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How to Calculate SAM in Garment Industry

Standard Allowed Minute (SAM): 
Standard allowed minute (SAM) means how much time is required to make one complete garment including allowances. SAM is used to measure the task or work content of a garment. This term is widely used by industrial engineers and production people in the garment manufacturing industry

For the estimation of cost of making a garment, SAM value plays a very important role. In the garment industry, the industrial engineering department determines and calculates SAM for assembling processes of garments using a standard calculation method. 

SAM in garments
Fig: SAM in garments industry

The applications of SAM are: 

  • Firm as well as individual operator’s performance
  • Operator and associated cost ratios
  • Operators’ payroll and incentive amount
  • SAM is one of the key parameters in state-of-the-art production scheduling methods like in line balancing and performance measuring systems

Calculation of SAM of a garment: 
For the valuation of garment cost, determination of SAM value plays a critical role. General sewing data (GSD) has a definite set of codes for motion data for determination of SAM. According to research, standard minute value has been defined for each movement needed to accomplish a job. Synthetic data are available for each movement, while performing specific steps in a garment manufacturing. There are two methods of calculating SAM. One is calculated by synthetic data and another is by time study. 

Calculation of SAM by synthetic data: 
In this system ‘predetermined time standard’ codes are utilized to establish ‘standard time’ of a specific style of garment. The step-by-step procedure for calculation of SAM by this method is given below. 

  • Selection of any one process or operation for which the SAM has to be determined.
  • Study of various motions of the specific process/operation performed by an operator and remarking all movements used by the operator in carrying out one complete cycle of work.
  • Enlist various motions performed by an operator sequentially. By referring to GSD and synthetic data for time measurement unit (TMU) values, TMU value (1 TMU = 0.0006 minute) for one operation could be obtained, which is then converted into minutes which is known as basic time.
  • SAM = Basic minute + Bundle allowances (10%) + Machine and personal allowances (10%).

Calculation of SAM by time study: 
The step-by-step procedure for calculation of SAM by this method is given below. 

  • Selection of one process or operation for which the SAM has to be estimated.
  • Note down the cycle time (total time necessary to carry out all tasks required to complete one operation) for the specific operation using a stop watch by standing at the side of the operator using the stop watch. It has to be done for five consecutive cycles of that operation and the average has to be determined. Basic time = cycle time × performance rating.
  • Establishing the performance rating of an operator after evaluating his or her movement and work speed. Suppose if the performance rating of an operator is 85% and the cycle time is 0.55 minutes, then basic time = (0.55 × 85%) = 0.46 minutes.
  • SAM = Basic minute + Bundle allowances (10%) + Machine and personal allowances (20%). Now, SAM = (0.46 + 0.046 + 0.092) = 0.598 minutes.

Functions of SAM value in production planning: 

  1. Determination of line capacity – The systematic method of estimating the production capacity of a line by utilising the SAM of a garment.
  2. Determination of lead time – Based on the production capacity of a garment unit, order allocation has to be done for different lines.
  3. Order booking – While booking the orders, available capacity in a particular period of time has to be taken into account. In these circumstances, determination of time required to complete the new order using SAM and comparing the same with production minutes available in the factory for the particular period will be helpful.
  4. Process scheduling – Time and action calendar of each and every order is carried out by the production planning department based on capacity of each process, which is known by calculating SAM.
  5. Order execution and production monitoring – SAM facilitates the production planning department to set targets for sewing lines.
  6. Estimation of labor – For the estimation of labour cost for a particular style, the SAM value will play a vital role.


  1. Apparel Manufacturing Technology by T. Karthik, P. Ganesan, and D. Gopalakrishnan
  2. Garment Manufacturing Technology by Rajkishore Nayak and Rajiv Padhye
  3. Industrial Engineering in Apparel Production by V. Ramesh Babu

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