This report is about my internship in a clothing and apparel fashion company, South Coast Fashion Limited located in Toronto, Canada. The fashion company is one of the largest manufacturers of clothes and apparel and has been in existence for almost three decades having been established in 1989. Its employee base ranges between 300 and 500 employees who have been employed directly though it employs many more people indirectly through distribution and retail. It distributes its products to wholesalers and retailers with a vast distribution network present in three continents. South Coast Limited also runs a number of retail stores where it sells the garments it produces directly to its customers.
The company manufactures men, women and children garments as well as other embellishments using pure cotton produced locally and some imported from other countries. It also makes use of fabrics that are cotton-blended, interlocks, fleece, fabrics made of cotton-spandex and ribs. South Coast has a capacity of producing more than eighty thousand pieces of garment in a week.
The internship took place between 22/11/2016 and 23/12/2016. Throughout the program, I got the privilege of interacting with all the departments and build constructive positive relationships with the staff from each one of them. The report covers and gives a clear impression and detail of how I spent the twenty-eight days of my internship program in South Coast Limited. The report divides the twenty-eight days into weeks making a total of six weeks that the internship program took.
Day 1: I was inaugurated into the company by the general manager of South Coast Limited. I was also informed of how my stay would be and what was expected of me as an intern. The signing of the internship contract was done during the first day. I was taken through the company's profile that included its mission and vision, its history, its management structure, and employee base.
Day 2: Introduced to the company staff and the supervisor that I was to work under. The supervisor familiarized me to the different machines and equipment that I would interact with during my internship program.
Day 3: Taken through the various departments of the company and their functional roles theoretically before physically visiting them. I was also shown around the office and provided with all the necessary requirements that I would need in the forthcoming days of my internship.
Day 4: Visited the merchandising department and learned about its functional roles. Learned how to plan, develop and present the product to the consumer(s). The merchandising department is responsible for the development and oversight of a product, in this case, the garments, from the start where we only have the fabrics to the end product that can be made use of by the customer. The merchandising department consists of product and market merchandising. In this particular day, I got introduced to product merchandising where I got to learn the best way to develop a presentation that is catchy enough on the eyes of potential customers.
Day 5: Taught how to market the products as well as product development and pricing. This was carried out under marketing merchandising. In market merchandising, the utility for the product was/ is created as this process is directly connected with the buyer(s). I was also introduced to sampling which consists of research and development procedures in the fashion garment industry. I got to learn different samples which included the photo sample, red-seal sample, salesmen sample, and size set sample.
Day 6: Still in the merchandising department. I gained insights on how to merchandise the product which included all processes from sourcing to delivery of the products/ garments.
Day 7: Visited the production, planning, and control department. I got to learn about the key responsibilities of the department and its coordination with the other departments. I was able to get to understand how to reduce queuing time, increase production capacity and minimize or get rid of the idle time to ensure that there is maximum utilization of the production capacity.
Day 8: Under the production, planning and control department, I was able to know how to conduct quality checks on the fabrics, minimize production time while maximizing efficiency and control of inventory. I found out that in order to effectively control the inventory, the incorporation of the just-in-time system was necessary to make sure that the products were always available in time whenever demand for them arose. To reduce the production time and increase production, I noticed that it was paramount for the production cycle time to be reduced significantly.
Day 9: I was taken by my supervisor to the industrial engineering department. Re-introduced to the various industrial machines and taught how to check on the efficiency, uptime, downtime, productivity, method analysis and layout making among other industrial machine operations.
Day 10: I was taught on how to balance the operations of the machines through work-in-progress control and operator versatility. This is, in fact, one of the most important initial production processes and hence should be carried out with utmost accuracy.
Day 11: I visited the fabric inspection department. Through the help of my supervisor, I was shown how to check for the fabric length, width, and quality. The fabric was categorized into standard, substandard and defective standard groups and separated by color where those that were red considered the rejects were separated from the green and yellow ones which consisted of the standard and substandard fabrics respectively.
Day 12: I learned how to produce the necessary fabric quality inspection reports and furnishing the concerned departments and merchandisers with copies.
