major benefit is that the skill matrix maintains a focus on these gaps and reduce bias on operator assignation and performance evaluation. In other words, they're always on your radar. This alone generally prompts those in charge to fill the gaps. It's an uncomfortable feeling knowing that there are gaps and you're not doing anything about them. Operators can also get personally involved in developing and improving their skills. This is certainly the case where skills matrix is used for joint career development and appraisal purposes. This working method helps make the team and the organization far more resilient and professional. A team is made up of the right people with the right skills who perform their tasks to achieve exceptional results. Successful teams and organizations are constantly on the look‑out for talented new employees. This is another way in which you can continually make improvements as a team, company, or organization. And this doesn't require any drastic change management program. Just look where improvements need to be made in terms of proficiency level. Generally, there are a variety of benefits from implementing a skills matrix, according to (Skillsmatrix.Org, 2019). some of the benefits are: -

- It keeps a record of all operations an operator had done in the past and the efficiency level in each operation.
- Engineers/line supervisors need minimum time to find and select the most efficient operators for operation from the pull of operators.
- For line balancing, operators can be selected according to work content. For example, where an operation is required 50% less time than pitch time, engineers can select an operator whose efficiency level is 50% on that operation.
- When operation clubbing is required (for less work content works), the skill matrix gives information about what all operations to be given to an operator.
- When someone is absent, a supervisor can easily find a suitable person from the skill matrix table and replace it.
- Job roles and recruitment process become clearly defined
- Employees and workforce experience investment in their role and as such feel valued
- Improved skills and knowledge growth because of visible training needs
- Increased productivity as individuals has a clear understanding of their role and skills requirements.
- Succession planning and career development become more transparent
- Skills insights can be used to aid in the successful internal selection
- Customers receive an improved service or product o Helps to Identify and thus mitigate key person dependency

1.7.2 Benefits for organizations

Skills matrix provides real-time, visual insight into staff/team skills and skill gaps. This helps staff and teams perform better. Allow us to explain how working with the skills matrix benefits the entire organization.

Staff: Can see directly what skills they could or should acquire or develop to make further progress. They can use the skill matrix:

- To see the actual proficiency level.
- To see which skills, he/she could or should acquire or develop and which skills the team needs.
- To remain motivated and continually develop and acquire new skills.

Team Leader: Can see directly his/her team's status in terms of operational strength, skills, skill gaps, and training requirements. Leaders can use the skills matrix:

- To plan in such a way that safeguards operational strength.
- To see actual and required skills quickly and easily, and determine training and/or learning requirements, or recruitment needs.
- To increase staff flexibility by encouraging lateral development and job variation to prevent boredom.

Personnel Manager/Supervisor: Uses the skills matrix as an essential input for his/her work. Can use the skills matrix:

- To identify the right people with the right skills for recruitment and selection purposes.
- To conduct staff appraisal and career planning interviews.
- To determine training requirements and monitor the effect of training programs.



2.1 Skills Management

Skills management is the practice of understanding, developing, and deploying people and their skills. Well-implemented skills management should identify the skills that job roles require, the skills of individual employees, and any gap between the two. The skills involved can be defined by the organization concerned, or by third-party institutions. They are usually defined in terms of a skills framework, also known as a competency framework or skills matrix. This consists of a list of skills, and a grading system, with a definition of what it means to be at a level for a given skill (Beck, 2003). In some cases, organizations can also use mutual feedback and assessments to crowdsource the calculation of skills (Qiang, 2017).

Over time, many other companies have seen the value of tracking employee skills. Some initially tried to do this with ratings on paper documents, but this was largely unsuccessful since they ended up with many paper documents that cannot be queried. Others used spreadsheets that performed much better than paper reviews. Spreadsheets are still being used to track skills in our time. These spreadsheets are called skill matrices (Jochem, 2018).

In today’s competitive world; industries are continuously encountering challenges in the business market. In a regulated environment, organizations can work with inefficiency for some time but in a competitive environment, inefficient organizations encounter challenges and consequently leading to bankruptcy. Thus, to achieve sustainable business success in the competitive market, a company must continually monitor and improve its organizational performance (Kasul, 1995). Performance is the efficiency with which inputs are converted into outputs. It is the efficiency and effectiveness of action (Neely, 2005). Thus, to improve the performance of an operation, performance has to be measured, hence performance measurement is fundamental in organizational management. Performance in manufacturing constitutes several aspects including quality, effectiveness, efficiency, productivity, and safety, etc. In the garment industry, performance improvement may include the increase in product quality together increase in productivity along with the lowering of production costs and lead times, etc. A performance measurement system can be defined as the set of metrics used to quantify both the efficiency and effectiveness of actions. Performance measures quantitatively provide important data and information about the products, services, and processes that produce them.

To ensure that the skill sets are assessed, analyzed, developed in a structured manner, the skill matrix tool is useful. The process ensures that there is sustained learning and development of skill attributes that benefit the professional and the organization at large (Parchure, 2016).

The apparel industry is particularly dependent on the sewing machine operators who dominate the apparel production and their skills affect the productivity and quality of garments. A study shows that the tasks of making garments were also categorized in four ways, these are - Critical and noncritical operation, Skill level required to perform an operation, Machine used, such as Single Needle Lock Stitch, Over-edge, semi-automatic machine, Flat Lock machine, etc. and area of operation in the garment (Srivastava, 2014). Some researchers also categorized the workers in different ways considering their various capabilities and skill level. Table 2.1 shows some categorization with their attributes.

