Brother’s 25-Year Odyssey in Bangladesh: Transforming the Fabric of Apparel Industry

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A Conversation with Country Head H N Ashiqur Rahman

With a rich history spanning 115 years, Brother a globally acclaimed company headquartered in Japan, is widely recognized for its innovation power. In a milestone celebration of 25 years in Bangladesh, Team Textile Focus had the honor of engaging in an insightful conversation with Mr. H N Ashiqur Rahman, the esteemed Country Head of Brother Bangladesh office. Recognized as a distinguished business leader in the Bangladesh Apparel industry with over a decade of exemplary service, Mr. Rahman shared profound insights into Brother transformative journey within the country.

Leading the operations of this venerable Japanese sewing machine company, Mr. Rahman has been instrumental in fostering growth and innovation in the local garment sector. As we delve into the interview, he unveils the profound impact Brother has made on the Bangladesh RMG industry, emphasizing the pivotal role played in enhancing cost-effectiveness and building industry capacity.

Stay tuned as we navigate through two and a half decades of Brother presence in Bangladesh, exploring the cutting-edge technologies introduced, the extensive training programs conducted, and the invaluable contributions made to economic growth and societal well-being. In this exclusive interview, Mr. H N Ashiqur Rahman provides a comprehensive perspective on Brother remarkable journey, reflecting the brand’s commitment to excellence and its enduring impact on the fabric of Bangladesh’s garment industry.

Figure: H N Ashiqur Rahman, Country Head, Brother Bangladesh

Textile Focus: How do you see the transformation of the Bangladesh RMG sector and the contribution of Brother in this sector?

H N Ashiqur Rahman: The transformation of the Bangladesh Ready-Made Garment (RMG) sector has been a dynamic journey, marked by resilience and adaptability. As the global apparel landscape evolved, so did the industry in Bangladesh. Over the years, we’ve witnessed a shift from traditional manufacturing to a more technology-driven and sustainable approach. Brother, with its rich legacy and a quarter-century presence in Bangladesh, has been a key contributor to this transformative journey.

Our commitment to staying at the forefront of technology has played a pivotal role in shaping the RMG sector. The introduction of cutting-edge solutions like the Internet of Things (IoT) has been a game-changer. This technology has seamlessly integrated into garment factories, optimizing processes, and enhancing overall efficiency. As the second-largest apparel exporter globally, Bangladesh’s RMG sector stands as a testament to its ability to embrace innovation. Brother, as a catalyst for technological advancement, has been instrumental in empowering the sector to not only keep pace with global demands but to set new standards for excellence.

Textile Focus: Could you please share with us the 25-year journey of Brother in Bangladesh and what are the major achievements?

H N Ashiqur Rahman: Brother journey in Bangladesh is a saga of continuous innovation, collaboration, and unwavering commitment. Over the past 25 years in Bangladesh, we have been part of the fabric of the nation’s industrial growth, witnessing and actively contributing to the evolution of the RMG sector.

One of our major achievements is becoming the sewing machine brand of choice for over 2000 garment factories. This isn’t just a statistic; it’s a testament to the trust that manufacturers place in Brother’s precision and reliability. Our role in training a substantial workforce, exceeding 15,000 industry professionals, goes beyond business. It represents an investment in human capital, fostering skilled individuals who have gone on to become leaders within the Bangladesh garments industry. We take pride in being pioneers, introducing state-of-the-art technologies that have set new benchmarks for efficiency and competitiveness.

Textile Focus: In the last 25 years, how has Brother supported the RMG Sector for business process automation? What are the latest innovations of ‘Brother’ that are coming?

H N Ashiqur Rahman: Brother’s commitment to supporting business process automation in the RMG sector has been unwavering. The introduction of IoT in our sewing machines is a prime example of our dedication to staying ahead of the curve. This technology has not only increased productivity but has also brought about a paradigm shift in how manufacturers approach production.

Looking towards the future, Brother is poised to redefine automation standards. Our focus is on investing in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies. These innovations will elevate automation capabilities to unprecedented levels. AI and ML will enable our sewing machines to learn and adapt, providing manufacturers with intelligent insights for further process optimization. The synergy of these technologies will not only drive efficiency but also contribute to the sustainable growth of the RMG sector.

Textile Focus: Recently, the Bangladesh government announced a 56% hike in the monthly minimum wage for workers in the RMG sector. In this challenging time, how can Brother technology help to reduce production costs and increase efficiency?

H N Ashiqur Rahman: The recent announcement of a substantial increase in the monthly minimum wage for workers in the RMG sector is a commendable step towards ensuring fair wages. However, it poses a challenge for manufacturers to balance increased labor costs with maintaining competitiveness. Brother advanced sewing technology, particularly our IoT solutions, emerges as a crucial ally during these challenging times.

Our technology addresses the imperative to reduce production costs without compromising on efficiency or product quality. By maximizing operational efficiency, minimizing downtime, and optimizing resource utilization, our IoT solutions empower manufacturers to navigate the complexities of increased labor costs. Real-time monitoring allows for proactive maintenance, reducing the likelihood of disruptions and ensuring a smooth production process. The result is not just cost reduction but a sustainable model that allows businesses to thrive in the face of evolving economic challenges.

Brother commitment to continuous innovation positions us as a strategic partner for manufacturers looking to adapt to changing economic landscapes. By investing in our technology, businesses can enhance their resilience, remain competitive, and contribute to the long-term sustainability of the Bangladesh RMG sector.

Textile Focus: What are the future plans for the Bangladesh market?

H N Ashiqur Rahman: Looking ahead, Brother is committed to further strengthening our presence in the Bangladesh market with a multi-faceted approach that encompasses innovation, sustainability, and collaboration.

Innovation remains at the forefront of our strategy. We are committed to staying ahead of industry needs and introducing technologies that not only meet current demands but also anticipate future challenges. Artificial intelligence and machine learning will play a pivotal role in shaping the next generation of sewing machines, setting new standards for efficiency and precision.

Sustainability is another key focus area for Brother. We recognize the growing importance of eco-friendly technologies in the global market. Our future endeavors will prioritize the development of sewing machines that align with the highest environmental standards. By providing sustainable solutions, we aim to contribute to the broader sustainability goals of the Bangladesh RMG sector.

Collaboration is integral to our vision for the future. We are exploring strategic partnerships with educational institutions to enhance skill development. By fostering a skilled workforce, we aim to contribute not only to the success of individual professionals but also to the growth of a skilled workforce for the future of the RMG sector in Bangladesh.

In conclusion, Brother envisions a future where innovation, sustainability, and collaboration converge to create a thriving Bangladesh RMG sector. We are committed to being a steadfast partner in this journey, fostering progress, prosperity, and sustainable growth for industry and the nation.