The Innovation Hub
The necessity of an effective Innovation Hub in Bangladesh textile and apparel industry is felt even more badly amid the current phase of difficult time while the export growth is being hit by global changes. For any industry or individual, ‘change’ must be something ‘constant’. But of course, today it seems we need a mechanism of a big or ‘substantial change’ in a difficult time because we didn’t do in the time when we had affluence.
More than one year ago I have written an article stressing the urgency of an innovation hub to float the textile and apparel industry of Bangladesh in the context of increased wages and increased fuel (gas and electricity) price.
I told that the innovation hub can actively work to increase profitability and also to set up an effective organization within the companies. And now amid of huge international market shift trends, it has become paramount importance to further link the branding, promotion, marketing and sales activities within the innovation hub to get access to new market segments.
I see no other way to save ourselves to hold onto Bangladesh’s position as one of the leading apparel exporters. Because the global fashion industry’s reality is changing rapidly and getting more and more difficult for textile and apparel manufacturers.
Even a few days back apparel manufacturers did not have to worry about getting orders and could concentrate on savings and efficiency only. Now there is a different scenario completely. Like the manufacturers have to concentrate on exploring new markets, developing and working on new product ranges. An effective Innovation Hub can help the industries in it.
Not only that, our textile and apparel industry fundamentally grew up in doing low value-added high-volume apparel products. But in light of the current changing market scenario of shrinking global fashion demands on the high streets and rise of e-commerce fashion you must bring drastic changes in your processes also.
The factories must adopt the changes for new market and product trends. Factories today have to be equally competitive for volume orders and also have to make them capable of producing smaller quantities effectively. Without an Innovation Hub, this will not be possible to be done on an industry-wide scale.
In this globally competitive market whatever company in whatever sector needs to consistently change them to stay competitive. If this change stops then progress also stops and eventually the business will die. But when such change is permanent and builds the base for further improvements then it is called ‘transformation’.
We, The Textile Today is promoting this ‘Transformation’ to create mass awareness. We have been working and eventually have developed some practical ways to create those ‘Transformation Leaders’ to make this ‘Transformation’ happened. We are always in interaction with apparel manufacturers, industry leaders and aligning with the mindset of innovation, transformation or potential and sustainable change-making. This is inevitable and the Bangladesh RMG industry as a whole needs to adopt and invest in this without any second thought.
Under our Corporate Membership scheme already around 25 factories are on board and there are a number of other factory partners, associated industry people are involved with Textile Today Training initiatives, which depict its vision in its slogan ‘Transforming Human Capital’.
So far, we have successfully concluded a number of training and provided achievement certificates to the participants. A revolution of change is taking place silently, where the trainees are getting topnotch practical experience with economically reasonable fees in modern concepts like management, process development, product development, market exploration, etc.
It is not surprising at all that in numerous cases the trainees started giving output by implementing the ideas the very next day after joining the factories. It shows that if we invest time and money in the knowledge, it will give the biggest return and greatest transformation. That has been our biggest motivation to work and contribute to the Bangladesh textile and apparel industry.
Textile Talent Hunt
Textile Talent Hunt started its glorious journey back in 2008. Through the 11 years of its creation, we have installed an innovative mindset to the professionals who have entered the textile and apparel industry.
It is not only the professionals, but there are also a number of patrons, in association partners, university partners, knowledge partners, media partners, factory partners, project supervisors, experts, and so on. Altogether it is a gigantic community encompassing the whole textile and apparel industry and leading in innovations.
I observed that many of them are doing Ph.D. and postdoctoral research in leading foreign universities, also a lot of them are attached to the local industry, working in R&D and other innovation areas in factories. Whenever we see any innovation or research achievements in the Bangladesh textile and apparel industry, we see faces that came through Textile Talent Hunt programs.
Textile Talent Hunt program has been an impactful change catalyst for the apparel industry.
Textile Talent Hunt and Innovation Hub
The textile and apparel industry has been evolved a lot in the last decade. Especially in safety and social compliances, and the highest number of green factories Bangladesh has become a global example.
The apparel industry has come a long way in increasing worker’s efficiency as well. Eventually, the industry has reduced the water, carbon and environmental footprint tremendously.
On the other side, the textile and apparel manufacturing industry could not ensure in one fundamental aspect, to make a profit.
And ultimately only profitability can ensure all these – safety at work, a better life for workers, social safety, etc. – aspects and without profit all other achievements will parish. So we must capitalize on our strengths and core competencies to make it profitable again.
We must refocus on country level strategy and other strategies. As the only increases in productivity and efficiency are not making the apparel industry profitable. This significant change must be done by careful scientific/imperial study.
Textile Today in all its activities is contributing to making these strategies for the industry. In this regard, we need the right people and the process to implement these decisions.
To increase profitability the apparel industry needs to work on two aspects.
- Product development, new raw materials, quality improvement, reducing waste, increasing productivity
- Need an effective management system to adapt with the current and future changes. The management will create a culture of continuous sustainable improvement by working in the ‘People to Process’ knowledge spectrum.
To accommodate these vital lifelines, recently Textile Today has associated with some factories. And the 100 upcoming talents from the 7th season of the Textile Talent Hunt project will work jointly with different factories. Besides about 35 mentors or experts from the industry will receive training on Research Methodology Project Management.
About 50 factories will come up with their practical problems and there will be 100 teams – each team will comprise one textile talent, one industry expert or mentor, and one factory supervisor – will work in factories for 4-5 months to solve these issues and come up with ‘Practically Tested Transformation Model’. The ‘Practically Tested Transformation Model’ will be ideal in problem-solving in the coming future and will help to craft strategies for the coming days.
With all these developments with the new slogan ‘Transforming into an Innovation Hub,’ Textile Today is integrating professionals, stakeholders, factories working in many segments like training, creating knowledge-sharing platforms, knowledge accumulation and dissemination and installing management systems. And Textile Talent Hunt is at the forefront that helping Textile Today to transform itself into an Innovation Hub.
Currently, we are working on a project called ‘PEOPLE’ project’, which is to work for increasing profitability and setting an effective management system in factories. ‘PEOPLE’ stands for ‘Profitable and Effective Organization through People Leadership and Excellence’. Already some factories have come forward and Textile Today has started to work with them to increase the profitability and setting effective management system within the factories.
With all these programs Textile Today is linking the academia, industry experts, buyers, brands, researchers in one platform. By doing so, we believe we will make innovation possible and effective and sustainable.
As I always say, among all our programs Textile Talent Hunt has been the highest impactful one. And clearly TTH is helping Textile Today in transforming itself as an ‘Innovation Hub’. And Textile Today is in this prosperous journey, it is learning and flourishing with the people all around the sector.