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Knitting industry requires modern technology for healthier growth

Bangladesh readymade garments sector, a multi-billion-dollar manufacturing, and export earning industry exported worth $28.6 billion in last fiscal year, which is 84 percent of the total export earnings of the country. Various types of garments are manufactured in Bangladesh, but all the readymade garments are classified into two broad categories, where one is woven products and another is knitted products. Day by day knitted items production is increasing at a considerable rate and now more than 40% export earnings have achieved from knitted products. In the last fiscal year, the value of woven and knitted product’s export was respectively $14.39 billion and $13.75 billion.

Figure 1: Woven and knitted product’s export value in FY 2016-17.
Figure 1: Woven and knitted product’s export value in FY 2016-17.

The Knitwear industry of Bangladesh has global competitiveness in terms of product quality, price and industrial up gradation by using of latest machinery, vertical integration, and industrial agglomeration. Recently a team of Bangladesh Textile Today has met with Swapan Kumar Das, Managing Director, Texworld Associates Ltd and discussed several issues on knitting industry and sustainable machinery. This article has been written mainly based on that discussion.

Figure 2: Swapan Kumar Das, Managing Director, Texworld Associates Ltd.
Figure 2: Swapan Kumar Das, Managing Director, Texworld Associates Ltd.

Swapan Kumar Das started his career as an entrepreneur, overtakes many challenges and ultimately has reached in the pick of success. Tex World Associates Ltd. has become a well trusted consulting and indenting house for the textile industry for the last 15 years, which believe in teamwork and its specialist teams of engineers, technicians and commercial managers are always ready to assist the ever-expanding clientele from start to end.

“Our experience in the garments sector will certainly help you to gain access to a world of knowledge that will aid the development of your projects. Over time, Tex World Associates Ltd. has developed strategic partnerships with globally renowned brands like – KauoHeng, Tien Yang, Yonthin Technologies, Denair Group, RIUS, etc. Our best-sellers include circular knitting machines, auto-striper with the jacquard option, computerized flat knitting machines, and automatic flat jacquard machines,” said Mr. Swapan Kumar Das.

The present situation of Knitting Industry  

The knitwear sector, owing to the emergence of strong backward linkages within the country, is adding up 75 percent value of our country economy. Recently knitting industry growth is decreasing due to some reasons including compliance, an increase of yarn price, infrastructure problem, high interest in bank loan etc. Many industries are facing problems and many small factories have stopped their business failing to fulfill Accord and Alliance’s condition. Already production cost is increased more than 18 percent due to Accord and Alliance whereas buyers are now offering 5 percent less price than before.

Figure 2: Reason behind knitting industry’s sluggish growth.
Figure 3: Reason behind knitting industry’s sluggish growth.

Cotton yarn prices move suddenly and powerfully forward in the international market in the previous months increased more than 8 percent.  Besides, banks of our country are more conservative to give a loan, so that many kitting factories cannot import machine.

Major challenges of the knitting industry 

As the population is growing and the standard of living is increasing in Bangladesh, the demand for knitting products is increasing rapidly in the domestic market. On the other hand, export of knitting products will be continued as Bangladesh has edge over other competitors due to low labor cost.  As a 2nd largest exporter Bangladesh has some of the strategic problem. Adoption of the most modern and appropriate technology to ensure quality products at competitive prices are the major challenges of knitting sector.

“Bangladesh needs to dramatically increase capacities in spinning, weaving, knitting, dyeing, printing and finishing sub-sectors,” he said. To do this insufficient skilled people are one of the major challenges in our textile industry especially in mid-level management. Lack of technical and market research is another challenge in our industry.

While asked about 50 billion USD target Mr. Swapan Kumar Das said, “Achieving the $50 billion export target by 2021 from readymade garment sector is becoming more challenging.  I think 50 billion target is achievable in 90 percent and for this Bangladesh should make a high value-added product, need to market research, adopted the new technology.”

How to overcome

Sustainable Textile Machinery are needed to adopt in our RMG industry for both woven and knitting sector. Sustainable technology refers to the technology, which caters the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generation to meet their own needs. Price of knitting machinery in Bangladesh comparatively has not gone up recently.  He emphasized that Bangladesh government needs to take a step to make conscious the entrepreneurs about new technologies. Therefore, the entrepreneurs can easily move to use new technology for better growth and sustainability. In Bangladesh, industry owners have very little idea about new technology. Some factories are using modern machinery but due to lack of skilled workforce they are facing several problems.

Figure 3: Way outs to overcome the recent challenges, according to Swapan Kumar Das.
Figure 4: Way outs to overcome the recent challenges, according to Swapan Kumar Das.

“The automation technology helps us reducing wages and makes sure more productivity. Due to the increasing demand for knitwear from the brands, the knitwear sector transformed their business through automatic knitting machine. Bangladesh is still relying on old technology. Only a few factories are using jacquard machine, striper jacquard, and fleece jacquard machines. That’s why we cannot produce enough high value-added products,” said Mr. Swapan Kumar Das.  “Modern technology adoption will help Bangladesh to continue its growth in knitting and knitwear sector. For example in sweaters factory, it needs 50 percent less manpower for adopting modern machinery,” he added.

He emphasized that Bangladesh textile industry owners need to arrange training on new and upcoming technologies.

Moving from LDC to DC and its impact

Bangladesh, the largest least developed country (LDC) in terms of population and economic size, looks likely to leave the LDC category by 2024, propelled by better health and education, lower vulnerability and an economic boom.

Bangladesh has a huge opportunity when China, Japan, and Korea are moving from textile sector. “Now we have to make value-added products as our competitors like India, Vietnam and Turkey are already making it. It is paramount to make a high value-added product to move from LDC to DC,” he said.

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

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