Time & Action Plan (TNA) for Merchandiser in the Apparel Industry

Time & Action Plan (TNA) for Merchandiser in the Apparel Industry: A Comprehensive Guide

Kazi Md. Rashedul Islam
B.Sc. in Textile Engineering (DUET)
Author & Founder: TextileTrainer.com
Email: Textiletrainer@gmail.com


Keyword: Time and action plan, Time and action process, TNA, merchandiser, time and action plan for merchandiser.

What is Time and Action Plan (TNA or T&A plan)?
A time and action plan is a detailed schedule or roadmap that outlines specific tasks, activities, and deadlines required to complete a buyer order within a specified time. The merchandiser’s time and action plan is a useful tool for keeping track of his daily tasks or the different tasks that need to be done to finish an order. This process involved various departments and different people in manufacturing. Hence, this Time and Action plan helps the merchandiser to analyze every individual operation with the aspect of,

  • When to start?
  • When to end?
  • Is the process according to the plan?
  • Is there any deviation with the activity?

Time & Action Plan

Why Time & Action Plan is important for Merchandisers?
It is important to make time and action plans for merchandisers. This process is important for several reasons. They are:

  1. Time and action plan helps a merchandiser to cross-check each activity related to a particular order at frequent intervals.
  2. Time and action plan is a graphical representation. Hence, it helps to understand a merchandiser the information out of it without any technical background.
  3. Time and action plan helps a merchandiser to prepare a daily “to-do-list” and take it one by one.
  4. TNA schedule processes can be executed on a timely basis to track whether an order is on track or it will get delayed.
  5. TNA plans help a merchandiser to identify of potential bottlenecks of the production.

Requirement for Time & Action Plan (TNA):
The merchandiser needs the following information to make a time and action plan:

  1. Extensive process flow of an order from sampling to dispatch, with tasks to be performed on each activity.
  2. The detailed production capacity of the various departments within their unit. In some cases, the merchandiser also needs to know their vendor’s production capacity.
  3. Tentative lead time details of various raw materials and buffer time required for each department.
  4. Style complications at each departmental level, both in technical aspects and also in terms of the throughput time of different departments.
  5. The duration of the particular customer’s transportation, shipment, and logistic facility, as well as the exact delivery date.
  6. Availability of the special machines or technology and their possible influences.
  7. Information about the local and national holidays observed by his or her company, as well as details about the holidays observed by customers or vendors, from whom they imported raw materials or to whom they needed to deliver products.
  8. Complications associated with trim and accessory sourcing and manufacturing.
  9. Government and political policies of concerned countries
  10. Response time of the customer or buyer at various stages.

Factors to be Considered While Making Time and Action Plan:
Below some factors are to be considered while making time and action plans.

  1. Cut-off dates for shipments.
  2. Response time from buyers at different stages.
  3. Political stability of the country.
  4. Fabric and trim manufacturing complications.
  5. Lead time estimated by buyer.
  6. Festivals of the raw material’s imported country.
  7. Holidays
  8. Style type of merchandise.
  9. Lead times of various activities like L/C payment, custom clearance, etc.
  10. Flexibility of freight forwarder.
  11. Buffer required from each department.
  12. Style complications.
  13. Logistics facilities.
  14. Shipment details.
  15. Festivals of manufacturing country.
  16. Production capacity of plant.

Method of Time and Action Plan Development:
The time and action plant can be developed using different methods based on the requirements. They are two popular method of time and action process development.

  1. Gantt charts.
  2. Network charts.

1. Gantt charts:
Gantt charts are a type of project planning tool that can be used to show when tasks need to be done in order to finish a job. The Ganta chart was developed by Henry Gantt as a way to visually see a project’s schedule. Since 1910, these bar chars have been an integral part of managing projects.

2. Network charts:
The network charts are generally used for project scheduling purposes, this scientific method also can be adapted for the apparel order planning process. There are two methods used in the network charts.

  • Critical path method (CPM)
  • Program evaluation and review technique (PERT)

Tentative Lead Time for Different Key Activities:

S/NProcess nameLead time details
Fabric approvalFor lab dip – 15 days for a single time (based on the quality expectations and facility available merchandiser can plant 10-30 days)
Prints, trims, and accessories15-25 days for the approval is a must. If complicated styles/ special materials are used lead time can be extended up to 30 days.
FPTMost of the time performed by a third party.( buyer recommended internationally accredited testing organizations)

5 days to 1 week time you can be provided as lead time.

Fabric and trim sourcingVery time-consuming process which includes desk loom and lab dip approvals, trim and artwork approval, and FPT approval.

For sourcing solid dyed-30 days.

Yarn dyed-45 days.

Fabric dyed-55-60 days.

Can be given as a lead time in the TNA plan.

For sourcing of trims based on availability and place of souring 30-45 days can be given.

Production departmentSourcing department delays will be considered.

Based on the complexity of the sourcing process, the buffer time can be allotted for the cutting department.

Production department start date from the very next day from the cutting department.

According to the factory efficiency and capacity the lead time for each department can be allotted by considering the shipment date.

In summary, time and action plants establish the best date or time range for an order’s primary actions to occur in relation to a scheduled delivery. In general, merchandisers will produce a list of actions that must be executed in an order in a spreadsheet in a column, the estimated date of completion in the next column, and the actual completion date in the very next column. However, in this article, I tried my best to present simply about time and action plan for merchandisers. If you have any questions about this article, feel free to ask me in the comments box.


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  2. Corbman, B. P. (1987). Textile Fiber to Fabric. Singapore: McGraw Hill Book Co.
  3. Kadolph, S. J. (2006). Textiles. New Delhi: Pearson Education.
  4. Rathinamoorthy, R. S. (2018). Apparel Merchandising. Chennai: Woodhead Publishing India Pvt. Ltd.

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