Bangladesh offers huge potential in technical textiles (TT) and personal protective equipment (PPE) manufacturing as the global markets for these two items are projected to grow to $224 billion and $93 billion respectively by 2025, according to a study by Germany’s Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).
The study, however, identified a number of critical challenges, including uncontrolled unit costs and lead time, lack of certification for raw and processed materials, and absence of marketing intelligence and branding, that currently limit the country’s potentials to grab the global TT/PPE market.
The findings of the feasibility study, titled ‘Scaling up Production of TTs including PPEs in Bangladesh’, were disclosed at a recent webinar. Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) president Faruque Hassan and German ambassador to Bangladesh Achim Tröster spoke at the event.
Charles Dagher, one of the authors of the study, presented a list of the most important critical gaps that currently limit potential growth of the sub-sector.
He also mentioned that absence of collaboration within industry, low international recognition as suitable TT/PPE sub-sector supplier, little awareness among key players of traditional textile and clothing sector are negatively impacting its competitiveness, according to Bangla media reports.
Inadequate capacity to master new technologies, limited training for technical or human resources management, and slow customs clearance and other procedures are also affecting the growth potentials, he noted.
«Bangladesh should not market itself primarily as a low-cost and low-wage supplier. Rather, the country should brand itself as a reliable supplier of full package services and competitively priced products – conforming quality, safety and testing standards—to the major markets like EU and USA,» he added.
The study suggested concentrating on a limited number of products to establish reliable material supply channels, ensuring correct quality production, and attaining necessary certifications for products.
The study identified 18 products, of which 16 are classified as medical and two as non-medical. These products belong more or less to the same product family, allowing traditional textiles and apparel manufacturers to rapidly adapt their existing operations to the new product lines with minimal technical training.
Once successful production system is achieved, the sub-sector would be able to promote the ‘Made in Bangladesh’ PPE label further in the international market, start relationships with major PPE sourcing agencies, and attract more foreign and national investors for further development of the sector, the study recommended.
The study also suggested that all manufacturing processes must shift from the traditional push concept to pull production through application of lean principles to sustain or reduce costs, eliminate waste, and speed up deliveries.