Merchandiser is the interface between Customer and exporter. He is responsible for order inquiry receive, development, costing, order analysis, Production execution, shipment and up to payment receiving. So merchandising is the backbone department in the Apparel Industry. It is a passionate job for many textile graduates.
Uzzal Dakua, Merchandising Manager of Echotex Ltd, is working at Echotex for 11 years. He Graduated from Primeasia University in Textile Engineering and involved with many professional platforms. Recently in a conversation with Team Textile Today Uzzal shared challenges and opportunities of merchandising from Bangladesh perspective.
Textile Today: What are the responsibilities and challenges of a merchandiser?
Uzzal Dakua: The tasks that a merchandiser usually do follow up the processes, costing, negotiating with the customers or retailers, sourcing of raw material (best quality with cheaper price), sampling development (product development option work to meet both the needs of consumers and designers) monitoring the production, ensuring product Quality (as per Buyer requirement), on time Shipment and finding the solution of any problem of the product are the basic responsibilities of a merchandiser. In one sentence Merchandiser is the key person of the Product. He is the main responsible for all these procedures.
A merchandiser has to keep deep knowledge about the product and possess and strong communication skill as he/she has to deal with the customer as well as the suppliers. Because a single mistake of a merchandiser can bring an irreversible loss for the company. So, merchandisers, every step should be perfect and I think that is the main challenge.
Textile Today: How can merchandisers play an important role to secure a better price?
Uzzal Dakua: Workers wage has increased by 51%, but the customers are unwilling to pay a bit more price. They aren’t helpful about the manufacturers’ situation rather squeezing more for less price.
In this situation, merchandisers can play a vital role by showing their caliber during negotiation with Buyers.
We all should break the myth that we are not good at communication. Factory owners should also focus on increasing their efficiency level, waste minimization and they should think long-term in case of purchasing new technology. Besides investing in technology, also owners should invest in human capital to sustain in the business.
Textile Today: We see the trend of different discipline people are coming in merchandising profession whereas textile engineers do the job in production. What will you say about this?
Uzzal Dakua: First of all, I would like to say that merchandising is the most important section in the textile industry. Because a merchandiser has to keep knowledge of the full supply chain that I have already stated.
If a merchandiser doesn’t have sound technical knowledge of textile processes, there is a possibility of wrong product development. But a textile engineer usually has these basics. He/she knows how to minimize wastage, how to develop the right product and how to maintain costing with the buyer properly.
This is why more textile engineers should come in merchandising profession to make this business more profitable.
Textile Today: What are the differences between foreign professionals and native professionals who are working in this sector?
Uzzal Dakua: Every year foreign professionals are taking away almost USD 6 billion from our textile sector.
Most foreign professionals working in Bangladesh are Indians, Sri-Lankans, and Pakistanis. The government and BGMEA should have a strict policy about foreign experts.
On the other hand, every year many talented textile engineers are graduating from BUTEX, PAU, AUST, NITER, BUFT and many other universities. Factory owners should give a chance to the fresh blood to prove their talents.
merchandisers can play a vital role by showing their caliber during negotiation with Buyers.
At Echotex, we don’t hire any foreign professionals. Most of the persons working here are young, energetic and talented textile engineers. Here we all work as a team. Almost every week we sit for a meeting, try to understand ourselves and solve our problems together.
Textile Today: Tell something from your experience for those who are planning to take the merchandising as a profession.
Uzzal Dakua: A fresh textile graduate should do the job in a production unit for at least 2 years. He/she should also attend different training programs, seminars and understand the basic terms of textile and apparel business with a clear concept. They should also have basic knowledge in Microsoft word, excel, power point, etc.
Textile Today: What is your future plan?
Uzzal Dakua: I want to play my role as a great contributor to Bangladesh’s economy. Whenever I am serving for Echotex, I always think I am working for my country. If I bring an extra penny for Echotex, it means like an extra penny for my country’s economy. In this way, I want to contribute to my country’s welfare in the future also.