Apparel industry leaders are saying that the readymade garment (RMG) orders with short lead-time are pouring in. Buyers are also probing to decrease the lead time for shipping goods, placing extra pressure on apparel manufacturers.
With relaxed restrictions in movements in most western countries, brands and buyers are placing orders for smaller quantities.
Normally Bangladesh delivers within – maximum – 90 days to deliver an order. Now it has been reduced to 35-40 days.
Reducing lead time means additional investments for RMG factories to ensure the availability of a massive stock of yarn, fabrics and other accessories.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic Bangladesh textile and apparel industry faced an unprecedented chaotic situation. From March to May factories were shut and scores of factories closed due to order cancellation, unethical discount demands from buyers. And the tip of the iceberg is thousands of workers lost their jobs.
Now this new demand for short lead time – the period between the initiation and completion of a production process – from buyers are forcing Bangladeshi RMG manufacturers to invest more in this uncertain situation.
Kutubuddin Ahmed, chairman of Envoy Textiles Ltd, the greenest denim textile mill in the world said, “Each factory has some orders to operate its units although no one can say they have orders for the next two or three months like they had in the pre-COVID-19 period.”
Kutubuddin added, “Now, apparel makers get lesser quantities of apparel orders instead of bulk orders as buyers are very watchful. Most of them experienced complications in handling the huge stock of ready goods during the Covid-19 pandemic.”
“RMG manufacturers are taking any kind of orders to continue their units till December,” Kutubuddin stressed.
Adding that he expected business would return to the pre-COVID-19 situation from December on.
Fazlee Shamim Ehsan, Chief Executive Officer of Fatullah Apparels Ltd said, “We have sufficient apparel orders to run our factories in the coming days, maybe up to October, but every buyer is putting pressure on us to reduce the lead time.”
David Hasnat, Chairman and CEO of Viyellatex Group said, “The export grew to some extent last month compared to that of the former month, though the gap was still enormous compared to the growth in the corresponding period last year.”
The leader opined on the regaining of exports to the markets of the EU and the US that a minimum of 50% of export markets need to recover the former business momentum.
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association (BGMEA) Acting President, Md Abdus Salam said, “About 70% of our capabilities have been booked till September, even though it is not sufficient to recover from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.”
The industry leaders also expressed concerns of a second wave of COVID-19 in the major apparel export destinations. And the risk of inflation in those markets if the demand for basic apparel items is hit hard.