The denim fabric industry is gearing up for more local competition as many players are preparing to enter the fray in 2018. Every company is looking for greater differentiators and the importance of change is accentuated. At Aaron Denim, Md. Mazakat Harun, the Chairman & Managing Director and his son Sayed Ibn Mazakat, Director – Head of International Affairs, are not only fully aware of the challenges, but have already identified the areas that need attention and are working to fill up the gaps. In an exclusive interaction with Team Apparel Resources, the fatherson duo, make it clear why they are among the most upfront denim fabric manufacturers today.
There is no mincing of words, when the CMD of Aaron Denim admits that the denim business in Bangladesh is getting more price-sensitive by the day. “Buyers today have many options to choose from, and they are showing the same sample to almost all producers to get the best price. I can understand their concern, but in the process, they waste a lot of crucial time from the total lead period and the company that finally gets the order is left with hardly any time to manufacture and deliver, as per parameters defined,” argues Md. Mazakat Harun.
His analysis of the current situation is an interesting observation on the current pressures that manufacturers are facing today. “Buyers expect us to be compliant to ethical norms, but they too need to be compliant in their dealings. How can we deliver quality if enough time is not given to us,” reasons Md. Mazakat Harun. Adding to this thought, Sayed, the young dynamic Director of the company says, “We have to get into niches; the buyers will come to us exclusively if they have no or very little options.” His vision is to stop manufacturing all types of denim fabric that the buyer may require, as they do today and concentrate on few specialized categories that will get them higher value and also less competition.
As of today, Aaron Denim Limited manufactures 1.5 million yards of fabric per month and also has a capacity of 2.5 million yards for warping and dyeing per month. “The problem is that we do everything, from 4 OZ to 16 OZ, have a wide range of counts, colours, blends, stretch options, etc… We have lot of variety, and buyers come with their specific needs, and producing them on a scale is not turning out to be profitable as the quantity is often less; besides there is a long process and time involved.”
Over the years, the company has created flexibility to accept almost all types of orders – nominated, made-to-order and repeats. In the process, the company specializes in recreating any innovation that is available worldwide at defined price points. This knack has been made possible by a talent set of technical people who watch the market closely and develop samples that are currently in demand.
Sayed regrets that very little original innovation is happening in Bangladesh. “This has to change… We have to invest more on R&D and develop not just what the market wants, but also what could be in demand in the future. This is the biggest differentiator that we can create to ensure that the denim business continues to grow in the country and with individual players,” says Sayed with clarity. Accepting that things need to change is the first step forward, Aaron Denim has taken that step.
For years, the company has been working in ways that suited the requirement of the market conditions prevailing, but now old ways of working cannot lead to growth. This realisation has been brought in with the joining of Sayed, who with his global outlook, is able to look beyond what is happening today and work for the future. And even though the company has manufactured denim fabric for brands like M&S, OVS, Lidl, Mango, Zara, Primark, Bestseller, the focus now is to supply the final garment by offering a full package that would be both competitive in price and innovation.
Improving and investing in washing capabilities is one area that the company has identified and is looking to implement in the coming year. As of now, the company has a washing lab that functions as a sampling unit and development centre. Washing being a highly technical field requires not only the right kind of machines, but also technical staff. “All developments happening in denim are mostly coming from washing techniques and so our next expansion is in that area. But to justify the investment and also reap the real benefits of washing, we have decided to invest in a jeans manufacturing unit,” shares Sayed. He is very confident that rather than investing in backward integration (spinning), better value will come when the company produces the final product and exports directly to the retailers.
Buyers continue to look at Bangladesh for denim, as the country is positioned second only to China in the category… And Aaron Denim – under the leadership of a team that combines experience and fresh ideas, is gearing up to emerge as one of the winners in the category…, thinking of long term and willing to make the changes to ensure that the vision is realized.
“To be the preferred suppliers of tomorrow, we are working on all fronts which include green manufacturing, improving facilities, training, manpower and investing in product diversification,” concludes Md. Mazakat Harun.