CMT Clothing Manufacturing

As your fashion business grows, the demand for your garments increases. As such, you need cloth manufacturing partners to produce clothes in bulk. There are two options in cloth manufacturing, including CMT manufacturing

This technique offers small brands a chance to control production thanks to a smaller order. As the business owner, you get to design your garments and select the fabric and patterns. The manufacturer only cuts, makes and trims your clothes. 

As the fashion brand owner, it’s crucial to understand if CMT clothing manufacturing is suitable for you. Let’s explore the details of CMT manufacturing, the benefits, and the disadvantages. 

What Is CMT Manufacturing?

CMT is short for cut, make, and trim manufacturing. It is a garment production technique where the clothing manufacturer provides cut, make and trim services. If you want to maintain control over the design and fabrics, CMT might be the best option.

While the manufacturer might provide packaging and storage services, such as hangers and boxes, most tasks are up to you. 

As the client, you need to provide the fabrics, patterns, specifications, and stitching patterns. The finished product is therefore largely within your control. Unfortunately, while this is the main advantage, it is also the main disadvantage of CMT production

If you do not have experience with product planning, creating blueprints, labels, stitching specifications, and fabric selection, you could struggle with CMT. As a result, the finished product might not meet your expectations. Also, you might find the learning curve costly for your fashion business. 

Stage 1: Cut

In the first phase of production, the manufacturer cuts the fabric according to your specifications. Manufacturers use specialized machines that cut fabric as precisely as possible. These machines rely on technology to cut the fabrics. As such, your blueprint should be as precise as possible. 

Stage 2: Make 

Once you approve the cut fabric, the CMT manufacturer moves to the next stage: making. In the second stage, workers stitch the fabrics with high-precision machines and stitch designs. Again, your design specifications influence the quality of the finished product. 

Fortunately, CMT workers have advanced technical skills and can handle delicate fabrics and stitches. 

Stage 3: Trim 

Once the fabrics are assembled, the manufacturer applies the finishing touches. The manufacturer removes excess fabric, introduces hardware, and adds finishing touches to the garments. The clothes also go through checks to ascertain the quality of the product before leaving the factory. 

Benefits of CMT Manufacturing to Brands

CMT production has several benefits for fashion brands

  • CMT manufacturers usually need low minimum orders, making them accommodating and flexible. If you are a beginner, you can order less than 50 units per design. CMT manufacturers are therefore suitable for new and small fashion brands. 
  • Since CMT manufacturers work in low volumes, they offer expertise for specialized services. The quality of production is also high since each employee is highly skilled in handling challenging designs.  
  • Production quality is easy to monitor and oversee since you control the fabric, pattern, and stitching. All the garments are also produced in one factory near you. Therefore, you can drop in frequently to check on your products. 
  • Since you control the material selection and procurement, you enjoy greater oversight of your supply chain. The manufacturer doesn’t control the entire production process. You can track all the processes in your supply chain to avoid disruptions and reduce fabric wastage. 

Benefits of CMT Manufacturing to Manufacturers

CMT has several benefits for manufacturers

  • The manufacturer avoids pre-production and post-production processes. Instead, the client’s obligations are product design, pattern making, fabric selection, and procurement, among others. Also, the client ships the finished design to the customer. 
  • CMT manufacturers have lower operating costs because they provide fewer services than full factored manufacturing (FFM). The latter is a one-stop-shop for everything, which means the business costs more to operate. CMT limits itself to cutting, making, and trimming. 
  • CMT manufacturing preserves advanced technical skills and specialization. These elements are essential for making complicated garments. Specialized workers can handle delicate fabrics and designs at a lower workload.
  • Since CMT manufacturers handle smaller clients and orders, they provide personalized services and quality control. As such, CMT manufacturers with specialized skills can retain loyal clients. 
  • Performing a cost-benefit analysis, accounting, and managing business finances and administration is easy for CMT manufacturers. Moreover, since there are fewer orders, the documents and transactions are less complex. 
  • CMT manufacturers are not responsible for poor designs and fabric selection. They are also not responsible for any delays that occur because of the client’s actions. 

Disadvantages of CMT Manufacturing

CMT manufacturing has several notable disadvantages. 

  • CMT is suitable for fashion brands acquainted with designing, production planning, pattern and fabric choices, procurement, and shipping. New brands without pre-production and post-production processes could struggle with CMT manufacturing. 
  • CMT manufacturing has a low minimum order and high specialization. As such, manufacturers might not handle large orders. Therefore, if you are trying to increase mass production, you might find it challenging to scale with CMT. 
  • Some CMT manufacturers could have the same small business problems as their clients. As such, the business relationship could become strained. Issues such as late payments, poor management, and lack of scale might affect both parties. 
  • Workers in CMT might be poorly skilled in other areas because of their specialization. 
  • CMT manufacturers might not have a solid client base or a high overhead.

How To Calculate CMT Cost 

To find the cost of CMT manufacturing, you need two values: the price per minute of operating the CMT factory and the garment’s standard minute value (SMV) (per unit). Then multiply them to get the CMT cost per unit.

For example, if the CMT factory is available for 28 days in a month, with eight working hours per day, the total available capacity is 13,440 minutes per month. The labor cost per minute is the monthly salary for each operator divided by the total time available. 

SMV estimates the time it takes to make a garment with the right worker and the right machine. Basic time is the time it most likely takes to make the garment. The observation time is the time taken to do a job when a person closely observes the process.

On the other hand, the cycle time is the time taken between starting and finishing garment production. The rating factor is the efficiency of an employee. Lastly, the considering allowance is added to the actual SMV. 

For this example, assume: 

  • Observe time: 25 minutes
  • Rating factor: 80%
  • Considering allowance: 10%

Therefore, the equation for SMV would look like this: (25×80%) + (20×10%). That would make the SMV equal to 22 minutes. Considering that, the CMT cost per unit would be calculated by dividing the monthly salary for an operator (6,000 for this example) by the 13,440 minutes total capacity, assuming 100% efficiency, and then multiplying by 22. That gives you a CMT cost per unit of 9.85.

How To Start a CMT Factory 

If you explored garment production for a while, you might be curious about starting a CMT factory. The small manufacturing factory can handle your brand orders or serve other brands or FFM factories. Before starting the business:

  • Research the nature of the business, the costs of setting up and operation, hiring and management, and profits. Study the supply chain, competition, demand, and the timeline for breaking even. 
  • Study fabrics and garment manufacturing. What machines and technical skills do you need for operations? What processes are involved? How can you optimize the processes? What is the latest technology in the industry?
  • Understand the available product categories and selections. CMT specializes in garment production. What is your specialty?
  • Research factory space, location, and costs. 
  • Estimate your monthly production, income, and client base. What is your daily production volume estimate to operate optimally?
  • Research client and business management, client relationships, and how to process orders. 
  • Explore fundraising and capital options to start your factory 
  • Launch your factory. 


CMT manufacturing is a cost-effective solution for fashion brands seeking increased production, but with few orders. This technique is also suitable for brand owners who want to control their designs and fabric selection.

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