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Understanding Characteristics of Textile Industry and Clothing Industry

Abrar A ApuBoth Textile Industry (TI) and Clothing Industry (CI) are the most important industries in Bangladesh. The contribution of these industries in our economy is well known to every individuals of Bangladesh. The CI is more significant than TI in Bangladesh and in developing countries, but the vice-versa in developed or industrial countries.  Most of us consider TI and Cl as one industry. In some extent this is true that TI and Cl are two branches of one industry, but, in most cases, there exist huge dissimilarities between two industries. I am writing this article to bring out existed similarities and dissimilarities between two industries, so that it would be easier to understand both industries individually.

Basic definition of TI is that the industry which process fibers into yarns, yarns into grey fabrics to finished fabrics, while CI that transforms inputs from TI into finished cloths/garments. TI is producer-driven while CI is buyer-driven, meaning that TI usually produces intermediate products to feed CI, which converts intermediate products into finished products as per buyer’s instructions.

Both industries are integral part of Textile Pipeline, but they are two important players in Textile Supply Chain. Following figures clearly depict the relation:

From the figure 1 & 2, we see that TI is upstream industry; CI is mid-stream industry while retailing industry (controlled by buyers) is downstream steam industry of the same supply chain. TI has to work indirectly for the buyers while CI directly works for the buyers. Thus, two industries have to maintain different types of relationships in order to keep surviving in the competitive markets. TI has to maintain cooperative relationship strategy with its suppliers while CI has to keep arm’s length relationship with its buyers (The concept of an arm’s length transaction is to ensure that both parties in the deal are acting in their own self interest and are not subject to any pressure or duress from the other party).

CI is considered as Footloose industry as the industry is more prone to relocation if it’s laborers become expensive and scarce. While TI which is, in most cases, know-based industry, does not solely depends on laborers, is stable type of industry.

In Bangladesh textile sector is composed of basically 3 sub-textile sector: Handloom sector, Powerloom Sector and organized textile sector. Prior two sectors belong to informal sector while latter one is formal sector. In the same manner, clothing sector is divided into two sub-sector, namely- informal clothing-manufacturing sector and formal clothing-manufacturing sector. Tailoring and sub-standard clothing sewing units usually situated in the same roof of residential houses or in a small shed belong to informal sector while clothing manufacturing units work for international buyers belongs to formal sector.

Generally the TI consumes energy resources, like electricity as a common power source for running machinery, cooling, and temperature control systems, lighting office equipments, etc; oil as a fuel for boilers which generate stream; liquefied petroleum gas, coals as alternative power sources. As natural gas is available and cheaper in Bangladesh, almost all TI uses only natural gas for generating power to run entirely industries. Thus, Energy Management Department very important and must for inside the TI. On the contrary, the CI uses electricity as common power source only. Power consumption is relatively very high in TI than CI. But, raw materials cost and personnel costs (labor costs) are higher in CI than TI. Workers of TI are better wage paid up than CI.

TI contributes lion share in environment pollution, namely- water, sound, land, and air pollution while CI’s contribution in this regard is not so intense like TI.

Male laborers are suitable and useful labor for TI while CI favorably employs female laborers. Difference sources confirmed that more than 85% are female workers while rest percentage is opposite sex in the CI work forces. There is a most important scientific reason that is genetically finger flexibility and softness of females are better than counter part, which help to perform smoother sewing activities, and sewing is the premier activities of any CI. Apart from this, females are genetically more caring and devoted to work than her opposite sex.

The main physical health problems faced by CI workers are: ‘Occupational fatigue syndrome’, body pains, obesity, and bladder and kidney problems. The major psychological problems of those workers are work stress and depression. Work stress and depression are caused by ‘intensification of work’ to meet daily targets, strict factory rules and regulations. On the other hand, textile-manufacturing industry causes health hazards like bladder cancer of workers, especially for weavers and winders.

The success of TI is based on ‘efficiency’ and strict implementation of ‘economies of scale’. In comparison, CI’s success depends on ‘products quality’ and use of ‘economics of scope’.

The contribution of clothing sector is 78.14% while textile sector adds only about 4% in export economy in the in the recent past year of 2010-2011. The mentioned figures explain dearth imbalance between the two players in the same supply chain and indicates if we fail to understand both industries properly and not try to bring balance between, the country may face deadly consequences, as the CI industry is gipsy in nature.

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

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