Good practices for the apparel industry

11 October 2022
ITC News

ITC webinar discusses ‘Good Practices’ in the global apparel industry, based on its new publication.

The International Trade Centre (ITC) organized an online launch event for its publication ‘Good Practices in the Global Textile and Clothing Sector’ on 29 September 2022.

The panel discussion focused on design and pre-production, quality and production, and social and environmental responsibility in the apparel industry. The session was moderated by Matthias Knappe, Head of Fibres, Textiles and Clothing at the International Trade Centre and Rajesh Bheda, the author of the publication and Managing Director of Rajesh Bheda Consulting.

Design and pre-production

“International buyers are looking for suppliers with design development capabilities and are willing to pay for that,” said Venky Nagan, Former CEO of ASMARA International. While speaking about improving the pre-production areas, he said, “people who drive the time and action plan for a company are specialists, just like flight dispatchers whose ‘go ahead’ puts the flight into airborne mode. This ensures that there are no hiccups during production.” 

Kaan Ersoy, an entrepreneur from Turkey, spoke about the opportunities for fabric savings through pattern engineering which includes rounding the sharp corners of patterns and removing the marker buffers. “Any waste reduction contributes towards sustainability objectives,” he said.

Production and Quality

Bheda shared good practices of Zero Defect Operators, which are operators who do not produce or pass any defects from their operation to the next process. Based on the publication’s case study of a leading garment manufacturer from Bangladesh, he explained the process of inspiring workers who achieved the Zero Defect Status.

When visiting the factory floor, he saw shining green stars hanging on top of the workstations of operators with Zero Defect status, which he thought was aspirational.

Reflecting on another case study from Ethiopia, Bheda explained how substantial financial savings can be achieved through systematic problem solving and improving results in the cut-to-ship ratio.

C.B. Kannan, Senior Consultant at Rajesh Bheda Consulting spoke about the importance of method study training: “Limited investment in method study training by a Tirupur based company resulted in improving the company’s standardization of methods and helped increase the workers’ capacity, which in the end resulted in over 10% efficiency increase in production lines.”

Social and environmental sustainability

Gunelie Winum, Impact Advisor at Ducky in Norway, focused on good practices in ‘social dialogue’. If implemented with sound structure and regular interaction with the workers, through democratically elected worker representatives at the factory, it helps improve business KPIs. She shared a case study from Viet Nam where the turnover of workers, absenteeism and workplace accidents were reduced by 22%, 30% and 50% respectively, thanks to social dialogues.  

Mohammad Zahidullah, Head of Sustainability at DBL in Bangladesh, believes that tailor-made sustainability initiatives at his company, such as Bandhan fair-price shop and mothers@work, have made DBL a preferred employer who ensures the well-being of its employees. He shared his training experience and promoting women to supervisory positions and how this benefits the business: “The production lines managed by trained women supervisors were 2.98% more efficient.” 

Naresh Tyagi, Chief Sustainability Officer at Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Limited, on the other hand told about his company’s ‘ReEarth’ movement, which aims to give back more than it is taking from the mother ecosystem. His company has become water-positive across all operations, has Zero Waste to landfill and has over 1 million sq. feet built-up area certified with ‘green building standards’. “Sustainability initiatives throughout the value chain are an integral part of the group's DNA,” he said.

All panellists emphasized that sustainability initiatives are not only for larger companies but that also small businesses could adopt good practices, eliminate waste and reap business benefits. 

To conclude, Knappe explained that ITC will continue to collect additional case studies and good practices that will be featured on the new ITC platform, the Global Textile Academy.

Join ITC’s next webinar on good practices

ITC will host a second session on good practices on 13 October 2022 at 10:00 CEST. The discussion will focus on two of the publication’s chapters: Branding and Marketing Practices and Institutional and Sector-Level Good Practices.

Panellists include Faruque Hassan, President of BGMEA, Yohan Lawrence, Secretary General-Joint Apparel Association Forum, Sri Lanka, and Sheya Singh of Zashed Fashiontech, India.

To attend the webinar, register here: https://bit.ly/3KW3dgl.