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BAYLA addresses “How we can retain our spot by reducing lead time”

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Desk Report: The Bangladesh Apparel Young Leaders Association (BAYLA) is conducting a study on the recovery plan in Covid-19 to alleviate the fears of industry owners in such a situation. Research Program titled “Road to Recovery” will include multiple focus group sessions, interviews, and surveys involving 250 apparel industry leaders. BAYLA will publish a whitepaper on how to develop and strengthen the RMG industry as well as increase exports during or after the pandemic. As part of this research, BAYLA organized an online session on Sunday (August 15, 2021) on how we can retain our spot by reducing lead time. In this session titled “Leading with Lead Times” panelists discussed on how can lead time reduction help apparel sector and how to reduce lead time.

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Abdullah Hil Rakib, Managing Director of Team Group and Director of BGMEA; M I Siddique Selim Mahbub, CEO of Bay Creations and Director of BKMEA and Engr.Razeeb Haider, Managing Director of Outpace and R.A Spinning Mills Ltd and Director of BTMA were present as panelists.

The season was moderated by Ehsan Haq, Director of BAYLA and Director of Knittex Industries Ltd. In terms of the economy, Bangladesh has achieved tremendous success in the last decade. But COVID-19 pandemic has affected the RMG industry the most. Already Vietnam has pushed Bangladesh to 3rd spot by taking 2nd place in global RMG export. Other competing countries are also improving rapidly. It goes without saying that we need to increase research, capacity and efficiency to remain competitive in this global market. We need to Increase worker efficiency and use technology to reduce lead times.

Bangladesh MDC graduation is set in stone. Changing economic reality will slowly change the terms of agreement with importing countries. There is no alternative to massive innovation to keep offering competitive price to the buyers. We need to rethink about every section. We have to reduce cost as well as time. One of the sectors that has massive room for improvement is lead time. Today we need 90-120 days lead time to deliver orders. How technology and innovation can reduce this lead time and what can government, organization and companies do to reduce lead time is the discussion point for speakers.

Ehsan Haq, Director of BAYLA and Director of Knittex Industries Ltd started the discussion by saying “In Ready Made Garments sector Bangladesh’s lead time is comparatively higher than most. BAYLA thinks we have a lot of scope to increase efficiency in this sector. Personal negligence and collective misconduct increase the lead time at various stages from sampling to shipping. There is no substitute for identifying each point that creates lead time and taking actions to reduce them.

Abdullah Hil Rakib, Managing Director of Team Group and Director of BGMEA said “If we can understand the customers and if we do a lot of homework, we can reduce a lot of lead time. Particularly off docks are not efficient, we have got to train the people in off docks to load and unload properly. We have got to make a roadmap of today’s efficiency vs tomorrows efficiency. We still don’t work on a process driven system; we work on a people driven system.”

He also said, “BGMEA’s innovation center is considering a training program for 3d Sampling, where designers will be trained. Netherland fashion institute is collaborating with BGMEA to train at least 100 designers. This will help us reduce at least two weeks of lead time.

” M I Siddique Selim Mahbub, CEO of Bay Creations and Director of BKMEA said “Lack of handling equipment at docks cost us from 2 days to 12 days. It is created because of lack of skilled workers and lack of scanning equipment. If we can solve this issue, it will save up to 5-7 days at minimum.” He also said, “We depend heavily on imported goods for RMG. Port Authorities take 3-10 for sampling process. Solution to this could be that port authorities take a sample but release the goods. It will enable them to scan at their own time and enable us to receive imported goods earlier. Automation in the custom and management system is inconsistent and are some of the reasons behind the massive delay at the port. All together this causes for example about 70 days for a product to reach America.

” Engr.Razeeb Haider, Managing Director of Outpace and R.A Spinning Mills Ltd and Director of BTMA said “In my opinion backward linkage factories like spinning mill, weaving and dyeing mill play a vital role in lead time. One of the major problems is almost all raw materials are imported. We rely on imported cotton from USA, Brazil and India. Previously it took 45 days to import cotton now it takes 60-70 days. Another issue is fumigation. If there is even a single container from USA, all other containers need to be fumigated. This is due to Ball worm. Currently there is no need for fumigation but due to old law it is still being carried out. This causes lead time. There is inefficiency in port and all of these smaller issues are accumulative. If I want to address lead time then I have to ensure there is enough supply of raw materials in my warehouse. One solution to this is a dedicated bay or terminal for RMG at seaport.”