Irrespective of whatever the market conditions and challenges are for the Bangladeshi garment exporters, some of the companies are moving forward into multiple directions. Posh Garments, Dhaka, is one of them. Offering quality womenswear, the company is working on multi-fronts and expects a steady course in the second half of the current fiscal as the first half was rather disappointing since the whole industry had struggled to fetch enough orders. The company is adding new products to its product basket, exploring sustainable material, improving the system, increasing efficiency, expanding capacity and exploring new markets. Apparel Resources recently met Wasim Zakariah, Director, and discussed core strengths, strategy and future plans of the company.
Moving towards completing four decades of its existence, Posh Garments is more into value-added garments rather than basic. Its primary product category is ladies’ blouses and dresses. It recently started manufacturing skirts and women’s trousers, thus offering a wide range of products in a single segment (ladies). The company was willing to increase its product range, as buyers were looking for more products in one segment in one factory rather than going to the different factories where only tops or bottoms are made.
Due to product category, fabrication varies with chiffon, polyester, satin, viscose, linen, etc. “With this expertise, the learning curve is relatively less. So with fewer efforts, we can do more products,” said Wasim. The frequency of style changes per sewing line; sometimes it’s even two styles a week. The company can do a short run of 500 pieces per style or even 1,00,000 pieces or more per style. “Our flexibility, skill sets and product category make us different compared to many other factories. As a whole, it increases the opportunity for us,” he told.
Completing 9 years with the company, Wasim is an alumnusof the University of Arizona, Eller College of Management, US. He is also the Chairman of Standing Committee of BGMEA on RDTI (Research, Development and Trade Information) Cell and Standing Committee of BGMEA on SDG Affairs.
“Our Government has set 39+1 National Priority Indicators (NPIs). Many of them are common to 17 SDG goals (an initiative taken by UN to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all),” Wasim told. Some Bangladeshi companies have been reporting on SDGs. “Most of the garment manufacturers are meeting some of the SDGs goal but they are not reporting about it. BGMEA has already taken initiatives to raise awareness among the garments manufacturers and to train them how to report as per GRI (Global Reporting Initiative) standard. These initiatives need to spread globally, so the buyer and stake holders should know how we are contributing towards a better world.”
The next focus for the company is to increase productivity as this is one area where most of the Bangladeshi factories also need to work. And the company is well aware of becoming overall efficient; training and development of middle management are very critical. “Workers as well as middle level professionals should be on the same track to become more efficient. In all such activities, the role of human resource (HR) is very important. So we have sought professional consultancy, formulated HR policies and now implementing them. This is one vital area where we need a continuous process for improvement,” Wasim informed, further adding that along with HR development, a company has to give certain tools to its management staff as well. Posh Garments has invested in Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software solution. It reduced a lot of paperwork and increased efficiency, raised accountability and transparency in the system. The company has been making salary payment to all workers and staff electronically for the last three years. It is also planning to give incentives to workers for higher productivity and to educate them about physical and mental well being.
Europe, the second biggest consumer market, was the core focus of the company so far. The main reasons for the same include Europe’s political stability, clear set of rules, ease of doing business, and developed markets; besides, company’s products were preferable to Western Europe. “We have been greatly dependent on Europe for years, but now we need to look at the other markets also to diversify. We have already gone to Mexico and Singapore. Both are niche markets. India, Australia, Russia, China are the markets where we see potential,” shared Wasim, also underlining that more visibility is required to explore non-traditional markets.
“Promoting ourselves, apart from attending trade fairs, we need to increase our digital identity and publicity to promote our products and build a positive image of our industry,” asserted Wasim, who strongly believes that branding Bangladesh is another most important aspect in this regard, which means not just cheap labour, but being the safest garment manufacturing hub as well. The industry not only has the highest number of green factories, but also has made a huge transformation in terms of work place safety like no other country which needs to be conveyed across the globe.
Scoring high in sustainability
Working with many well-known global retailers and respected brands, Posh Garments is BSCI, SEDEX, GOTS, ISO 9001, Oeko-Tex certified and audited by Accord. The company just started production of garment where fabric is made from recycled polyester yarn.
Posh Garments is very strong at the quality front as its recheck/rework is less than one per cent. Naturally, the credit goes to the system maintained in the company. ‘Do it right the first time’ is the mantra to bring out the best in quality. “It is very challenging sometimes to follow such high benchmarks, as it impacts the production speed. But anyhow we do it, and buyers recognise our effort for the same,” concluded Wasim.