Cut Order Planning in Garment Manufacturing

What is Cut Order Planning?
Cutting plan is a very important factor in garment manufacturing industry because about 70% of the garment cost is represented by the cost of the fabric. Let’s consider how to make the most efficient cut order plan when a garment factory receives an order. The optimal cut order planning should minimize fabric wastage, minimize fabric cost, minimize time and labor and deliver high-quality products on time.

Cut order planning is the problem of planning the fabric cut for a set of garment orders. It is one of the vital operations that take place in the cutting section. This could also be called ‘lay plan’, ‘cut plan’, etc. It is optimizing principally the cutting operation under certain constraints by following certain parameters. In short, cut order planning is nothing but deciding the arrangement or combination of markers and spread lays for a particular garment style order. This is a benchmark process to be done in every garment industry which has a huge impact on overall savings for the order.

cut order planning
Fig: Fabric cutting

Cut order planning is the activity of planning the purchase order for the process of cutting, as input into the marker making stage. Therefore, the cutting section receives all the spreading and cutting instructions. This process is a dynamic job that must react to the ever-changing field of many decisive factors such as sales, inventory levels, raw materials, availability of equipment, etc. The various kinds of sizes, styles, fabrics and colors introduce significant complications into the problem.

The cutting section has a greater influence on higher manufacturing costs than any other section concerned with the manufacturing of garments. Several garment manufacturing industries are still using unsophisticated methods or processes, depending on the knowledge of one individual who has the required data and decision making tools only in his or her memory. Commercial software for cut order planning has been developed, but effectual application needs extensive customization and the necessary hardware for implementation.

The utilization of fabric in a cutting room is decided by three factors such as pattern engineering, marker making and the selection of markers for the specific production plan. A fundamental prerequisite to attain high fabric utilization is designing the garment patterns in a logical way that produces a proper garment construction in line with the current fashion trends and comfort requirements and also with fabric utilization and garment sewing aspects. The second factor that determines utilization of fabric is the manner in which the garment patterns are arranged on the marker. This is a critical stage where fabric wastage could be controlled. The important development in this area was utilization of computers in terms of CAD for pattern making and marker planning.

In a typical computer-aided marker making system, the information on pattern shapes obtained from a digitizer is stored in the computer memory and is showed on a CRT. A marker planner decides the movement of individual garment patterns by means of a stylus to get the most efficient marker. The software prevents overlapping of any garment patterns, protecting predetermined match of stripes, checks, etc., stores the information about the markers and relays this information to a computer-driven plotter or disk to a digitally controlled cutting device.

Fabric utilization also depends to a huge extent on the manner in which the stock of fabrics is scheduled for the products of different garment styles as well as sizes. Separate markers are produced for a particular garment style and sizes on a material of a given width. The selection of markers is now commonly done by either first match or enumeration method. In the first match system, the first combination of markers observed that comprise all required style/sizes in the cut order is the one used. This method is perceptibly inefficient. The enumeration method is done by manually listing several marker combinations in order of efficiency. This is time consuming and the solution is most likely not optimal.

Computerized marker planning is the connection between computerized pattern grading and computer controlled cutting systems. It passes the data or information from the pattern grading operation to the cutting machine through a computer controlled plotter. The plotter prints full scale master markers from the arrangement of patterns generated on the CRT and stored in memory. Various statistical parameters like the pattern piece area could be determined and printed in every graded pattern.

The integrated marker planning will lead to reduced costs in the pattern making section with reference to labor, supplies and occupancy. Productivity in cutting section increases compared to conventional marker planning system primarily due to the elimination of manually drawing around the patterns, which is replaced by the plotter. The higher productivity provided by the computer-aided planning could be utilized to allow additional effort to improve marker efficiency.

One of the important characteristics of the computer aided marker planning process is the higher material utilization and minimal fabric wastage. Fabric utilization is superior compared to the conventional manual method because less time is necessary to make the original marker and therefore more time can be spent for improving the marker efficiency.

Computerized pattern grading is the main source data of manufacturing control. These data are digitized and controlled by the grading rules to be used. This supplementary output could be used for further stages in garment production. Since computerized pattern grading systems carry out the translation from a sample size pattern into a full range of sizes, it mainly influences the pattern making and grading labor costs.

The computerized pattern grading process could improve the capacity to make several garment pattern sets in a given period of time, thereby reducing the cycle time. This is occasionally required due to style changes. The computerized pattern grading is helpful to those industries where frequent changes in garment style and short lead times are requisite. The current advancements in computerized marker planning and grading still need a person at some point to interact with the computer to execute certain functions, like selection and placement of pattern pieces which are needed to build the marker.

Cost Involved in Cut Order Planning:
The main costs involved in the cutting section are,

  • Raw material cost (fabric cost)
  • Marker making cost
  • Spreading cost
  • Cutting cost
  • Bundling and ticketing cost
  • Fabric cost: The cost of raw material, that is, fabric is around 50%–70% of the total garment cost and total labour cost is only about 10%–15%, out of which cutting room labor cost would be a minimum.
  • Marker making cost: With the utilization of CAD in marker planning, the evaluation of marker making cost has become quicker as well as more efficient.
  • Spreading cost: The spreading cost depends on the following parameters:
    • Total fabric laid in a spread
    • Number of plies
    • Number of lays
    • Number of roll changes
  • Cutting cost: It is dependent on the number of garment panels to be cut.
  • Bundling cost: It depends on order quantity, size of bundles, number of parts, etc. Cut order plan does not have any major impact on bundling.

Cut order planning is a crucial process in garment manufacturing that involves determining how to efficiently cut fabric pieces from rolls of fabric to meet production requirements while minimizing wastage. It is an essential step in the overall production process of garments. Utilizing technology, such as computer-aided design (CAD) software and nesting programs, can greatly enhance the accuracy and efficiency of the planning process.


  1. Apparel Manufacturing Technology by T. Karthik, P. Ganesan, and D. Gopalakrishnan
  2. Practice of Garments Merchandising and Management by Engr. Md. Faruk Hosen
  3. Jacobs-Blecha, C., Ammons, J.C., Schutte, A. et al. Cut order planning for apparel manufacturing. IIE Transactions 30, 79–90 (1997).
  4. Roger Thomas, “Cut Order Planning, the Key to Cutting Room Productivity” 01-April-2010

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  1. Flow Chart of Garment Manufacturing Process
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