Practical ideas for owners and managers of small and medium-sized enterprises

Improving working conditions and productivity in the garment industry: An action manual

Aiming to help with the productivity and efficiency of garment-producing enterprises, this manual suggests practical ideas for the design, materials, safety, welfare and maintenance of the business. It also presents procedures and examples for identifying and assessing productivity.

Instructional material | 01 January 1998
If you own or manage a small or medium-sized enterprise producing garments, you are responsible for an important contribution to the national economy. People depend on you for jobs and for your products. The bulk of social and economic growth in most countries is expected to come from small or medium-sized enterprises.

In spite of their importance, many small or medium-sized clothing firms fail to grow or even to survive. It is not easy to succeed in the garment industry. Problems of finance, production and marketing lead many to bankruptcy every year.

This is a book about survival and growth through building a more effective enterprise. The ideas you will find in this book are practical and low cost: some of them may already be in use in your own enterprise or nearby. These practical ideas are the result of several years of ILO action, in cooperation with owners and managers just like you. In each case, the starting point was a concern for the enterprise's survival and growth.

Part 1 includes many low-cost improvements in:
• Efficient materials storage and handling
• Practical workstation and product design
• Productive machine safety, maintenance and environmental control
• Good lighting for quality products
• Useful premises serving production
• Effective work organization and work processes
• Low-cost work-related welfare facilities and benefits.

Part 1 also offers practical procedures to help you take action, involve your workers in the process of change and assess the impact of the changes. Part 2 provides tools for action, such as procedures and examples for assessing productivity; checklists for identifying possible improvements in working conditions; and forms and worksheets for keeping records of changes.

This book may be used by entrepreneurs participating in courses organized by employers' organizations, productivity centres, training institutions, labour ministries or other agencies, as well as by individual readers.