A “Time and Action" calendar is one of the most important tools for
managing a project. It defines the ideal date/time period within
which the major activities of an order should occur against a scheduled
We all know how useful To-Do Lists are when we are working on a
particular project. In regard to producing clothing, footwear, or
fashion accessories, we will typically use what is called a Time &
Action Calendar to monitor the projects progress. The calendar
is also sometimes referenced as a TNA or T&A calendar. This is
essentially a detailed to-do list that covers all the various
steps of the production process. The goal is to create a fairly
accurate method to evaluate and maintain the status of a project and the
length of time it would realistically take to complete the project.
When creating an
apparel manufacturing time & action calendar, it should include the
date the order is received all the way to the time that the product will
be delivered at its final destination. This would include
manufacturing schedules, transit dates for freight, approval times, etc.
From the time the order is received to order completion a large number
of tasks of various duration and requirement of resources are involved.
The process is complicated because the tasks do not always follow one
directly after the other in an orderly manner. Some process can’t
begin until another process completes. Other processes are
completely fine running at the same time as others. There are many
moving parts during the order production process that must be
considered. A very detailed plan with well-defined
responsibilities is must for each order to be successful and meet its
delivery schedule. The business of clothes manufacturing is not
often a business that is a “One Man Show". It is team work both
internally within one’s own company and team work between various
suppliers. It is critical that all members of the supply chain are
informed of the programs status. Moreover, all tasks have to be
accomplished with in a given time frame to ship out the garments on
Production managers prepare a plan in a spreadsheet (typically an excel
file) listing down key processes in one column and planned date of
action for each processes is noted in another column. The file should
include ever step in the process and the production manager should
receive advice from various suppliers to properly complete the document.
For example, the label manufacturer will need to advice the number of
days it will take them to produce the labels and the number of days
transit to reach the cut & sew facility. The hanger, zipper, and
button manufacturer would need to do the same. The production manager
collects all the data and inputs the dates onto the calendar. In
addition to the components, they also determine the amount of time
needed for sewing, swatch approvals, factory inspections, transit times,
Once TNA calendar is created, it should be shared with other people and
companies that are involved with the project. It is important that
each supplier in the chain meets his or her deadlines or it will have a
negative effect on other aspects of the project. For example, the
fabric mill cannot begin production of fabric until approval swatches
are sent to the buyers, reviewed, and approved. What happens if
the mill schedules 3 days for approvals, but the buyer declines
the swatch? The mill will need to make new swatches and re-send
for approval. This will take far more than three days. If
the production of fabric starts later than originally planned, that
means that the cutting & sewing of fabric will begin later than
originally anticipated. This will push the entire project back and
potentially result in a late delivery to the buyer. It is
important to plan in extra days for the unexpected.
In addition to creating a T&A Calendar, it is important to “maintain"
the file. If one date pushes back, it should be added to the
calendar so that the entire list gets updated to new dates.
For example, fabric was originally scheduled to arrive to the cutting
facility on March 30. The fabric cutting was supposed to be
complete by April 15th. It was then learned that the
fabric mill is expecting a two week delay because yarn arrived to them
late. It is important to update the calendar because it is now
known that it won’t be possible for the cutting factory to finish their
portion of the project by April 15. The more frequently we check
the calendar for potential problems, the easier it is to correct
deviations from the schedule.
The TNA schedule processes are executed on daily basis so that all
companies envoloved know whether an order is on track or becoming
Example of small portion of T&A:
Bulk fabric sent
Bulk fabric approval date
Care label layout for approval
Care label approval after test
Fabric for testing
Fabric approval for care instruction
Samples for testing
Samples approval for bulk production after test
In the apparel manufacturing industry the TNA is a perfect technique for
tracking and following up of important milestones during the
pre-production processes and production process to ensure timely
delivery within an assigned delivery date requirement.
The chart consists of time frames listed for every action planned (major
ones) and these actions need to be achieved on time according to the
chart. The purpose of TNA is to cross check at frequent intervals,
whether the planning is being executed properly and on time. TNA is
especially useful when a buyer requests to know the current status of
execution of an order.
Buyer will not accept any delay in the garments delivery and if the
garments cannot be shipped out on time then there will be good
possibility that buyer may cancel the order or may ask for air shipment
or Buyer may ask for discount. To avoid all such adverse situation
merchandiser need to do proper planning to execute any order.
TNA is most important activity for timely shipment.
Learn more about this subject:
By the way,
are something completely different.
You may want to also learn about
PLM Software and