Azfar Hassan, son of Mr. Faruque Hassan, President, Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers & Exporters Association (BGMEA), is a Director of Giant Group. Azfar started his career after completing his undergraduate degree from University of Toronto with an Honours Bachelors of Arts, with a Major in Digital Enterprise Management (Communication, Culture, Information, and Technology) and a Minor in Political Science and Sociology. He has also obtained a Certificate in Digital Communications from Sheridan College in Toronto, Canada. Azfar’s heart belongs to his home and his aim is to be able to bring it success and protect its resources. Recently team Textile Focus talked with Mr. Azfar regarding industry situation. Key points of the discussion are mentioned bellow for our readers-
Textile Focus: What inspired you to join in the Textile & Apparel sector and how you prepared yourself to run a big business?
Azfar Hassan: I grew up hearing about textile and apparel, with 5 uncles and of course my father deeply immersed and passionate about the industry, all conversations would eventually lead to textile. Coming from a family that has such love for the industry it was quiet shocking to me to see the view of the world outside of Bangladesh. I left Dhaka at the age of 12 to study in a boarding school in Malaysia. I then moved to Toronto to complete my University. I always got the outside perspective of the Apparel industry of Bangladesh, which at most times was very negative. That negativity took an influence over my thoughts for years, but once I returned to Dhaka, I had a drive to make changes to the industry I grew up loving. I wanted to and still want to channel my energy to not only improve the industry but also to rectify all the negative international perspective I grew familiar to in my time abroad. I knew joining the textile and apparel sector would allow me to makes changes that will make a lasting impact for so many people. I never prepared myself to run a big business, I prepared myself to continuously learn, improve and also fail. My father made sure I learn from the bottom and the most important part of the chain, spending my first few years on the factory floors learning from the very basics. It was important for me to gain the confidence and the knowledge to take the responsibility to represent and work for the company that my father and his older brother has built.
Textile Focus: People used to say ‘second generation is a threat for the business’ how do you evaluate this?
Azfar Hassan: We are anything but a threat. I have had the privilege to interact with many colleagues that are second or third generation like myself. In all my long talks about work ethic, the industry and the impact we want to create, I can honestly say that the people I have met are hard working, eager and extremely perspective and I couldn’t be more proud to be apart of this group. Our talks make me hopeful for a future, and renew my drive to do great things. The ‘threat’ would only come to companies who have second generations taking the lead without dedication and work ethic, the ones that come to take the throne not caring about how it was born; most of these kinds of leaderships tend to fail.
It is safe to say, the industry is in good hands.
Textile Focus: What are the recent scenario of Giant Group & what are the challenges are you facing?
Azfar Hassan: Giant was born in a country that struggled through a hard won independence; We give to the society more than we take from it. We make textiles, and we foster people. At Giant, social and environmental impacts are as important as growth; people’s enterprise & creativity are more valuable than the machines they work with. Our organization seeks to minimize waste, promote recycling, reduce energy consumption, reduce harmful emissions, and where possible, to work with suppliers who are committed to caring and protecting for the environment.
We are facing difficulties negotiating the price that we deserve. The buyers tend to push us to the edge and we have competitors taking it even if there is a loss. We are continuously dealing with the buyers costly and at times unrealistic demands in terms of compliance and other requirements. Another lesson learnt is the importance of exploring new markets. Giant is mainly condensed in Europe and USA. During the pandemic some of our buyers/partners resorted to unethical purchasing practices by reacting with cancellation of orders, we had little option to place orders in other destinations at one hand, on the other hand we had less bargaining power with the buyers to secure our rights. So we are focusing on increasing our export in non-traditional markets like South Korea, Japan, Brazil and India.
Textile Focus: What is your future plan and how you want to contribute more to the sector?
Azfar Hassan: The future with Giant is to get the maximum output with the resources we have at our disposal. I do not plan to make my factory bigger, before utilizing its maximum potential. I would like to work on increasing our overall efficiency, not just in the sewing lines but in every department and most importantly our people in all levels.
Branding our industry around the globe is very important. I would like to work on this closely with BGMEA and BAYLA. I believe that the image of Bangladesh is what often prevents us from getting those higher prices. Although the basics and large quantities have gotten us thus far, and for that I am grateful, it is important that we establish ourselves as a emerging premium market. Through innovation, research and development we must show the world that we too can do what our competitors in Vietnam, China, Sri Lanka, ( etc) can do.