SGS is the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing, and Certification Company. It is recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. With the philosophy- ‘when you need to be sure’- SGS started their glorious journey in 1878 in Geneva, Switzerland and from 1974 in Bangladesh. SGS Group is operating in 140 countries with 2600 offices & laboratories through 93,000 employees. In Bangladesh, SGS has laboratories for garments testing, Leather & Footwear laboratory, food laboratory, Environment laboratory, Calibration laboratory which are operating in three major divisions – Dhaka, Chattogram, Khulna with more than 800 people. Besides laboratory testing, SGS offers a wide range of services like Compliance audits, product inspections, ISO certificates, various technical and accreditation training across the industries.
Engr. Abdur Rashid, Managing Director of SGS Bangladesh Limited, is the first-ever Bangladeshi Managing Director of SGS at such an early age. He revealed his success story and many other key points in a recent interview with Bangladesh Textile Today.
Textile Today: Being the first-ever Bangladeshi Managing Director of SGS Bangladesh Limited, how do you define its position in the global market?
Abdur Rashid: Being a European company, SGS used to be run by mostly European MDs in the past who witnessed that some other global companies are led by local leaders successfully and hereby I think my appointment as the first Bangladeshi MD is a recognition and acknowledgment of the progress of Bangladeshi leadership and quality.
I believe, MNC’s are now getting confidence in Bangladeshi leaders’ skillsets, quality leadership, integrity and professionalism to run their companies with success. I dedicate this success of mine to our people and potential leaders who are dreaming to lead in the future.
Textile Today: How do you like to evaluate the year 2021? To handle the COVID-19 impact how did you drive your business?
Abdur Rashid: We took the year 2021 as a recovery with hope. As in 2020, COVID-19 wreaked global havoc. Like other businesses, SGS was also badly impacted by unprecedented circumstances.
Having known that COVID will not go away soon in 2021 – instead of scratching our head like the previous year, rather we set our strategies on how to live with it even how can turn the challenges into opportunities in the pandemic, focusing on regaining the business.
Even in the devastating business situation of an indefinite period of lockdown in 2020 pandemic time, I did not terminate any single employee nor cut any benefits/facilities, because we believe that our employees are our greatest resource and we will need them to come back and recover soon, once industry will grow again.
Since the beginning of 2021, we started working with the health ministry and garment factories to support testing PPEs, extended support to the garment and food industry; interestingly we observed our employees are being more dedicated as we supported in their critical times. So as a team, we put our best effort together, even during the lockdown period, our employees used to travel to various factories and conduct inspections, audits, worked in our laboratories to support essential industries by following health guidelines.
Thus finally 2021, SGS Bangladesh achieved a brilliant success and exceeded all the parameters of a business organization including revenue growth, market share and other financial KPIs; and our success was appreciated by our global management in SGS Group.
I would like to thank all my employees and various stakeholders of our organization for this strong recovery and great success in 2021.
Textile Today: How the SGS BD Ltd is contributing (business functions) to the T&A sector? To minimize the gap between buyers and suppliers, how is SGS working?
Abdur Rashid: SGS is playing here a paramount role across 140 countries in the world. We have an R&D team in SGS USA, EU, China-HK, etc. who are working to understand the Textile & Apparel industry’s future trend and demand in coming years. In parallel, SGS Bangladesh is incorporating that knowledge in the Bangladesh textile and apparel industry.
Besides focusing on our core services like inspection, verification, testing and certification – SGS Bangladesh also concentrates on other services. For instance, in the COVID time, the PPE testing took priority. At the beginning of the pandemic, one of the concerns raised was whether Bangladeshi manufactured PPEs are effective enough and meet the international quality. Then we came forward to support the country and community through extending our expertise; closely worked with the Directorate General of Drug Administration (DGDA), different PPE manufacturers and various stakeholders regarding PPE testing, inspection, and method verifications.
