Human Resource is surprisingly the most neglected area in apparel manufacturing in spite of being labour intensive industry. Training, re-training, career path counselling, etc. were never heard of in garment manufacturing facilities. However, in recent times things started changing and now at least in most middle-to-large organizations there is an HR Department; in isolation there are various innovative approaches towards developing human resource. Although much needs to be covered yet, we bring you few of the articles that addressed this crucial issue.
John Irvine in his article “Is There Any Value in HR?” (March 2009), defines important roles of HR in apparel manufacturing context. The article provides the key considerations and things to look out for while hiring, training, evaluating and promoting an operator. It also listed down the procedures from recruitment to termination. Akhilesh Anand discussed the best HR practices at Network Clothing Company in the article Network Clothing Company – The ‘Best Practice’ Company (May 2008). He explained the group incentive system which included weekly wages, rewarding the workers for producing right first time, providing recreational facilities to the operators and offering gold coins to them on getting married, among others incentives.
In Operator Skill: Single or Multi? (October 2008), Paul Collyer, Roberto Inglesi and Prabir Jana attempt to find answers to this critical question. Multi-skilling an operator makes him/her simply a ‘jack of all operations’ but master of ‘no single operation’. But, can or should anyone avoid multi-skilling of operators? If not, to what extent should an operator be multi-skilled so that he/she retains the mastery (specialty) of performing any operation? The authors argue that operators should not be taught any specific operation rather be trained on generic skill sets like sew two straight pieces together, sew multiple small bursts with pivoting in-between, sew concave to convex curve, apply easing, precision stop with needle down, etc. Certain operators should also be trained on attachments from day one in de-skilled operations.
Corruption threatens good governance, sustainable development and fair business practices. To arrest corruption, companies should put in place a comprehensive and integrated policy at various levels of operations as detailed in Industry Integrity Program: Fighting Corruption “Promoting Integrity” (October 2009). The formal business integrity policy should have a formulated code of conduct and implementation. It should be properly documented and a senior member of the firm’s management staff should be appointed as the representative of the policy. Berlin-based organization Transparency International in its recent ‘Index of Corruption’, which basically measures perceived levels of corruption in different countries and focuses on the misuse of public offices for private benefits, found that Finland remained the least-corrupt country in the world; US ranked 18th whereas India ranked 83rd.