Day 13: I was shown how to grade the fabrics depending on the different standards and color and also how to conduct shade segregation of the fabrics through help from some of the staff. Complete shade segregation is done by cutting 250 cm strips from the rolls with the preparation of shade band and color matching done after the segregation.
Day 14: I visited the cutting department where I learned manual cutting of the fabrics from the inspection department according to the master pattern and plans with 100% accuracy. Here, cutting was done manually with the use of knives and powered scissors. This process requires highly skilled personnel in order to obtain the accurate fabric cuts needed.
Day 15: I gained skills on how to manually cut the garments and fabrics without the use of machines and laser. I got to learn that manual cutting is a very sensitive process which if done incorrectly could lead to serious negative quality implications about a company's product.
Day 16: On this day I got introduced to the processes of marker marking and planning and lay planning. Marker making involves efficient pattern placements on fabrics before conducting lay planning on the marked fabric.
Day 17: I was taught how to spread, relax, sort and bundle the materials and fabrics in preparation for the sewing department. Spreading ensures minimal wastage of materials and fabrics as the fabric is laid accurately depending on the marker length. Spreading is composed of either manual spreading or automatic spreading. Manual spreading is done on fabrics that need some washing and/or those that are yarn died. Automatic spreading, on the other hand, is done on fabrics that are solid dyed only where fabrics are put into spreaders that are automatically operated after relaxation.
Day 18: I got an insight on how to check for the cut panels' quality to reduce any errors that might exist and replace the rejected fabrics to ease the stitching process.
Day 19: I learned how to generate the barcodes for the different work orders after which I did re-bundling according to the details of the orders.
Day 20: I visited the stitching department where I got a brief introduction to the different stitching machines. I also got to know how threading of the fabrics was done. It is in the stitching department where the actual assembly of the garments takes place. Stitching is one of the most important processes of garments production.
Day 21: I learned how over lock, flat lock and lock stitch was done on the garments awaiting final touches. The flat lock machine uses multi-needles for stitching while the overlock machine stitches two or more pieces of cloth over their edges. The lock stitch uses two thread spools and an eyed needle to bind pieces of fabric together.
Day 22: I got to understand the different procedures of performing quality control and assurance on the complete garments to ensure that the customer expectations are met. Quality control is of the essence as customers expect the best from the producer/ manufacturer in order for the loyalty and goodwill to be created and maintained. It involves checking for any defects such as sewing defects, size defects, and color defects present in the fabrics and employing the necessary quality assurance measures to ensure that desired standards are maintained.
Day 23: I learned the procedures used to button the finished garments from the stitching department and batch as per the sizes of the garments. This stage was critical as it consisted part of the critical finishing touches that enhances the image and appearance of the final product and its appeal to the potential customers.
Day 24: I offered a helping hand in the washing and trimming department after the buttoning and batching processes carried out the previous day.
Day 25: The garments were thread-sucked and rough-ironed as part of the finishing before packing. This served as a way of re-checking and getting the reassurance on the quality of the end products before the packaging and shipment to the final destination.
Day 26: Final ironing and cross checking the garment quality to ensure that the set standards are adhered to.
Day 27: Checking the presentation and after that folding as specified by the buyers.
Day 28: Packaging of the finished garments, conducting a final packaging audit and shipment to the intended customer/ buyer destination(s).
Throughout my internship program, I was able to monitor and take note of the various production systems. In the apparel industry, just like in the other manufacturing and production industries, machine uptime is paramount with any downtime or idle time negatively impacting a company's profits. The need for an efficient production system can, therefore, not be overemphasized in the fashion industry. An efficient system ensures quality, cost reduction and profit maximization for those companies that are mainly involved in the apparel industry where quality is a very vital factor.
During the twenty-eight days that my internship program spanned, I made a substantial impact by helping the company improve the speed with which production was done. I was also able to introduce the departmental task division mechanism that apart from maximizing on the quantity of garments produced and minimizing the time required for production, was paramount in the improvement of the quality of the end products as the staff was able to specialize in the tasks that they were able to perform best. As a result, my supervisor gave me a positive recommendation which was seconded by the general manager.
I was also able to gain a wide pool of skills that I believe will not only be useful now but also in future. The skills and knowledge that I gained, I believe, will be an added advantage as they have made the services that I can offer more marketable and my experience more profound and vast than it was before the program.
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