4th Industrial Revolution: Is the Textile Industry of Bangladesh Ready?

4th industrial revolution is knocking at the door!!! Are we ready? Bangladesh is gearing up for 4IR. The world economy made the most progress as a result of the industrial revolution. The present world is also based on an industrial economy. A total of three industrial revolutions have occurred around the world so far. These industrial revolutions have changed the course of the whole world, and the course of the world economy. How will it change our economy?  How is it changing the textile sector of Bangladesh? which challenges are to be faced for adopting 4IR? This article tries to answer all these questions as much as possible to give an outlook on 4IR.

What is Industry 4.0?

The latest industrial revolution is called “Industry 4.0” The fourth industrial revolution can be defined as the intelligent networking of machines and processes for industry with the help of information and communication technology. It is a combination of advances in artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, Internet of Things (IoT), 3D printing, genetic engineering, quantum computing and many other technologies. 4IR is mainly the digital revolution based on information technology.

   History of the Industrial Revolution

The Industrial Revolution began in the 18th century.  The Industrial Revolution began in England and then quickly spread throughout the world. The mid-eighteenth to mid-nineteenth century saw a revolutionary change in the production system in England and later in other countries. As the first industrial revolution took place in England, England was the first to establish colonies. His empire was all over the world. As the saying goes, the sun never sets on the British Empire. Next was France. Later industrial revolutions occurred in Germany, Russia and Italy. So they were far behind in the race for colonization. However, by the end of the 19th century, colonies were established almost everywhere in Africa and a large part of Asia.

Impact of Industrial Revolution on the Textile Industry    

The textile and apparel industry is one of the main sectors of industrialization in developing countries. The Industrial Revolution has a huge impact on the textile industry.

The First Industrial Revolution began with the invention of the steam engine between 1760 and 1820 or 1840, in Europe and America. Advances in the textile sector took place during this revolution, with the development of the first mechanical loom in 1785 by Edmund Cartwright. Spinning and weaving mills became mechanized and this ended the era of hand wheel production.

The Second Industrial Revolution began in the 1870s when electricity began to be used in industry. The effect of this revolution in the clothing sector was that sewing machines began to in a serial manner, resulting in the speed of production and consumption of clothing. The textile industry transforms from cottage to industrial assembly line.

The Third Industrial Revolution or digital revolution began in 1969 with the first use of programmable management systems. With this revolution, ICT has started to be used in industry and the transition from analog to digital technology.  Textile machinery become sophisticated and automated.

After three important industrial revolutions, namely the mechanical, electrical and digital revolutions, the world is now witnessing the 4th industrial revolution.

How Is It Changing the Textile Sector of Bangladesh?

Currently, Bangladesh is one of the largest garment exporters in the world. The industrial revolution is changing the textile industry of Bangladesh. First, machine methods were introduced in spinning and weaving. Second, they greatly shortened production times. With the generation of electricity, the production of clothing has also become easier. Currently, 4IR in the apparel industry is changing traditional operational methods through automation, artificial intelligence, 3D printing and knitting, robotics and intelligent manufacturing etc. As a result, Bangladesh has great strides in garment exports.

 As the RMG sector is becoming increasingly competitive through the adoption of 4IR technology, it is now imperative for Bangladesh to adopt and adopt technological advantages to maintain a greater share in global apparel exports

Benefits of adopting 4IR in the Bangladesh Textile Industry

  • Reduce cost and delivery time.
  • Increase productivity and efficiency.
  • Satisfied the customer.
  • Maintain better quality control.
  • Shift towards compliant and environment-friendly manufacturing.
  • Create sustainable business benefits.

Is Bangladesh prepared for 4IR?

Bangladesh is well positioned to take advantage of 4IR. It has a growing manufacturing base, skilled manpower and a creative entrepreneurial class. If Bangladesh wants to exploit the opportunities arising from 4IR, it needs to take some measures to overcome the problems of rapid technology implementation. According to a Bloomberg report, many more may lose their jobs to intelligent machines. Is our society ready for this threat of mass unemployment? Up-skilling human resources should be the first plan of action — the workers must be trained in new technologies and skills. Fortunately, our leadership is fully aware of the potential benefits of 4IR and the enormous tasks ahead. The Planning Minister assured a gathering of business leaders that the government would extend full support to the formulation and implementation of a national strategy to make Bangladesh 4IR-responsive. The country is set to periodically review its progress by setting specific growth targets for 2026, 2031 and 2041.

Difficult challenges to face in adopting Industry 4.0

  1. Technical Challenges: The textile industry has to face relatively new technologies. As a result, the shortage of skilled workers in this technology is a serious constraint. Workers must have “digital skills” to support manufacturing processes.
  2. Privacy and security: When a smart factory has numerous machines and devices connected to single or multiple networks, a weakness in any one of those devices can leave the system vulnerable to attack. Hence privacy and security of digital data are important issues for every industrial organization.
  3. Initial investment cost: Cyber ​​systems, robotics, virtual reality (VR), 3D product design, wireless sensor networks, data infrastructure and their integration cost are very expensive.
  4. Lack of a global standard: The lack of advanced global standards for Industry 4.0 for the textile industry poses an important disadvantage.
  5. Social difficulties: Number of the required low-skilled labour force to shift towards more high-skilled complex jobs. Which requires a more intense focus on emerging technologies. This brings important social problem like unemployment.

Conclusion:

The textile industry changed during the first industrial revolution. Then with the invention of new methods, the textile industry developed rapidly. The textile and apparel industry is on the verge of the 4IR. Therefore, the textile industry must be aware of new challenges and reduce production costs, improve productivity, promote industry growth, and change the structure of the workforce. To make the results of the 4IR favorable and in the context of the discussion about its various advantages and disadvantages, it can be said without a doubt that Bangladesh has already started all kinds of preparations to develop this revolution in its own way.

References:

  1. https://www.thedailystar.net/recovering-covid-reinventing-our-future/fourth-industrial-revolution-and-digital-transformation/news/preparing-bangladesh-the-fourth-industrial?amp
  2. https://textilelearner.net/industry-4-0-for-textile-and-apparel-industry/
  3. https://www.textileblog.com/industry-4-0-and-bangladesh-textile-industry-are-we-ready/
  4. https://www.lightcastlebd.com/insights/2021/12/the-4th-industrial-revolution-how-it-is-changing-the-ready-made-garments-sector-of-bangladesh/#:~:text=In%20the%20apparel%20industry%2C%20the,by%20introducing%20new%20consumer%20trends