The 3rd edition of Garmentech, Chittagong (Bangladesh), organised by ASK Trade & Exhibitions Pvt. Ltd., was successfully held recently. Irrespective of its small scale, the show was able to draw decent crowd, which included decision makers and head of departments of garment factories in Chittagong. Around 50 exhibitors showed up at the event to cater to the needs of Chittagong garment industry and displayed products such as sewing machines, finishing equipment, CAD, boilers, servo motors and ERP.
Dealers such as Eastman Technocraft, Jack Machinery Import & Export, Juki Bangladesh Ltd., Pacific Associates, Uni Asia, AutoMac and Focus Garment Tech marked their strong presence with a gamut of technologies provided by European, Japanese and Chinese companies, while companies such as Zoze, Naomoto participated on their own.
Chittagong garment industry consists of both SMEs and some big groups. However, unlike Dhaka, the factories are not densely located in every part of the city and the need for technology also differs as the region is known majorly for woven segment with knit category emerging only recently. The same was evident in the show as visitors could find a number of exhibitors showcasing technology for woven segment, while knitting technology was not being displayed on that level.
In terms of technology, the shirt automation pioneer MAICA participated for the first time in the Chittagong edition of Garmentech in collaboration with Jack Machinery Import & Export and showed its automatic buttonhole indexer MA04. The machine, with its patented suction system, precisely ensures the buttonhole linearity and sews the front plackets of shirts of different width. The technology is originally from Italy so the industry still thinks that the machines may be costlier than the competitors in the same segment.
However, to avoid all sort of confusion, Carter Ding, Sales Director, Smart Sewing Centre (MAICA), Jack explained that gone are the days when MAICA used to be an expensive brand. “Jack acquired MAICA in 2017 and the manufacturing base of majority of automats has been shifted to China with which we are seeing at least 35 per cent reduction in our machine cost. We have also been successful in maintaining superior quality as it is something we can’t afford to compromise with,” informed Carter to Team Apparel Resources. It’s worth noting that MAICA recently installed its shirts automats in one of the factories in Chittagong and the company is expecting to target at least 5 more customers in next one year.
Fazle Karim Liton, Managing Director, Jack Machinery Import & Export talked about the industry’s inclination towards Jack’s A series of SNLS which is doing exceptionally well in Chittagong. Though, he said, the industry had been going through a slowdown since January ’19, it has started picking up from August onwards. “Apart from A series, our C4 and C5 flat lock machines are also being bought by knitted garment manufacturers and this way Jack is coming out of tag of just being a machine supplier for woven industry,” commented Liton.
Besides, to cater to denim and bra manufacturers in Chittagong region, Focus Garment Tech Pte Ltd. showed up with brands such as Robotech, Keki, Nissin, Vitoni and Pisani. Md. Kamrul Hayat, Country Manager, Focus Garment Tech Pte Ltd., explained, “Our denim jeans (Robotech) and bra machines (Keki) are getting great response in Chittagong and, as there are no other technology suppliers for these categories in this event, it is easier for us to tap larger chunk of the market here.”
As manufacturers are bracing up to eliminate productivity woes and cost challenges due to mismanagement in supply chain, they are receiving substantial support from the ERP providers. One such company is Skylark Soft Limited, which is entirely a Bangladeshi company that has created cloud-based PROTRACKER software to track real-time garment production from cutting to finishing. “We are a fully Bangladeshi company with a desire in mind to change the information gap and data accuracy for our RMG sector. Our software has been adopted by around 13 manufacturers in Bangladesh including Mondol Group which is one of the biggest garment manufacturers in the country,” shared B M Shorif, CEO, Skylark, adding, “Processes such as merchandising, TnA, PPC planning, inventory management, real time production monitoring and post-production tracking of pieces have now become cost-effective and easier for our industry.”
Japanese finishing company Naomoto Corporation was also present in the event with its basic irons, tables and steam generators. “My motto is not to sell 100 irons to 1 customer, but to sell 1 iron to 100s of customers,” stated Shuji Toda, Deputy General Manager (Overseas), Naomoto and added that reduction in non-productive things is something Japanese are good at and, following the mantra, Naomoto has developed such irons that reduce electricity consumption based on how customers use it in long run. “If operated as we guide, these irons are the best in the world in terms of energy saving,” averred Shuji. The company’s iron model CDP 420 is able to press variety of clothes made from variety of fabrics on even lowest of the temperature (110 degree Celsius) without affecting the garment’s fabric. “There will be no mark of irons ever on the garment,” claimed Shuji.
Visitors marked presence in significantly good number…
The visitation on the first day was low; however, it started picking up from second day onwards and the event witnessed teams of manufacturing companies such as Asian Apparels, Yunusco Group, NGF Corporation, F&B Apparels International, World Ye Group, Farkantex Ltd., Youngone and BSA Group which were on lookout for technologies relevant for their product categories. Buying houses such as S.M. Tex BD (Pvt) Ltd., Apparel Group and Infinity Sourcing also visited to find business opportunities. While the show served purpose of visitors who manufacture woven products, the technology for some product categories including sweaters, lingerie and other fine knit garments was actually missing that left some visitors dissatisfied.
Md. Arifur Rahman, DGM (HR and Compliance), Youngone Corporation, was looking for some SNLS machines with trimmers and other attachments useful in increasing the productivity of operators. Rahman is running a programme in Youngone in which he and HR team is training workforce in order to make them habitual of technology. “A lot of times it happens that manpower leaves the company if new technology is installed as they feel insecure. This is what I, as an HR, am addressing to eliminate by choosing those machines that can improve operator’s productivity as well as do not make them feel insecure,” stated Rahman.
Aminul Islam Khan, Executive Director, Fashion Watch Ltd. (a sister concern of Asian Group) opined that the company is both into knit and woven product segments and is producing around 900,000 pieces every month. “Events like this have always been useful for the industry based in Bangladesh and we get to know about the technologies available in the market that can be useful for production,” said Aminul.
Nurul Afsar, MD, S.M. Tex BD (Pvt) Ltd., was looking for knitting technology in order to suggest its partner factories how they can improve quality by adopting relevant technology. This buying house is primarily working for the Japanese market in fine knit products segment. “The manufacturing world knows the Japanese buyers are very particular about quality. Only technology can’t increase quality and operator’s skills are equally needed but deploying relevant machines with longevity should be the first step for the manufacturers. However, I couldn’t find here what I am looking for,” told Nurul to Team Apparel Resources.
Endorsing the same, Tipu Sultan, DM, IE Department, Pacific Jeans commented that the company is expanding in denim segment but he couldn’t find any machinery related to jeans segment as no European and Chinese jeans automation companies showed up in the event and the only available option was Focus Garment Tech.