B’desh, SL collaboration vital say experts | Page 2 | Sunday Observer

B’desh, SL collaboration vital say experts

Apparels sector experts and university dons speaking at a forum in Colombo last week urged both Sri Lanka and Bangladesh to forge stronger collaborative ties to develop the apparel industries of both countries which have enormous potential to rise up in the value chain with new designs and development.

Industry experts deliberating at the International Conference on the Apparel Industry organized by the Monash Business School, Monash University, Australia struck a note of optimism for greater collaboration between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka which possess thriving textile industries which make a salient contribution to both economies.

‘There is something different in Sri Lanka with lots done in design and development using 3D technology. Sri Lanka is a little bit higher in the value chain than other countries of the region. However, it needs to be lifted up in the value chain’

The apparel industry in Sri Lanka currently is a US$ 4.7 billion industry while the Ready-Made Garments (RMG) industry of Bangladesh generated US$$ 28.14 billion in export revenue during 2016/17. Bangladesh is the second largest producer of garments after China with over 4.4 million workers in the industry.

Bangladesh Apparel Manufacturers Association Senior VP Faruqur Hassan said Bangladesh can collaborate with Sri Lanka in areas of design and development making use of the technology, innovation and expertise of both countries.

Sri Lanka is ahead in terms of manufacturing high end garments evolving from a quota driven era to supply chain management and now looking at becoming a total solutions provider.

The industry takes pride in being a leading foreign exchange generator to the country aiming at surpassing the US$ 5 billion revenue mark shortly.

However, experts struck a cautious note that the industry should not be too complacent about its position in the global apparel trade which is rapidly evolving with the change in consumer needs, technology and innovation.

Chair of the Conference Prof. Amrik Sohal of the Monash Business School said value addition in both countries needs to grow while adopting new technology, improving leadership and developing skills.

“There is something different in Sri Lanka with lots done in design and development using 3D technology. Sri Lanka is a little bit higher in the value chain than other countries of the region. However, it needs to be lifted up in the value chain,” Prof. Sohal said.

Sri Lanka’s apparel industry is faced with more challenges emerging from disruption in the traditional brick and mortar industry continuing to be headwinds for growth, the challenge in meeting the aspirations of the higher income labour force due to the transition to an upper middle income country and the need to focus on improving productivity, minimizing human intervention through up skilling an technology growth. Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF) Deputy Chairman Saifuddin Jafferjee said globally manufacturing per se is yielding the lowest value addition in the total value chain and therefore front end services as innovation, product design and development, marketing, logistics and speed will be differentiators for the industry to focus in the future.

Prof. Jan Godsell of Warwick Manufacturing Group, UK said “the world needs to think of buying green, buying fair and buying less. We cannot simply buy and discard clothes. It is not good for the environment and for society. There needs to be new business models.

“McDonald’s has remained for a fairly a long period in the UK because of change and flexibility. Digitalization should not be done in isolation but hand in hand with other technologies,” he said.

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