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Developing strategy for suboptimal woven sector

Woven clothes export has been experiencing slower growth and it’s additionally losing its relative strength in the export market. One of the key reasons behind this concern is – insufficient backward linkage for the woven sector. We can be competitive if we are able to meet the demand of woven fabric from the local source.

The key material of manufacturing a garment is fabric in the two main categories of woven and knit. We concentrated little more on knit products to address the demand of the European markets whereas woven product has a great deal of demand in the US market and other markets as well.

Though the knit sector has been rebounding from corona impact whereas the woven sector can take years to get over the fallout. Competing countries like Vietnam, Cambodia, China and Turkey remain at a good pace.

Gap between demand and supply

Woven product makers are extremely hanging on the imports of fabric. There’s a requirement of roughly over 3 (three) billion meters of woven fabric yearly. Local millers can support only 35% of total demand now. Though the demand for woven products is increasing globally we still stay behind due to the insufficient investment in backward linkage.

There’s an immense gap within the supply and demand in the woven sector. It shows that however huge chance the country has in this sector wherever the market is ready. The industry is now in question – if they efficiently import fabric and do garments or they would invest in fabric manufacturing to strengthen the backward linkage. Pakistan, Indonesia and some other competing countries are doing well in making woven fabrics.

woven-knit-export
Figure 1: year wise breakdown of total export.

Capacity and infrastructure

Most of the fabric mills are doing basic fabrics not high stretched items in their capacity. Woven fabric varieties what local mills can manufacture is – mainly cotton and cotton/elastane based product in solid, prints and yarn-dyed. It shows that the capacity of factories is still limited that they are prepared for basic volume products. They are normally scared of going for innovative products.

(Denim fabric – one of the main woven products we do, we are capable of doing it successfully where lots of investment is already made. In this short article, we are not going to write about the denim fabric)

The capacity of marketing has been felt weak to navigate into the export markets. It apparently seems there may be little or no strategy for taking opportunity from the global demand of woven items.

Investors require to invest in Special Economic Zones whereas many investors have already invested but they don’t obtain the required permissions. Quality power supply remains inadequate in special economic zones, but it is required for the automated or technology-driven manufacturing unit for woven materials. Congenial policy for this sector is also felt poor to do further investment.

denim-fabric-factory
Figure 2: Equipped a denim fabric factory.

Lead time

The USA and European retailers are still purchasing a big amount of woven products from Turkey just for a quick response. It takes thirty-five days to ship merchandise to the North American countries from Bangladesh. On the contrary, China takes twenty days, and Turkey takes 15 days. This can be another reason for losing the market. Therefore for clothes created in Bangladesh has a high demand for fabric from local sources to meet the shorter lead time.

Fabric development time interval conjointly plays an important role to perform the orders efficiently. If there’s support from local mills a product may be developed 2-3 weeks quicker as compared with foreign sources.

Opportunity to go further

Though the investment is increasing within the woven sector, it is not enough to address the growing demand. Investors assume that the return is comparatively slow and also the margin of profit is little. It normally costs Tk 300 – 600 core minimum to ascertain a manufacturing unit for woven fabrics. The fabric manufacturing factories additionally require to set up dyeing facilities to create the investment viably. Moreover, it is argued that the local factories could not create competitiveness in marketability.

Diversity of products in the range of technical textile or functional textile or high stretched fabric are of high value and demand in the export market. In particular, the world market is ready for some types of fabrics we yet to produce significantly like – fabric blended with viscose for garment and its material, blended with linen and linen, woolen, corduroy, nylon and synthetic-based woven fabric.

During the COVID-19, the demand for woven items got little slow moves but they now regain the previous milestone and even getting better demands right after improving the pandemic situation in the western countries.

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

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