At a time when the coronavirus pandemic has posed all new challenges for the apparel manufacturing sector, there is an increased focus on collaborations and alliances to survive, sustain and excel in the changing global landscape.
Keeping this vital issue in perspective, ASW Marketplace organised a panel discussion on Wednesday (16 December 2020) to discuss and deliberate on the ways forward in terms of creating fruitful and mutually beneficial collaborations for business sustainability.
Living up to its promise of organising targeted panel discussions, webinars and workshops that would help the industry get a new direction and perspective in these times of pandemic-induced upheaval, ASW’s first panel discussion of the day titled ‘Re-Inventing Supply Chain Collaborations Between Bangladesh And India’, was attended by experts and stakeholders from both India and Bangladesh, all of whom stressed on the need to make a tectonic shift from transactional relationship to natural partnership to address the supply chain challenges and boost garment trade.
Senior Vice President of Technopak Advisors Amit Gugnani moderated the panel discussion participated by Mukesh Bansal (Senior Vice President of Vardhman Fabrics), Arshad Jamal (Chairman of Tusuka Group), Srihari Balakrishnan (MD of KG Fabriks) and Sandeep Golam (Group Operations Director, Denimach Ltd.- Armana Group).
Strongly endorsing the view on natural collaboration, Srihari Balakrishnan underlined the need for digital transformation of supply chain to attain versatility and cut time and cost, aligning with the changed sourcing strategy of the retailers.
In line with the same, KG Fabriks recently did virtual supply chain integration akin to that of Amazon Prime, which is expected to benefit factories that it supplies to in Bangladesh, immensely.
“We’ve been doing business in Bangladesh for around 3 decades now and, I can say, this country has grown phenomenally in its apparel manufacturing,” said Srihari while adding that when the world is talking about near shoring, focus should be on smart shoring amidst the changing retail scene and called upon the stakeholders to focus on D2C business model.
“Since there is a boom in D2C business model, India and Bangladesh need to focus on ‘Smart Shoring’ to enhance their joint efforts in garment business,” he said even as Arshad Jamal who is also the Vice President of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) identified logistics, design development and IT-enabled services as some major areas of collaboration between the two countries.
“I think one of the challenges both India and Bangladesh should work together is towards eliminating logistical bottlenecks as there is an urgent need to improve in this area,” mentioned Arshad, adding, “India is strong in IT-enabled services and Bangladesh must take benefit of this strength, while another aim for positive collaboration should be in the area of design and development.”
Arshad is open to taking help from a third entity jointly in the field of design development to take the mutual collaboration between the two countries to the next level.
Mukesh Bansal too supported the joint efforts of both the countries and said once the same country, India and Bangladesh are now two separate entities but the thoughts, ethos, culture and people on both sides of the border are still the same.
This commonality is a great catalyst in defining the future path of collaborative efforts between us, said Mukesh even as Sandeep Golam maintained that retailers operating in India need to exploit more the sourcing opportunities from Bangladesh.
“COVID-19 uncertainty has led buyers to buy smartly as the consumer’s spending has dried up. So, the companies in India as well as in Bangladesh need to adopt new ways and shifts to stay relevant and to dig better sourcing opportunities,” asserted Sandeep.
All the participants unanimously agreed that collaboration in textile value chain between the two countries is a must not only to stave off competition from China but also to put up a joint front to attract the global buyers as a region, to exploit the emerging opportunities.