The International Trade Centre organised an online launch event for the publication ‘Good Practices in the Global Textile and Clothing Sector’ on 29th September 2022. A panel discussion was organised on the occasion focussed on Design and Pre-production, Quality and Production, and Social and Environmental Responsibility in the apparel industry. The session was moderated by Matthias Knappe- Head of Fibres, Textiles and Clothing at The International Trade Centre and Dr. Rajesh Bheda- the Author of the publication and Managing Director Rajesh Bheda Consulting. Knappe introduced the publication, compiled under the GTEX Programme support by SIDA and SECO and explained that ITC shall continue to update this open source publication in future, to add more case studies from different parts of the world.
“International buyers are looking for suppliers with design development capabilities and are willing to pay for that” said Venky Nagan – Former CEO, ASMARA International. Referring to the case study in the publication, he emphasised for hiring a design leader for making a shift from CM based factory to a design lead factory. While speaking about improving the pre-production areas, he said “people who drive the TNA for a company are specialists, just like flight dispatchers whose ‘go ahead’ puts the flight into airborne mode. This ensures that there are no hiccups during production.” Mr. KaanErsoy from Turkey spoke, with a real-life case study, about the opportunities for fabric savings through pattern engineering like rounding the sharp corners of the patterns and removing the marker buffers. He opined any waste reduction would also contribute towards sustainability objectives.
During the session on production and quality, Dr. Rajesh Bheda shared good practice of Zero Defect Operators. With a case study of a leading garment manufacturer from Bangladesh, he explained the process of inspiring and training workers to achieve the Zero Defect Status. While speaking about social and financial recognition, he narrated the experience of visiting the factory floor with shining green stars hanging on top of the workstations of operators with Zero Defect status. This made Zero Defect operator initiative aspirational. With a case study from Ethiopia he shared how substantial financial savings can be achieved through systematic problem solving and resultant improvement in cut to ship ratio. Mr. C. B. Kannan, Sr. Consultant, RBC spoke about the importance of Method Study and improvement. He shared how limited investment in method study training by a Tirupur based company resulted in improvement in standardisation of methods and helped increase the capacity of workers significantly which resulted in over 10% efficiency increase in production lines.
During the panel on Social Environmental Sustainability GunelieWinum – Impact Advisor, Ducky, Norway, explained good practice of ‘social dialog’ implemented with sound structure and regular interaction with the workers, through the channel of democratically elected worker representatives at the factory, helps in improving business KPIs. She shared a case study from Vietnam where reduction in worker turnover, absenteeism and workplace accidents reduced by 22%, 30% and 50% respectively.
Mohammad Zahidullah – Head Sustainability, DBL, Bangladesh, is of a strong belief that tailor-made sustainability initiatives at his company such as Bandhan- fair price shop and [email protected] have made DBL a preferred employer and ensured worker wellbeing. He also shared case study on training and promoting female workers to supervisory positions and its business benefits. He shared that the production lines managed by trained women supervisors were 2.98% more efficient.
Dr. Naresh Tyagi – Chief Sustainability Officer, Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Limited, in his inspiring presentation explained ABFRL’s ReEarth movement which is aimed at giving back more than taking from the mother ecosystem. He shared that the company has become water positive across all operations, has Zero Waste to landfill and has over 1 million sq. feet built-up area certified for green building standards. ABFRL has been adjudged ‘Asia’s most sustainable company in textiles, apparels and luxury goods industry’ by S&P Global. Sustainability initiatives throughout the value chain are an integral part of the group’s DNA, he emphasised.
During the interaction the panellist also emphasised that sustainability initiatives are not only for larger companies, even the SMEs can adopt many good practices, eliminate waste and reap business benefits.
The publication ‘Good Practices in the Global Textile and Clothing Sector’ includes twenty eight good practices and thirty three case studies from multiple stakeholders from the global apparel industry woven together by Rajesh Bheda Consulting. “The publication has been created in the spirit of sharing, caring and inspiring”, emphasised Dr. Bheda while thanking all the contributors. He hoped that the publication, that is available on ITC website, will help the apparel SMEs across the globe in their journey of improvement, especially towards value addition.
ITC has planned a second session on the publication on 13th October 2022 at 10.00 AM Geneva time. The session will focus on two chapters of the publication: Branding and Marketing Practices and Institutional and Sector-Level Good Practices. The panellists include Mr. Faruque Hasan, President, BGMEA, Yohan Lawrence, Secretary General-Joint Apparel Association Forum, Sri Lanka, Ms. Marta Miller, Lefty Production Company USA, Prof. Vandana Bhandari, NIFT, India and Sheya Singh of Zashed Fashiontech, India.