2023 will bring New Challenges, We Have to be optimistic & Resilient

Rafia Anowar, Director, Textown Group
Rafia Anowar, Director, Textown Group

Rafia Anowar is a Director of Textown Group, a leading RMG industry in the knit composite garment category. Mrs. Anowar is an alumni of The University of Manchester and University College London (UCL). Having obtained her Master’s degree from UCL in Business Analytics, Rafia Anowar joined her family business to help expand the business. Her key goals include: strengthening their supply chain operations and optimizing efficiency using new technologies. Her other interests involve promoting Textown as a champion of environmental sustainability and workplace inclusion and diversity. Recently team Textile Focus had a conversation with Rafia Anowar. She shared many important issues, Read here mentions questions answered-

Textile Focus: Could you please share with us the Recent Scenario of the RMG Sector? 

Rafia Anowar: The overall performance of the RMG sector has not been as expected. Even though the dollar amount had increased this year it mainly resulted from the high-value orders that were placed with Bangladesh but it had no major impact on quantity. Additionally, due to the rising raw material prices a big chunk was ultimately passed onto suppliers. But having said all of this, we are optimistic about the sector’s future.

This year was big for us as BGMEA hosted MADE IN BANGLADESH week which was a fantastic initiative to help brand Bangladesh by showcasing our innovations and technical capabilities. This will help our industry incredibly going forward as these types of initiatives will help inform the world about the amazing things happening here!

Textile Focus:  Could You please share with us the Recent Scenario of Textown Group?

Rafia Anowar: Considering the rocky situation of the global economic and geopolitical landscape, Textown has performed quite well. Due to our commitment and quality, we had an advantageous edge with buyers and we are very happy that we could also grow our buyer portfolio at this time. Also, we are incredibly happy that this year we reached a record monthly production capacity in Textown’s History.

Textile Focus: The second generation takes the lead in the RMG sector! Some people say it’s a threat. How do you evaluate this? 

Rafia Anowar: I don’t think that’s true. As a matter of fact, the new generation joining the industry has been incredibly positive for the majority of the companies as we bring fresh new perspectives and have been successful in introducing new technologies. Also, I feel it is a blessing for us second generations that we are getting a chance to continue what our predecessors have started, and hopefully, we will continue their legacies to make them and the country proud.

Textile Focus: As a director of Textown, How are you supporting your company for value addition?

Rafia Anowar: Currently I am working on automating our business operations. I was initially overseeing the end-to-end process and once I had the hold of things, I started working towards implementing new technologies to solve inefficiencies and spearheaded 2 projects to uplift ourselves. The first project involves automating our management information system using an ERP. From what I had heard it’s a very challenging and difficult process given we have to change the way we do our day-to-day activities and as a result, a lot of the times these projects fail due to resistance to change. But at Textown everyone had an open mind and was on board with the project otherwise we would not have been able to pull this off in such a short time. Due to our resilience, I am proud to say we have rolled out the system across 2 departments in just 4 months which is especially challenging for a knit composite industry.

Team Textile Focus with Rafia Anowar, Director of Textown Group.
Photo: Team Textile Focus with Rafia Anowar, Director of Textown Group.

The second project came to my mind while having a conversation with a fellow industry senior a year ago. I learned from him about automating the sampling department and the perks he was enjoying using an advanced textile CAD. Given my passion for integrating new efficient systems, I immediately identified software that was being used by leading apparel buyers and formed a team for getting trained up. Interestingly an existing buyer proposed we start using this specific software and upon hearing we are ahead in training and development they were very pleased with us for taking the initiative.

Overall, I am also focusing on upgrading our tech infrastructure to get geared up for the next wave of the Industrial Revolution.

Textile Focus:  What’s your observation in the year 2022 and expectation for 2023? 

Rafia Anowar: 2023 is going to be a very critical year for everyone locally and all around the world. It will bring new challenges for us especially due to the global recession as we know, the cost of raw materials due to the Russia-Ukraine war, Bangladesh’s political environment, and also the geopolitical situation. What I mean by the geopolitical situation is Australia made Indian goods duty-free recently which resulted in orders being shifted away from Bangladesh which will continue. But we have to be optimistic and resilient as every year brings new challenges.