STRATEGIES FOR IMPROVING THE PRODUCTION OF READY-TO-WEAR GARMENTS IN CLOTHING INDUSTRIES
The major purpose of this study was to identify strategies for improving the production of ready-to-wear garments in clothing industries in Southeast Nigeria. The study answered four research questions while four null hypotheses were tested. The study adopted descriptive survey research design and was carried out in Southeast, Nigeria. The population for the study was made up of 365 workers of the 19 technologically related clothing industries in Abia and Anambra States. Due to the manageable size of the population, there was no sampling. For data collection, two sets of instruments were used namely: Focus Group Discussion (FGD) Guide and 179-item structured questionnaire titled: “Strategi es for Improving the Production of Ready-to-Wear Garments Questionnaire (SIMRWGQ)”. Th e instruments were subjected to face validation by five experts. To determine the reliability of the instrument, Cronbach Alpha reliability co-efficient was used to test the internal consistency of the instrument. Reliability coefficients of 0.78 was obtained for technology-related strategies, 0.82 for skill-related strategies, 0.73 for operational-related strategies and 0.77 for environmental-related strategies while an overall reliability coefficient of 0.79 was obtained for the entire instrument. Data for the study were collected by the researcher with the help of five research assistants. The focus group discussion (FGD) was carried out with 20 discussants. The data collected from the questionnaire administered were analyzed using mean for answering the research questions while t-test statistics was used for testing the hypotheses at p≤0.05 level of significance. The findings of the study identified 75 technology-related, 31 skill-related, 47 operational-related and 26 environmental-related strategies for improving the production of ready-to-wear garments in clothing industries in Southeast Nigeria and the findings on the null hypotheses tested revealed that there were no significant differences in the mean ratings of the responses of supervisors and operators on 152 out of the 179 identified strategies for improving the production of ready-to-wear garment in clothing industries in South East Nigeria while on the remaining 27 strategies, there were significant differences in the mean ratings of the responses of supervisors and operators. The study therefore concluded that the application and adoption of the identified strategies in the production of ready-to-wear garments will improve the quality and competitive advantage of Nigeria made garments. The study among others recommended that the identified technology, skill, operational and environmental strategies for improving the production of ready-to-wear garment be integrated in the curriculum of Home Economics (Clothing and Textile) at all levels in Nigerian education system.
Background of the Study
Clothing refers to any covering worn on the human body. Clothing is one of the basic necessities of any human being which is used for protection, decoration, beautification, adornment, self expression, status symbol and to express one’s personality (Weber, 1990). Clothing helps one to meet one of the basic human needs which provide satisfaction and enjoyment in life. Clothing can be made at home or produced by roadside tailors or in the industry. Devaraja (2011) stated that industry is an organized production or manufacture of goods or a branch of commercial enterprise producing a particular product. Industry is also the term for the manufacture of goods using machinery in factories. Clothing is produced in clothing industry.
Clothing industry is a factory where materials of clothing are made for consumption. The production of clothing continues to be one of the driving forces of industrialization in the developing world. Clothing industry is thus one of the industries that employed the greatest percentage of workers both globally and locally (United States Bureau of Labour and Statistics, 2009). Clothing industries contribute to employment in developed as well as in developing countries particularly in regions where paid employment may be difficult to find like Nigeria. The Nigeria clothing industry can generate more than 600,000 employments if properly harnessed with appropriate techniques and innovations (Olunegbon, 2009). These clothing industries are involved in the production of garments.
Garments are physical matter intended for a body (Bjork, 2011). Garments can be defined by its role in revealing or resisting ethnic, professional, class-based, or political identities, or in screening off or establishing a sense of individuality (Bergstrom, 2011). Garments are article of clothing use in covery the body. It can be used as an outer covery or outward appearance like dresses, suits, pants and so on. Garments can be produced at home or in the industry as ready-to-wear.
Ready-to-wear are garments that are mass produced opposite of custom made. However, custom made garments are item of clothing made according to individual purchaser specification. Ready-to-wear garments often abbreviated RTW, is the term for factory-made clothing, sold in finished condition. They are in standardized sizes as distinct from made to measure or bespoke. Made to measure or bespoke garments are tailored to a particular person’s frame (Nathania, 2011)