As worldwide fashion retailers and brands continue to restructure operations to curb costs, manufacturing centers like Bangladesh are turning to technology to step up their viability in the long run.
This can be observed in a recent launching of an Innovation Lab in Dhaka to focus on digitalization and integration of industry in the sector, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) is making to balance their advantage of abundant labor with an artful look into the future.
The new annex BGMEA will house this innovation lab, which will open early next year.
After China, Bangladesh is the 2nd largest garment manufacturer in the world. With more than four million workers in the $33 billion export industry, and has spent the last seven years upgrading factory and labor safety, with millions of dollars invested by the local apparel manufacturers.
Now readymade garment (RMG) factory owners are looking at technology as an essential way to keep up with global demand.
“Interoperability is a crucial prerequisite, as is the need to be more innovative and adaptive in these changing times,” said Rubana Huq, President, BGMEA.
Adding that the Innovation Lab shall be a first of its kind, state-of-the-art center.
The Covid-19 pandemic hit year has been a nightmare for the RMG manufacturing industry in Bangladesh. As it took a major hit with the cancellation of orders, delayed payment, asking illegal discounts, and withholding payments by global buyers of more than $3 billion, leaving thousands of workers without jobs, and many migrating to their home villages amidst the ensuing confusion and chaos of factory closures and a country-wide lockdown. Exposing a significant flaw in the so-called sustainable western brands’ double standard.
The innovation center will look at greater use of 3D pattern drawing and design hardware and software from Lectra, a global integrated technology solutions company and Aamra Resources, which has been operational with the clothing sector in Bangladesh for the last 34 years.
Shamim Masudul Haque, Deputy General Manager, Aamra Resources Ltd., who is responsible for the BGMEA innovation lab implementation described the project as another phase in the transition into the future.
Although the company works with more than 1,000 garment factories, the resources offered from the center will raise the bar in terms of production across the board.
“There are a lot of different solutions in the market as of now, 3D solutions, CAD, etc., and companies make the investment, but in the long run, where sustainability is concerned, they have to look at reinvestment and coordination with their global counterparts. The innovation center will bring in the latest technology available in the world, help to understand the new things and how best to implement them,” Masudul Haque said.
“The need to be globally aligned is key,” Masudul Haque added.