As global retailers and brands continue to streamline operations to save costs, manufacturing hubs like Bangladesh are looking to step up their game with technology.
Launching a new Innovation lab in Dhaka last week to focus on digitalization and integration of industry in the sector, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) is preparing to complement their advantage of plentiful labor with an artful look into the future. The lab, which will be located in the a building being constructed for BGMEA, will open early next year.
Bangladesh is the second largest garment manufacturer in the world, after China, and employs more than four million workers in the $33 billion export industry, and has spent the last seven years upgrading factory and labor safety, with millions of dollars invested by the global industry as well as local manufacturers. Factory owners are looking at technology as an essential way to keep up with global demand.
“Interoperability is a key requirement, as is the need to be more innovative and adaptive in these changing times,” Rubana Huq, president, BGMEA said, adding that the Innovation Lab shall be a first of its kind, state-of-the-art center.
The manufacturing industry in Bangladesh took a major hit with the Covid-19 pandemic and the cancellation of orders of more than $3 billion, leaving thousands of workers without jobs, and many migrating to their home villages amidst the ensuing confusion and chaos of factory closures and a country-wide lockdown.
The center will look at a greater use of 3D pattern drawing and design hardware and software from Lectra, a global integrated technology solutions company and Aamra Resources, which has been working with the garment sector in Bangladesh for the last 34 years.
Shamim Masudul Haque, deputy general manager Aamra Resources Ltd., who is responsible for the BGMEA innovation lab implementation described the project as another step in the transition into the future.
Although the company works with more than 1,000 garment factories, the resources offered from the center will raise the bar in terms of production across the board. “There are a lot of different solutions in the market as of now, 3D solutions, CAD, etc., and companies make the investment, but in the long run, where sustainability is concerned, they have to look at reinvestment and coordination with their global counterparts. The innovation center will bring in the latest technology available in the world, help to understand the new things and how best to implement them,” he said.
“The need to be globally aligned is key,” he said.