Supply-Chain in Ready Made Garments

The readymade garment (RMG) sector is a success story for Bangladesh. The industry started in the late 1970s, expanded heavily in the 1980s and boomed in the 1990s. The quick expansion of the industry was possible because of the use of less complicated technology, cheap and easy to operate sewing machines, and relatively cheap and abundant female workforce.

But, apparel firms in the country have moved into a challenging position in the new millennium. The challenge is now to offer high-quality, low-cost products within a short lead time; and to meet health, social and environmental compliances in the face of increasingly stiff competition.

To face these challenges, the apparel makers should focus on effective supply chain management as it will ensure delivering the right product to the right place at the right time at the right price, say supply chain experts.

“Effective supply chain management is the way to offer high-quality, low-cost products within the shortest possible lead time as it integrates the whole apparel supply chain as one,” says Ejazur Rahman, managing director of Mind Mapper Ltd, a leading management consulting firm.

He says the entire apparel supply chain is made up of every organization involved — from the initial fiber supplier to the consumer purchasing the products.
Rahman, who is also the chief executive officer (CEO) of International Supply Chain Education Alliance (ISCEA) Bangladesh, says, “The readymade garment (RMG) manufacturers need to start working together with all the supply chain partners, as the landscape of low cost sourcing countries is about to change. Buyers in the future would be more interested in TCO (total cost of ownership) rather than just the unit price.”

Buyers in the future would also look at the implications in sourcing materials and even services from half-way across the world, he adds.
“So, we should consider the whole apparel supply chain as one, adopt a fact based approach upon thoroughly understanding current realities, invest in the appropriate skills and constantly monitor and adjust to optimize results in an ever-changing world,” says Rahman.

Roger Hubert, vice president of Li and Fung Bangladesh Ltd, a Hong Kong based apparel sourcing company, says, “Business firms should align their supply chain strategies with all the business processes and their competitive strategies, to augment the supply chain efficiency.”

As supply chain management starts at raw materials planning and spans customer service, he adds, alignment of all processes with the supply chain is critical. “If we do not align it with every single process, we will end up with supply delays, quality issues and delivery of wrong products.”

The CEO of ISCEA-Bangladesh says, “Supply chain management is the hidden lever that can magically lift the total business performance of any company.”
Therefore, the government, the readymade garment (RMG) units, the textiles units and all other supporting partners of the apparel supply chain need to come together to become a part of one chain, define a common competitive strategy and align its supply chain capability accordingly.

Bangladesh now is known as “Little China” for Ready Made Garments export to worldwide!!!