Conversation with Industry Leader- Mr. Faruque Hassan

adv-06

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Mr Faruque Hassan is an iconic character with a lot of identities i.e successful businessman, promising RMG leader, great personality, happy husband and father, very well educated and so on. He is the Managing Director of Giant Group; Senior Vice President of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers & Exporters Association (BGMEA); President, the Dutch Bangla Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DBCCI); Honorary Consul General of Greece; Member, of the Board of Trustees, of BGMEA University of Fashion & Technology. Mr Faruque Hassan has completed his Master’s degree in Management from Dhaka University. He started his career in the garment industry in 1982 & became the business emblem of the industry. He has been elected thrice to Bangladesh Garment Manufacturer & Exports Association as a director. Textile Focus editor M A Islam Riyadh recently met Mr Faruque Hassan at his office and spoke with this glorious personal, professional and social persona. It was a very informal discussion. Key points of the conversation are noted below for our readers.

Textile Focus: You are holding so many responsible positions. How do you manage the positions and responsibilities?

Faruque Hassan: Yes, it is true that managing so many responsible roles is very difficult for me. I have my own business, and factory and also actively working to promote the sector and further development. I have been working on the branding of the Bangladesh RMG industry. I am lucky that I was engaged in business from a very young age. We had a brick field and then started a steel mill. I was a student when I started my involvement in the business. Then came the garment industry. At that time we had to fight a lot and the situation was very unfavourable.

We did not have any technical experts and we did not know which machine to purchase. For this, we had to travel a lot and participate in so many exhibitions. Bangladesh is doing very well in the garment industry, but it was not easy and we are competing with so many challenges day by day. We don’t have our own cotton and raw materials but we are now the second-largest apparel exporter in the world. We work on the duty-free, quota-free advantages. We have to make the buyers understand the scenario of the industry and the product quality, for this we need to represent our industry. This is how I am in the leadership to promote the industry all over the world.

I am involved in the Dutch Bangla Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DBCCI) as President, earlier I was the Vice President of the German Chamber, involved in the France & Switzerland Chamber of Bangladesh. This is how it is easier for me to manage the bureaucrats regarding our trade and business. Recently I have become the honorary consul of Greece which is a very prestigious position, I hope I will be able to play a more vital role in the business expansion of the Bangladesh market in Greece.

We have still a shortage of skilled manpower. For this, we initiated to start of an institute named BGMEA Institute of Fashion & Technology in 2000. I was one of the founding directors, now it is a full-phase university, BGMEA University of Fashion Technology (BUFT). We designed the courses and degrees more technical-oriented so that the students can get the proper knowledge. I worked last three years to shape the university and now the new campus with the latest educational and technological facilities. We are emphasizing on fashion, designing, trade, and economy. In future, we look forward to working in the jewellery and leather industry.

As a father, I have three sons, and my eldest son has joined our group. My wife is a fashion designer. It’s very difficult to manage time for family and friends and I have to compromise on a lot of issues for holding so many responsible positions.

Faruque HassanTextile Focus: How do you see the next 05 years of the Industry?

Faruque Hassan: As an industrialist look forward to our vision for 2021. At present, it can be considered a higher target. It is very tough and challenging but we have enough time. We are working hard for that. Our industry is passing a way of sustainable development. We have invested a lot in work safety, fire safety, building construction, environmental issues etc. We are now the safest industry in the world. We are also now working on the process of gradation and value addition. We have advanced in technological developments. For this, we are now able to produce more value-added products. We are becoming role models for the sustainable textile industry. Buyers are also getting more confidence working with us. We have a very bright prospect in our industry. Our government should support the industry more regarding infrastructural development, project speeds up, and gas and electricity connection. Also, we need appropriate support from the stakeholders.

We have already 67 LEED-certified green industries and more than 300 factories in process of certification, which is a remarkable example in the world. The industry is supporting the government as the government is getting more tax from this industry.

Personally, I will work on my factory gradation and value addition. As I mentioned my elder son joined our group, and I will try to guide him to organize the business with sustainable developments. As a leader of BGMEA, I will work more for the branding of our industry and nation internationally. I will try to source new markets for your industry. As an honorary councillor, I will work on the market expression of Bangladeshi products all over the world. As I am engaged with PCT (Partnership for Cleaner Textile) I worked on cleaner textiles and we have a lot of visible development on less water for dyeing and finishing. We are working on further development on the best use of surface water by using less water in textile production at every stage.

Textile Focus: As an industrialist how do you compare your time and now?

Faruque Hassan: The scenario of our time and now is completely different. There was no R&D and no idea how to start. We had to source all the items from abroad. There were no buyer offices. We had to travel a lot for buyer negotiation, raw material sourcing, packaging etc. There was no issue with compliance and worked overnight for shipment. We just copied the product as defined by the buyers. There was no scope for product variation.

At present the scenario is different. Now we have built “Made in Bangladesh” and we have proved it that we can. For the new generation, there are a lot of challenges as there are a lot of variations on products and the designs are rapidly changing. There is no scope for traditional products and everywhere value-added products are in demand. For this new generation should concentrate on R&D, value addition, design variation and on-time delivery. Now the market is very competitive and there are a lot of sources so only the quality product and services will survive.

word-textTextile Focus: What is the turning point of your business?

Faruque Hassan: I am fortunate that my father was a businessman. We had a brick field and steel mill. I was involved in the business of steel mills. My challenge was to get involved in an export-oriented business and that’s why I am in the garment industry. For business growth, export-oriented business is very important. I am fortunate that my father arranged good education for me we made me easier to be involved in the export-oriented textile business. Now, I think I have taken the right decision, I tried to support all my near and dear ones to be entrepreneurs in the textile industry. Even so many owners acknowledge my motivation for their business in the textile industry.

Textile Focus: What is your advice to the new generation?

Faruque Hassan: New generation should be right on time for business. Every second is important. They have the knowledge, and skills and they are living in an age of advanced technology so it is very easy for them to get all the necessary information, guideline and process. They must be prompt in decision-making and problem-solving.

Textile Focus: How do you prefer to pass your leisure time?

Faruque Hassan: I like sports. When I was a student at Residential Model School I played 1st division Hockey and also played cricket. Now I like to watch matches at the stadium. Actually, I don’t get a full holiday but I manage my leisure while working. I like to travel to historical and traditional places. For this whenever I travel for different business meetings and seminars I manage time to visit the heritage around. I would love to pass my leisure time watching sports like cricket, and football and travelling.