Established in the year 1998, Fakir Apparels Ltd (FAL) is a fully integrated garment manufacturing unit. Bakhtiar Uddin Ahmed, COO of Fakir Apparels, speaks to Fibre2Fashion about major concerns of buyers when it comes to sourcing apparel from Bangladesh and how the country is gearing up to play a major role in the global export market in the next 5-10 years.
What is your current company size in terms of people and manufacturing units?
We are a huge company. We have 10,500 employees, who are happily producing 200K units of knit and woven garments per day for export.
What are the 3 key government policies that have helped units like yours achieve size and scale? What are the challenges that you face in spite of government support to the industry?
Our government facilitated the Back to Back LC - BTB LC facilities, uninterrupted gas connections and incentives on domestic raw materials consumption which helped most of the RMG factories in Bangladesh to scale up. Government should strengthen the capacity and services of seaport, airport and help in export friendly infrastructure for easy transportation of goods. Already government has taken many initiatives to improve these things. Besides, every year increase in energy prices is affecting the manufacturing costs too.
Which are the main brands and retailers that you are catering to?
Our major customers to whom we are catering to are H&M, C&A, Esprit, s.Oliver, Primark, Oneil, POP, Gerry Weber, LPP etc.
Does any percentage of your product mix go to the domestic market within Bangladesh? How has the domestic market shaped up in the last couple of years?
We are not producing for local market; we are 100 per cent export oriented. As the per-capita income and buying capability of people in Bangladesh is increasing, domestic fashion market is taking a lead but not in a structured and organised way. Considering size of population and the present growing economy, the domestic market has every potential as China and India.
What per cent of your revenue comes from exports? Which countries are you exporting to?
We are 100 per cent export-oriented company and export mostly to Europe and some portions to US.
How many sewing, knitting and dyeing units do you have as on date? Are you planning capacity expansion in future?
We are a vertically integrated knitwear factory - we have all facilities/ processing units in same premise, like knitting- dyeing- wash-cut-sewing-print-embo and finishing. We have a very well-equipped design studio which we can claim is the biggest and organised design studio in town supporting customers by providing new trends and mood board.
We don't have plans for capacity expansion in near future, rather we are focusing on product innovation/ diversification and automation in present capacity/ facilities to scale up the capacity by increasing the efficiency.
What is your flagship product? What is the product mix under your brand?
Our core products are fleece jacket, fleece trouser, tee and polo in knit facility and all types of outwear padded jacket, down jacket, and seam sealed jacket. Thus, Fakir Apparels is capable to produce all types of knitwear and woven outwears.
Where do you source the fabrics and accessories from?
We produce our own fabrics. We source the yarn locally and from India, for trims 90 per cent is sourced from domestic suppliers and 10 per cent from China and other countries.
What are the best practices you follow in management, design, technology, production and planning to compete with global brands?
By focusing on TQM and lean management and processes, we are enhancing peoples' competencies, enabling world class manufacturing practices and processes.
For production and capacity planning, we use globally renowned software 'FastReact' and integrated ERP for end to end value chain where everything is transparent and traceable in real time. Besides, we have an established 3D software and VSR-Virtual Sample Room to visualise the virtual product development instead of physical samples, which reduces time and money and is also sustainable.
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