Stitch for RMG- Global Innovation Conference

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  • Jun 23
  • 3 mins read

Collective Effort Will Pave the Way for Collective Prosperity

3 mins

Key Takeaways from Conference Day 01

Writers: Shegufta Armin Ahsan and Afrida Maroof

How can our RMG industry adapt to changing global trends and stay ahead of the curve? Day 01 of the STITCH for RMG Global Innovation Conference focused on rethinking the future of the industry in a world dominated by automation and technology.

Nearly 350 individuals from around the world came together on the inaugural day of the STITCH for RMG Global Innovation Conference to find the answer to one critical question – how can the RMG industry stay competitive and protect its workers amidst changing global trends? Here are our key takeaways from the sessions:

  • Collective effort by all stakeholders will be instrumental in helping the fashion industry adapt to circulation, sustainability, gender equality and technology in the next decade.
  • A clear problem definition, empathy, and an iterative approach to problem-solving will be needed to bring impactful solutions to the forefront.
  • Bangladesh is already at a disadvantage in the supply market segment due to a lack of product diversity, including the absence of non-cotton products. We need to focus on attracting FDIs through partnerships with local and foreign investors. Policies, such as 10% incentives for non-cotton-based apparel, can help to increase the opportunities for manufacturing non-cotton and synthetic clothing in the economic and export processing zones.
  • The industry needs to establish more bilateral and regional trade agreements. This is a matter of urgency as Bangladesh is predicted to graduate from its LDC status by 2026. If we want to retain preferential access to the EU market beyond 2029, we need to ratify all the 27 labor and human rights conventions.
  • The number of women workers within the RMG industry has fallen rapidly owing to a combination of social, systematic, and religious factors. To address this, we need to put social support systems in place so that women can balance their households and careers and help them move upwards into leadership positions. This will require policy level interventions and investments by relevant stakeholders. A critical challenge for us is to overcome the perception that women cannot handle technology.
  • Automation will replace menial jobs with skilled work, such as computer-aided designing. The focus, therefore, should be on training our workers so that they can be reallocated. Otherwise, these positions may need to be filled with human resources from other countries. 
  • In implementing lean and automation, change-resistant mindset poses the biggest barrier.
  • Automation, despite its high investment requirement, is the way forward. The benefits, in terms of quality and efficiency, far outweigh the costs.
  • Factories are also impacted by the image of Bangladesh in the global market. We need to work on creating a strong image and value proposition.
  • It is important to possess soft-skills such as conflict management, communication, and negotiation at the managerial level.
  • We must develop a comprehensive policy and roadmap to not only stay competitive, but also realize our full potential going forward.

STITCH for RMG symbolizes a collective effort to strike a balance between competitiveness and welfare. On day 01, we focused on the macro aspects of the industry and the future-of-work. Day 02 will present a sharper focus on the women in RMG and our role in supporting them. We hope you will stay with us for the whole journey!

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