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Garment industry gets a boost from USAID
Sep '10
Garment and footwear companies operating in the Shkodra region attended a USAID workshop to help them increase the quality of their manufactured products. Throughout September and October, USAID is sponsoring 12 workshops with Albania's leading garment and footwear manufacturers to improve their competitiveness and export sales.

The series of workshops will equip senior managers with practical tools and methods to improve productivity. Each workshop will show how to install management and quality control systems to reach efficiency targets and reduce production costs. By applying these tools and methods, Albanian garment companies can improve the quality of their products to meet international standards, helping them to more effectively compete in European markets.

“It is a common myth, that in order to improve productivity you have to make your operators work harder,” said Mr. Haycock, an industrial engineering expert in apparel manufacturing. “In reality, 80% of the reasons for poor productivity in a company are the responsibility of management.”

Albania's garment industry accounts for an estimated 27% of the country's exports and employs more than 40,000 workers.

“USAID is working in this sector because of the potential to increase sales for the companies and create more jobs for Albanian workers,” said USAID Mission Director, Joseph C. Williams. “It is important for Albania's economy to have industries and companies that develop high standards of quality and are competitive in the domestic and foreign markets.”

In addition to participating in workshops, seven Albanian garment companies are receiving further one-on-one technical assistance to create best-practice examples of high productivity firms. In the coming months, USAID will help these companies develop professional web sites and marketing materials and receive coaching to make the best of business-to-business meetings. In August USAID supported nine production and marketing managers from Albania's four leading garment companies to attend the Copenhagen International Fashion Fair in Denmark. During the fair, Albanian businesses held nearly 40 meetings with potential buyers, several of which plan to visit Albania for follow-up meetings in the near future.

USAID's workshops were made possible with the support of the National Chamber of Façon of Albania and the National Chamber of Garment and Footwear Manufacturers.

U.S. Agency for International Development

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