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“Always try to be a leader, not a boss!”

Rafee Mahmood, Director of Mahmud Group, Chairman of Pridesys IT Ltd and CEO of Prefeex, is one of the successful young entrepreneurs. He has completed his Bachelor of Business (Hons) in International Business (BIB) from Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, (LUCT) Malaysia. Recently he shared his vision, thoughts, and ideas with the Textile Today Team.

Rafee Mahmood, Director, Mahmud Group
Figure: Rafee Mahmood, Director, Mahmud Group.

Textile Today: There is a vision which drives you to come in the textile industry. Please share with us what actually thrived you…

Rafee Mahmood: Since childhood my brother and I have seen my father worked hard to build this company; his leadership and vision has inspired us to join him in this industry with the goal to make our company a leader in the Bangladesh textile industry. From 4 November 2015, my professional carrier started and since then, every day has been a learning experience which has helped me a lot to be an entrepreneur.

Now Mahmud Group is employing around 15,000 people. My vision is to make Mahmud Group a vibrant and recognized business conglomerate in Bangladesh. If we are to reach that goal we cannot remain complacent, we have to adapt new and efficient technologies and be innovative.

Furthermore, if you want to survive in any business, it is important to always make yourself and your people up to date the world market in order to gain competitive advantage amongst other stakeholders. That is why along with my younger brother we build and implemented an ERP software (Enterprise Resource Planning) right from scratch with Pridesys IT Ltd. Today there are almost 700 users of this software which helps us to identify and solve all the bottle necks and give right on time decisions. We won the BASIS National ICT Award 2017 for ‘industry application’ in textiles and apparel industry.

Textile Today: People used to say ‘second generation is a threat for the business’ how do you evaluate this?

Rafee Mahmood: Yes, the second generation can be a threat if they do not recognize the first generation’s hard work, which has made it possible for the second generation, to witness it in the first place. Most of the time we do hear such things because the second generation wants to go hard stream and make impulsive decisions, they think would be better for the company. This only creates a clash between the first and second generation, as the first generation will need time and proof to be able to confidently and gradually shift the responsibilities to the next generation.

To establish yourself, you will have to understand the antecedent generation methods first, and then only you will find a way to make them adapt to your decisions. You must identify the things they could do better and discuss the pros and cons together. Both generations must give time to have the transition period to build a better understanding and sustainable relationship. You need to be able to identify the right talents who have always been the strengths and pillars in the company from the beginning. Together with them, prove to the first generation that you are not a threat but you are here to be a team player.

Textile Today: What are your plans for the next five years about Mahmud Group?

Rafee Mahmood: Our country has an SDG (Sustainable Development Goal) to make Bangladesh a developed country by 2041, being the 28th and 23rd largest economy by 2030 and 2050. The government also has a vision to establish 100 economic zones within the next 15 years and we Mahmud Group are privileged to be a part of that vision. We are one of the proud partners of Sirajganj Economic Zone (SEZ) which is a 1042 acres green economic zone right by the Jamuna River.

We have the vision to invest in sustainable technologies and infrastructures that will create millions job opportunity for the peoples. Along with investing on SEZ, we have also started constructing 4 new LEED Gold manufacturing units, which will help us ‘Reduce, Reuse and Recycle’ the energy, chemical, and water; minimizing unnecessary drainage of resources. All these units will be equipped with state-of-the-art machinery that will consume less water, chemical, and electricity; along with, rainwater harvesting facilities, chemical and water reusable systems, Incinerators, heat recovery, and caustic recovery systems and 3 biological ETPs with a total capacity of 16,800m3 all complying with ZDHC standards.

Actually, development is a continuous process and you cannot bind it in a time frame. But we are optimistic that we will secure our growth rate in the next five years and will focus on human capital more to synchronize with the latest technology and to produce efficiently and delivering the best quality products on time.

Textile Today: As you are a successful young entrepreneur please give some suggestions for the upcoming young’s who are about to enter the industry.

Rafee Mahmood: One should never stop learning because there will be something new every day. You must work hard to know your company from inside and out and should have knowledge of every department precisely. As an entrepreneur it is important that you listen first, then visualize and analyze every possible prospects before you proceed to take your decisions.

Most importantly, do not be individualistic, always have the mentality to work better as a team, get collective thoughts and decide what’s best for the betterment of the company. And always try to be a leader, not a boss! Always trust your instincts and always try to learn from your mistakes. Do not force yourself to do things you are not passionate about, always follow your heart and mind. Hopefully inshaAllah you will be able to become a successful entrepreneur someday.

If anyone has any feedback or input regarding the published news, please contact: info@textiletoday.com.bd

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