Abroad Internship at LI&FUNG 2016 Emily Schlangen

Over the span of 1 month, I had the opportunity to intern with Li & Fung (L&F) in Quality Assurance in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China. Li & Fung is a service provider that assists companies with their business in ways that they do not have the knowledge and resources to do so. Kohl's is one of many companies who works with L&F as a liaison to their oversea vendors.

Over the course of my internship I took part in 4, 8hour QA trips. I assisted my QA Manager with inline and offline inspections. I would assist her in coordinating and collaborating with various teams to make sure that the clothing being produced was what Kohl’s, our client, and Li & Fung agreed on.

Our first step for offline inspection was to randomly select around 50 samples from those ready to inspect. If it was a final inspection, we chose various pre-purchase order boxes to open and inspect before they are shipped to stores.

From there, we compared the samples to the pre-approved sample that was agreed upon between the Technical Designers at Kohl’s and L&F Quality Inspectors.

We would do this by measuring sections of the garments such as arms-eye, neckline, waistline, sleeve length and bust. There were various guidelines that we would use to check whether the garment was approved to ship or not. Based upon the common errors, we were able to determine if their was inconsistency in garment production.

In addition to comparing measurements, we looked for many other errors that might have occurred. These errors may consist of, loose threads, uneven seams, stains, unwanted gathers or puckers. Color matching was also critical in making sure that the colors match the pre-approved sample and is consistent in all garments.

Inline inspection had more direct components in facilitating employers on how to improve the production process and to adjust their techniques. This is more extensive in that it requires precise and direct communication with managers on the line. As quality assures, we would walk around and closely observe the production line. We then gave direction on what needed to be corrected

At the end of the line, someone checks the garments for errors and places them into three different bins. These bins determine whether the garment is accepted or rejected for errors. In looking at the rejection bins and comparing them to accepted, we are able to visually see which step in the production process is needed more attention for consistency. Aside from us quality assurers inspecting periodically, garments are inspected continuously by various qualified workers from beginning to end.

There are challenges, however, that come to being in Quality Assurance that can make things difficult. In addition to making sure that the garments produced are meeting client’s standards, we have to keep in my deadlines for shipping to meet InDC dates (In Distribution Center). Some garments are harder to make than others depending on how many pieces to each garment there are, the type of fabric and the total quantity needed to be produced. There was one issue we came across where we needed to produce 1000 tops per day and only 400 were being produced. Due to the fact the fabric of the top was mostly silk rayon made it difficult to work quickly. This is because the fabric is hard to keep in place when sewing and cutting. You have to be very efficient and familiar with the fabric as a factory worker to meet the required standards. This is where everyone must work together to solve issues, such as this, to meet deadlines.

Over the course of the internship, I learned that quality assurance is a highly skilled career that requires garment knowledge and effective communication. You must understand what your client wants from the garments being produced and that factory employees are producing them efficiently and effectively to meet InDC dates. I gained a stronger understanding throughout my internship on what it means to be in Quality Assurance. As I continue to career in product development, I aspire to make production more efficient and sustainable while providing livable wages for the hard work that goes into each garment. I have appreciated products and every worker in the the production process: from concept to factory, factory to stores and stores to the consumer.

That's not all!

With work there also came fun:)

Lunch was served at various restaurants to tie us over on our long journeys to the factories. Sometimes, we even ate dinner.

Friendships were maintained outside of the internship for fun trips to places such as Xitang Village (Water Town).

We discovered how buttons were made out of shells!

Enjoyed all the yummy food such as a grilled egg battered sandwich stuffed with lettuce, cucumbers, sauces and more.

Even made friends with a llama.

On our way home, we ended up being stuck in a 3 hour traffic jam (not moving). Goes to show anything can happen, especially in China during a Holiday weekend!

Overall, I had a fabulous experience working with Li & Fung and all the adventures that came with it.

Want to learn more?

Thank you!

Created By
Emily Schlangen

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