Menu Close

The Performance Effects of Modular Production in the Apparel Industry


Berg, Peter; Appelbaum, Eileen; Bailey, Thomas; & Kalleberg, Arne L. (1996). The Performance Effects of Modular Production in the Apparel Industry. Industrial Relations, 35(3), 356-373.


This article identifies and explains differences in performance between two widely used alternative work methods-module and bundle production—in the basics sector of the apparel industry. This research is based on interviews with managers and surveys of worker attitudes and perceptions. We find that a team production system in the apparel industry, called modules, performs better than the traditional bundle system on such measures as quality, costs, and responsiveness to retailers. Modules also perform better than bundles in reducing work-in-process inventory and throughput time. We argue that performance improvements are realized through coordination among the team members as a result of their ability to self-regulate work, eliminate bottlenecks, resolve conflicts, help one another solve problems, and make improvements in the production process.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Industrial Relations


Berg, Peter
Appelbaum, Eileen
Bailey, Thomas
Kalleberg, Arne L.