True to its billing as one of the best garment technology-related fairs in the subcontinent, the 16th GARMENTECH Bangladesh 2017 showcased cutting-edge technology at International Convention Centre Bashundhara, Dhaka, between January 18-21, concurrently with the 8th edition of GAP Expo-2017 and 8th edition of International Yarn & Fabric Sourcing Fair.“Productivity, safety, compliance, efficiency, value addition, product diversification, fabric sourcing and packaging solutions are the challenges the RMG sector is confronted with to exploit the opportunities as it moves forward towards the leadership position in RMG manufacturing. The range and standard of apparel machinery on offer reflected the shift of the sector from quantity to quality and productivity, to value addition,” stated Saleem B, Director, ASK Trade & Exhibitions Pvt. Ltd., the organizer of the fair.
If GARMENTECH was able to bring under one roof the latest in apparel technology from across the globe, including the latest in sewing, knitting, embroidery, laundry, finishing, dyeing, CAD/CAM, printing, cutting and spreading machinery targeted at addressing the pressing concerns of the industry, the International Yarn & Fabric Sourcing Fair showcased latest collections of natural and synthetic yarns and fabrics and blends, both for woven and knit sectors to fulfil the demands of country’s apparel sector, actively looking at manufacturing value-added garments by sourcing newer and innovative blends of fabrics.
Almost all major brands in garment manufacturing technology were present at the event with their Bangladesh partners and most of them agreed that the country is a big market with great focus on automation. “The way Bangladesh is positioned today, it is the most viable alternate to China and all buyers are looking to increase sourcing from the country. On the other hand, labour is becoming a problem, so companies are getting serious about automation and the increase in demand for such machines is good news for technology providers like us,” said FooToon Pow, Managing Director, Focus Garment Tech. The company had on display automated solutions for different product categories including jeans and lingerie.
His views were echoed by most of the participants that included the likes of Euromac, Duerkopp, Juki, Jack, SunStar, Macpi, Sipami, to name a few companies in sewing technology. Besides the big names in sewing technology, many Chinese companies were also present at the event with their ‘value for money’ options that appealed to smaller manufacturers. Cutting solutions were also a great attraction, and Gerber, which earlier had one partner for serving Bangladesh, has added IIGM also, as the company sees huge growth. “Since cutting solutions are relatively new to the country, we need huge support in training and after-sales, so while our old partners continue to do good work, we felt the need to strengthen the effort,” said Louis Hoi, Sales Director AP (excluding China), Gerber Technology.
The booth of most of the technology providers was busy through the four days and many from the middle-level management were spotted at the event taking technical details and interacting with experts. While few participants missed the presence of the ‘big-bosses’, most of them accepted the trend as a sign of growing maturity of the industry. “Today, majority of the big garment manufacturers have diversified into other businesses and have dedicated teams for each arm who visits the event to take stock of machineries and solutions on display and make informed decisions. The days of entrepreneur-driven businesses are slowly getting over, being taken over by a professional way of running the show,” said Nandgopal K, Director, ASK Trade & Exhibitions Pvt. Ltd., reflecting the opinion of many of the exhibitors and visitors.
A case in point was Ajoy Kumar Majumder, Executive Director (procurement & supply chain), SM Group, who was busy interacting with many of the participants. “As one of the leading garment groups in the country, we cannot afford to be outdated and my job includes keeping abreast with latest technologies and other options that will make us more competitive,” said Majumder, who found the energy saving options in electricity for the factory very interesting. Visitors were thrilled at the displays, and from the mood it would seem that expansion and upgradation was on the minds of many. At the Bullmer booth, Jagath Priyantha, Director, Univogue Group, Chittagong that specializes in bottoms, was discussing what exactly he needed for his factories. Already a user of the technology, the company is looking to add some more solutions.
It would seem that lingerie is a definite direction for the industry as many exhibitors were showcasing technology for the same. Even the accessory manufacturers claimed that narrow fabrics like elastics was a growth area for them since the demand for the same was increasing by the day. The accessory manufacturers were showcasing at Gap Expo 2017. Into its eighth edition and co-organized with the Bangladesh Garment Accessories & Packaging Manufacturers & Exporters Association (BGAPMEA), the expo had the largest collection of accessories and packaging materials (including labels, zippers, tags, tapes, thread, ribbon, buttons, rivets, laces, hooks, transfer film, paper, ink, etc., along with related machinery) showcased by leading companies from Bangladesh and overseas. The big players like Montrim, Dekko, Cosmo, RSS Threads & Accessories, Dody, to name a few also made their presence felt at the fair.
Extremely happy with the outcome of the event, the organizers are already planning ahead. “The turnout this time has exceeded last years’ numbers and in terms of participation we have grown by about 20 per cent.The trade show reflects the buoyancy of the industry which is on growth path. One of our big contributions has been to give the industry the right kind of customers through this platform. Today good number of factory owners in Bangladesh wait for GARMENTECH to make their buying decisions.To sum up, we started with the vision of bringing the best of global technology to the doorsteps of the Bangladesh apparel industry and have been able to achieve that goal significantly,” underlined Nandgopal.
Throwing open the event, Bangladesh Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed reaffirmed the country’s firm resolution in reaching US $ 50 billion in garment exports by 2021 while underlining that Bangladesh’s export earnings will cross US $ 60 billion in five years… He further continued that export earning was US $ 14 billion when the Awami League assumed office this time and it reached US $ 34.2 billion in the last fiscal year… If this trend continues, the earning would exceed US $ 60 billion.
Stating that readymade garment (RMG) is the main forex earner of Bangladesh as nearly 82 per cent foreign currency comes from this sector, he said RMG has reached this stage overcoming difficulties and it also has the potentiality to proceed a long way. “More than 30 products of packaging and accessories sector are required for RMG and those were imported from abroad. Now the packaging and accessories products are being exported, meeting local demand and the export of this sector would stand at US $ 18 billion from the existing US $ 6.12 billion,” Ahmed continued.
“After an eventful 2016, RMG sector is on the fast track to reach the target of US $ 50 billion. The 16th edition of GARMENTECH Bangladesh has proved again that the technology destination of the RMG sector is to modernize, upgrade and move up the value chain. This edition has seen overall increase in terms of participants and as well as visitors,” concluded Tipu Sultan Bhuyian, CEO, Zakaria Trade & Fair International, co-organizer of the fair.