How to pick the size breakdown when making small batch jeans production:
When making custom jeans, after customers approve their sample and we are ready for production, the time comes to ask for the size breakdown they want to manufacture. This is a sticky question because people often aren’t sure what sizes sell the most for the particular style they are making. This is especially true when making pants because the question of inseam comes into play.
Sometimes customers submit a size break with 4 inseams. Although this is possible with larger bulk quantities, it’s not as easy when you scale the production down to 120 piece batches. With the smaller bulk orders, many customers do not get the size breakdowns they ordered. Here is an explanation of what happens with large bulk orders and then with small bulk orders and why the size ratios are not very precise when bulk orders are scaled down to small batches.
Making a size ratio:
When choosing a size breakdown for bulk jeans production, people usually follow a preset size ratio. The ratio is often for 12 pieces and then it is multiplied by the number of pieces to be produced. Think of it as a prepack, a box where there are 12 pairs of jeans in a certain size range. For example:
The ratio is used to calculate how many pieces should be made in each size.
So for example if someone wanted to make 1200 jeans using that ratio it would look like this:
Now let’s add inseams to the mix. If we keep the same target total and rework the sizes to include inseams, it would look something like this:
When the production floor gets this order, they will probably add 15% to compensate for damages and cut the total quantity.
The size breakdown would look something like this:
Ratios work great to figure out size breakdowns for any type of garments production with or without inseams. Once the spreadsheet is built, it’s easy to change any number around, all very simple math.
Small batch production:
Now let’s take a look at what happens with a small bulk order of 120 women’s jeans with 3 inseams:
Because there are quantities per size and inseam that are rounded down (since the result is 1.25 for example, we can’t really make .25 of a garment so we have to round down to 1), any quantity below 6 doesn’t have the safety margin to cover for damages.
In jeans production, there are many areas of the process that can damage the garment. The factory must add some to achieve the total ordered. With bulk orders of 5000 or more piece it’s unlikely any factory would add more than 10% to the total. As the orders get smaller, the adjustment amount needs to go up. A bulk order of 1000 to 5000 pieces would most likely have an added 15%.
What we are discovering is when the minimum bulk order is 120 pieces, there is simply not enough quantity to cover damages in some sizes. This means that a customer may have ordered 3 pieces of size 25 inseam 30, however, they may end up with only 1 or even none if there is high damage count in that size.
The final production totals may look something like this:
In order to complete the orders and fill the sizes are required, we have decided to set the damage % at 25 and ask customers to accept up to 20% extra when making quantities of 240 or less per style. Basically when we receive a jeans bulk order for men’s or women’s jeans, we increase the quantity to be produced by 25% and the production request for 120 piece order would look like this:
With these numbers for production we end up with a final delivery that looks more like:
In most cases, when making custom men’s or women’s jeans in small bulk quantities, it’s to be expected the size breakdown will not come out exactly as expected. If a size has only 2 pieces ordered and they both come out damaged, that’s 100% of that size missing. Certain orders may be refused by the production manager if there are many sizes with ordered quantities of less than 6 pieces.
We recommend keeping size breaks as simple as possible not only because of the above but also because of inventory management. When someone only orders 1 of a size, as soon as it’s sold, there is no more, that’s very close to having none to begin with.
The best way to properly order sizes is to base the ratio on previous sales history. If no sales history is available, the 4 to 6 middle sizes should get the bulk of the quantities. When the bulk quantities are under 240 pieces, try to simplify by keeping it to 1 or 2 inseam and consider skipping a size, meaning instead of making 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32 on a women’s jeans scale, try to only make 24, 26, 28, 30 and 32 or 25, 27, 29, 31. A simplified order with inseams would look like this: