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How textile and apparel industry can grow further by adopting technology and reshuffling marketing strategies?

Textile Today Innovation Hub organized ‘TexTIMe’ (Textile Today Innovation Meets) 2nd episode on 2 May on ‘Marketing Strategy and Technology Adaptation’ presented by Alibaba Authorized Channel Partner Amin & Jahan Corporation Ltd.

Habibur Rahman, Smart Factory 4.0 Consultant for Textile and Apparel Industries, and Saiful Islam Khan, Managing Director, Essential Clothing were the guests who shared their insight about the current market trend and technological adoption.

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Figure: (Clockwise) Tareq Amin, Founder and CEO of Textile Today; Saiful Islam Khan, Managing Director, Essential Clothing; Habibur Rahman, Smart Factory 4.0 Consultant for Textile and Apparel Industries.

Saiful Islam Khan said, “We are used to working only on-demand from which we have to come out and work with stock on demand. For example, in 2021 we had a target of earning US$ 50 billion from the textile and apparel sector but not because of the Corona epidemic, it would not have been possible if the situation was normal. Because there is no interest among the garment manufacturers in Bangladesh to work with a variation or new markets.”

“Although Bangladesh has a strong position in the production of garments made from cotton, it has not yet been able to compete with other countries in the manufacture of other products. So if we want to survive in this competition with the competing countries, we have to work with new markets as well as new products, then we will succeed in achieving our target,” he added.

Habibur Rahman said, “Although the industries of the outside world are currently undergoing 4.0 industry revolution, we have not yet been able to fully establish the 3.0 industry revolution of 1970”.

“As a result, our industries have not yet felt the touch of that development.  However, without the touch of advanced technology, our industries have progressed in a very good way for so long, but in fact, we have not seen our problems for so long.  These problems have started to catch our eye since the Corona epidemic last year, after which our industry experts and owners have been focusing on technological development in our textile industry.”

Emphasizing the importance of canceling or not receiving orders due to the epidemic Saiful Islam Khan said, “Our problem is that when we get a big buyer’s order, we give up our small orders, but if you look at outside industries like China, America, or Vietnam they are now working on small orders besides large orders. So, they have survived this epidemic.”

“They work with a 30% production capacity model. They do not offer any of their buyers more than 30% of their production capacity. Where we engage 70-80% of our production capacity with single buyers. As a result, we have seen during the epidemic buyers have taken their products at a lower price they fixed earlier. Many of them did not even hesitate to declare themselves bankrupt. So we need to gain the power to say ‘NO’ to these buyers as well as work with capacity modules,” Saiful Islam Khan emphasized.

Habibur Rahman mentioned that China has been working on this 30% product capacity model for a long time. For example, when I was working in a big industry in our country, I saw that H&M offered a very large order but less than the market price, but they canceled their entire contract with H&M, and they are still run their business successfully. So we have to learn to say “NO”.

Saiful Islam Khan confessed about our efficiency that we are far behind the optimum efficiency level. However, Bangladesh is moving forward in this sector for only two reasons, one is the low wages of workers and GSP benefits and for these two reasons, we are still surviving and can compete with competing countries.

In this regard, Habibur Rahman said, at first we must know how much efficiency we have. If we talk about the top 100 industries in Bangladesh, it can be seen that they are using 25 percent of their capacity, the remaining 75 percent they’re wasting due to lack of proper utilization. Even then, if we can make an automated distribution using this 25 percent, we will be able to keep pace with the current competitors with the same efficiency that we have.

He added that it is not possible to increase our efficiency without technology. We can increase our efficiency in industries by establishing ERP, CAD, CAM, MRP, PLM, Digital supply chain management, CRM, Time study, etc. I always tell our industry owners to invest in ICT development even if it is 1% of their total revenue.

In a response to an audience question on how we can manage small quantity orders, Habibur Rahman said, “Our order is currently being smaller, so our future is to attend small quantity order. For this, we need to start working with these small orders through our Smart and Proper Planning. As now China and Vietnam sharing pictures of their industries which is small but well decorated with modern technologies. In our country, small industries like them must be established by making small merchandising teams for bringing small quantity orders. Already America and Europe have established more than 250 small industries with their Demand manufacturing facilities, which is threatening for Bangladesh.”

Saiful Islam Khan asserted we must overcome from making the low value-added product, we need to move to manufacture the high value-added product. Most of the luxurious product orders are small, we have to achieve the ability to take those small orders, in this regard, many major industries in Bangladesh are working hard after the Covid-19 crisis to bring small along with big ones.

Habibur Rahman explained if we want to achieve small orders, then we should be active on online platforms. The interest in online shopping has been almost doubled in the epidemic. Alibaba and Amazon, currently the two online market giants have millions of buyers with short quantity to big quantity orders. So we have to update ourselves smartly with the current market trend and set strategy accordingly.

ASM Tareq Amin, Founder and CEO of Textile Today moderated the event. TexTIMe is an exclusive weekly talk show program that will be held on every Sunday at 4:00 PM.

Watch the full video here:

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

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