Works of literature also show the importance of categorization of worker skill level and development of skill set or skill matrix to attain the emerging advantages of modern technologies and to cope with the volatile market demand, as well as the proper debate over necessary skill acquisition and incentives should be focused on the labor-intensive industry. This categorization helps the management to implement the systematic wages, incentives, and trainings to find their skills unneeded, unrewarded, and development. Modern manufacturing systems also include complex technical equipment as well as skilled human operators. Such as in flexible manufacturing, labor flexibility is the ability of workers to transfer from one work center to another. Due to differences in worker skills, a rule-based model was developed for their assignment at every work center (Bobrowski, 1993). In this connection, multi-skilled laborers become one of the most important resources for modern manufacturing systems.

2.2 Workers skill level and attributes-

Table 2. 1 Workers’ skill levels category with their attributes

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

The skill level is also related to tasks or job difficulties. These difficulties also may categorize depending on the issues such as the amount of body used, Foot pedals, Eye-hand coordination, Handling requirements, and Weight (Cevikcan, 2012).

2.3 Grade system for sewing machine operators

Sewing operators grading is very effective to accomplish maximum productivity from a sewing line. It also helps as a worker motivator. Typically, it’s understood that when a sewing operator is upgraded into the front step then he/she become motivated and give more effort for the next step. Gradually, all the largest apparel manufacturer groups have started a tradition of fixing the salary of sewing operators according to their grading (Islam, 2016).

2.4 Sewing machine operator skill level grading

Lots of factors must be considered when doing operator grading. First, the grade maker must know what type of operation the worker does, then the worker’s production efficiency, and many other factors. According to (Washim, 2020), criteria on how to grade sewing machine operators are listed in table 2.2.

Table 2. 2 Grading of sewing machine operator based on machine type and operation

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

- For each A grade operation giving 10 marks for 100% efficiency level up to a maximum of 8 operations, marks will be multiplying by the efficiency Percentage. (Example: 10X 0.7, if the efficiency level 70%).
- For each B grade operation giving 7 marks for 100% efficiency level up to a maximum of 8 operations, marks will be multiplying by the efficiency Percentage. (Example: 7X 0.7, if the efficiency level 70 %).
- For each C grade operation giving 5 marks for 100% efficiency level up to a maximum of 8 operations, marks will be multiplying by the efficiency Percentage. (Example: 5 X 0.7, if the efficiency level 70 %).

General Grading of Sewing Machine Operator

I. 10 marks will be given if the absenteeism less than 3% (it depends on factory absenteeism status, sometimes the mark will be 3-5 if absenteeism is one percent)
II. 5 Marks will be given for over one-year service in the factory
III. 1 to 10 Marks will be given for types in satisfaction level of production management.

2.5 Grading based on efficiency of sewing machine operator

Table 2. 3 Evaluation of machine operators – worker grade

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

(Anonymous, 2017)

2.6 Grading system of sewing machine operators in the garment Industry

Generally, sewing machine operator’s salaries must be paid according to the category of the operator. There are different types of categories such as skilled, semi-skilled, unskilled, and A, B, C which is done according to their skill. Without these, apparel manufacturing companies followed some systems or methods in doing sewing operators grading (Sarkar, 2011), (Islam, 2016) and (Garmentszatra, 2020).

1. Grading according to types of operation,
2. Grading according to the sewing operator’s capability in various operations.

2.6.1 Grading according to types of operation

A B and C grade sewing operator is selected in this grading systems, where A, B, and C grade sewing operator is perfect for completing A, B, and C grade operations respectively.

This type of grading is done according to the below points. Such as-

- Critical and non-critical operations,
- Skill level required to perform an operation,
- Machine using capacities such as flatlock machine and single needle lock stitch,
- Operations in the various parts of garments.

Example) Shirt manufacturing processes have shown in table 2.4 according to A, B, and C grade operations (Sarkar, 2011), (Islam, 2016) and (Garmentszatra, 2020).

Table 2. 4 Grading of shirt manufacturing processes

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

2.6.2 Grading according to sewing operator’s capability in various operations

Here, operators are categorized according to the number of operations performed by an operator from the A, B, and C grade operations. It also shows the efficiency level of an operator. The grading table has presented in table 2.5.

Table 2.5 Grading according to sewing operator performance

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

2.7 Rating the performance of worker

Table 2.6 Different types of Performance rating method

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

2.8 The Rating Concept

Operators do not all work at the same speed, neither do they work from morning to night, day in and day out with the same intensity. Rating (or performance rating) is the mental comparison by the work-study engineer of an operator under observation with his/her own idea of “normal performance” for a given method (Babu, 2012).


Excerpt out of 129 pages


Developing and Implementation of a Sewing Operator Performance Evaluation System for the Ethiopian Garment Industry. A Case of Novastar Garment Factory
Wollo University  (Kombolcha Institute of Technology(KIOT))
Sewing Machine Operator Skill Monitoring
Very Good
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
developing, implementation, sewing, operator, performance, evaluation, system, ethiopian, garment, industry, case, novastar, factory, Sewing Machine Operators, Skill Matrix, Skill Category
Quote paper
Ahmed Muhye (Author), 2021, Developing and Implementation of a Sewing Operator Performance Evaluation System for the Ethiopian Garment Industry. A Case of Novastar Garment Factory, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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