DBL Group, a diversified business entity which has vertically integrated textile and apparel manufacturing facilities, has a dedicated and skilled workforce of more than 28,000 employees. With annual turnover of $365 million for 2015-16, it supplies quality apparel to globally renowned retailers and focuses on upholding the reputation of the readymade garments industry of Bangladesh. Shohidul Islam, head - marketing, talks about automation and data exchange in manufacturing.
How has your business evolved since inception?
The DBL Group started its business in 1991. At first, it was only into exports of readymade garments (RMG). Now, it is a diversified business entity which has vertically integrated textile and apparel manufacturing facilities, with operations in dredging, VLSI Design, sewing thread, dyed fibre & yarn, ICT & telecommunications and ceramic tiles. It is a conglomerate of 22 concerns. The DBL Group supplies quality apparel to globally renowned retailers and is focused on upholding the reputation of the readymade garments industry of Bangladesh. DBL has achieved many awards for its best practices.
What is the size of the clothing industry in Bangladesh? At what rate is it growing?
The RMG sector is valued at $26 billion, which is the core of the Bangladesh economy. The average growth rate is around 12 per cent.
What is the contribution of textiles to the country's GDP?
The RMG exports to GDP ratio is around 13 per cent, 81 per cent of exports are attributed to the sector, and it is a significant source of employment for 4.4 million people, of whom 65-85 per cent are women. The industry aspires to reach $50 billion in exports by 2021.
With the emergence of new digital tools, what are the sustainable innovation opportunities for apparel manufacturers?
The RMG industry is labour-oriented and skilled labour is always short. That is the reason that apparel manufacturers are adapting to new technologies. With the new digital tools, manufacturers can achieve greater productivity. Thus, there are opportunities which are also sustainable. The following points demand for considering new digital tools in apparel manufacturing:
Using computer-aided design and digital data;
Artificial Intelligence in designing and sourcing;
Using virtual reality in fashion designing;
3D printing and designing with digital technology.
Where do you source the raw materials and machineries from? Are you planning to expand your verticals?
India, Pakistan, Sudan and the US are our main suppliers of cotton. We source yarn from India, China, Korea, Thailand and from few local spinners. Dyes and chemicals for wet processing units are imported from the best branded European suppliers. We equip our factory with the best machinery from European companies. Though ours is a vertically integrated production facility, we are strengthening our verticals with more varieties; in spinning, we introduced mélange yarn and to support this line, we introduced fibre dyeing in our own facility. Currently, we are planning for another processing unit, which will be fully dedicated to synthetics. Seamless knitting for intimates is another product line, which will enrich us in the near future.
What is the demand for laser engraved clothing in the domestic and international market?
In the ever-changing fashion clothing market, there is always a demand for new technology. Laser engraved clothing are used for fashion garments. Also, there is a growing demand of promotional clothing with the logo engraved (for branding). The main limitation is cost, but it has a huge market potential for fleece and thicker fabrics fashion. Laser-engraved apparel is truly a great choice.
What are the opportunities for digital printing in textiles?
Low overheads, high quality and more efficiency are the benefits of digital printing technology in textiles. A shorter cycle in production and rapid changes to new design features make it a very popular printing technology. Endless designs, limitless number of colours and easy design transfers are other positive aspects, ensuring huge opportunities.
Tell us about the retailers and brands you are associated with.
We are working with a number of brands and retailers. Our major buyers are H&M, Goerge, Walmart, Puma, Esprit, G-Star Raw, Bonita, Gerry Weber, Decathlon, MQ, Gymboree, Lidl, M&N, Next Sourcing, etc. We also supply finished fabrics to Adidas, Reebok, etc.
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