Besides the textile and apparels industry, we are also providing all kinds of ISO certificates and food safety certificates; providing various kinds of certification/accreditation training; also extending our footprint in the environment sector widely in recent years. As BD Govt. are developing many mega infrastructural projects where environmental impact is a major concern from various stakeholders, SGS Bangladesh has expanded and provided its services to the assessment of the environmental impact like Matarbari Power plant, Payra power plant, Ghorashal Fertilizer, etc.
Also, we are working with food, agriculture, oil, gas, chemical industries to evaluate their product’s quality and functions.
Due to travel restrictions during the pandemic, as many Govt and industry people could not travel abroad to ensure any product quality before shipment, which is called PSI, we are assisting there. As SGS has its experts and resources in every part of the world, we are ensuring the quality and standard of the machines by testing and inspections on behalf of the importer before its shipment which are being treated as a great support and cost savings for the industry owners and Bangladesh Govt in recent times.
Textile Today: How does the SGS global research team function towards innovation? Share with us the SGS’s latest innovations.
Abdur Rashid: Innovation is the core of any MNC and here is no exception in SGS Group. Being 150 years old MNC, SGS Group has its footprint in every industry, in every part of the world and still growing quite strongly. Recently SGS revamped, took many bold initiatives, opened a new division globally called ‘Digital and Innovation’ (D&I) where recruited diverse global leaders from across the industry and country in US and Europe on innovation perspective. As a result, the group has now the best creative and innovative people joined the D&I team. Since the beginning of this year, formed regional and local D&I committees to enhance innovation where we from Bangladesh also participate.
Here I would like to share that, I also initiated a local innovation campaign among our local team of around 800 people, invited innovative ideas, awarded the best innovative ideas which bring us a very encouraging outcome.
Besides, we have developed various innovative services to serve the market innovatively. During the pandemic, we have incorporated first time in Bangladesh VILT (Virtua Instructor-Lead Training) in April 2020 which was very much appreciated by many corporate leaders. We have started a drive to transform all our laboratories to Digital Lab from the beginning of 2022.
One of the recent revolutionary innovative services we have introduced is virtual inspection. As sometimes buyers cannot travel physically into factory premises to see the product status, through our virtual inspection we will give buyers and factory leaders the live inspection would happening in the field.
SGS is the only company to provide such top-notch innovative services currently in the market.
Textile Today: How do you evaluate the quality assurance activities of Bangladeshi textile and garment manufacturers compared to our competitor countries?
Abdur Rashid: I would say we are doing well, at the same time we should not be complacent regarding our achievements in the apparel industry. Compare to our competitor garments manufacturing countries, there are certain areas of improvement.
One such area is improving our mid-level management; here I would like to appreciate Textile Today as they are stressing this issue for a long time; also I think Textile Today Training and its various innovative drives are playing a strong role in the skill development of the industry.
I think other RMG industry stakeholders need to come forward to up-skill the workforce.
Other important issues like automation, adopting technology for high-end garment manufacturing, productivity, better infrastructure, etc. where we need to bridge the gap to be the best in the RMG manufacturing arena.
Here I would like to thank Textile Today for always highlighting these important issues and generating awareness.
Textile Today: By what means has SGS– the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company – come up with the sustainability approaches?
Abdur Rashid: I feel really overwhelmed to work in such a great company like SGS where Sustainability is at the heart of SGS.
I am proud to let you know that, according to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI), SGS is the market leader in sustainability among its industry for the last 8 consecutive years. At SGS, we take our responsibility to our stakeholders and to our planet very seriously. As an industry leader, we believe our responsibility is even bigger than most
SGS Group announced sustainability targets in two phases in recent times:
- 5 years sustainability targets from 2018 to 2023.
- In 2020, the group has taken another sustainability target called Sustainability Ambitions by 2030 (SA 2030).
SA 2030 covers very wider sustainability KPIs to be filled into three pillars – a better planet, a better society and better governance.
SGS is proud to say that it’s a carbon-neutral company, energy efficiency and building management program ensures renewable energy and using energy-efficient equipment and facilities, ensuring equal opportunity for everyone, target to have 30% of women in leadership, participate in community engagement program and many more.
SGS Bangladesh is also responsible and accountable for all the sustainability parameters and we are working contributing regularly as sustainability is our priority.