2023 is going to be challenging for all of us- Rajeev Kumar Dubey, CEO of Progress Apparels (Bangladesh) Ltd


Creating a world-class manufacturing base-Progress Apparels (Bangladesh) Ltd sister concern of PDS Multinational Group. Recently team Denim Focus visited Progress Apparels (Bangladesh) Ltd and talked with Prominent Industry expert Mr. Rajeev Kumar Dubey, CEO of Progress Apparels (Bangladesh) Ltd.

Denim Focus:  Would You please share your thoughts about the Recent Scenario of the Global RMG Sector? 

Rajeev Kumar Dubey: Talking about the global RMG sector, currently the whole world is going through inflation of the currency, especially the USA. Due to insufficient buying power, people are buying essential products more rather than buying garments. As a result, the brands already have stocks of garments and they are not providing new orders to Bangladesh. There is hope that the USA might get back into a good buying situation soon after Christmas.

So, we all are keeping our fingers crossed until Christmas. If during Christmas, there is a good sale in the USA, then the stocks might go away from the brands and brands will start buying garments again & we can get new work orders. That is the only hope we have now.  Similarly, the European market is going through the same situation. There are some perceptions that the brands will buy 20-25% less this year, though it is not decided till. It is true that we have some different orders from the European market, but they have not canceled any orders.

Let’s keep our fingers crossed until Christmas & hope that everything will be fine in the post-Christmas situation. According to me, it should be fine by the month of April which is the 2nd quarter of 2023. The First 3 months of 2023 will be challenging for all. The orders are fewer, but the makers are more. As a result, the companies are receiving the orders at whatever price threw by the buyers. Most of the factories have no work order for post-February. So, people are pitching in at a very low cost. That is the scenario of the Global RMG Sector. But there is hope that after April or May 2023, things will be better.

Denim Focus: Could you please share with us the History & Future Plans of Progress Apparel? 

Rajeev Kumar Dubey: Progress Apparel Ltd, a part of PDS Multinational Group, was started in 2017. While we started doing well, we got stuck by the pandemic. That was a global crisis and during that time, we could not make any profitability. During the post-pandemic time, we restarted our factory in 2021.  For the last 1 and a half years, we are making good progress. We have consulted ourselves in terms of customer basis, skill matrix, and mixed product. We are all aligned and the good thing is that we are making good profits.

Again, we are getting skilled workers due to being in the zone.  Also, we are scaling ourselves in terms of both efficiency and marketing. PDS Group has the plan to extend in the next 5 years. Also, the same plan for Progress Apparel Ltd. Currently, we are making 60 million USD per year and we have the plan to go for more than 100 million USD per year, in the next five years.

Denim Focus:  What are your Expectations for the Upcoming Years in Bangladesh Market?

Rajeev Kumar Dubey: 2023 is going to be challenging for all of us. For the first 6 months (till June 2023), the market is going to be some. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for the post-Christmas time and hope that all the inventory in USA & Europe gets down and we start to get new orders. I am seeing that Bangladesh will go back to regular manufacturing, production & exports by post-April 2023.

Denim Focus: As an Industry Expert with 11 years of Working Experience in Bangladesh, What Would You Like to Say About the Gap Between Bangladeshis & Other Countries?

Rajeev Kumar Dubey: Truly speaking, I love Bangladesh. The people here are very honest and very hard-working. Since the entire country’s economy is standing on the Garments Section. The government as well as the export processing zone is very supportive. As foreign investors, we do not face any kind of problem, including manpower. Managing skilled manpower is a very challenging matter as 80 – 90% of the garments business is run by manpower.

The only gap I see comes in pitching is in terms of numbers & finances. I think the overall education system of the country is not so high when it comes to the operation, running factories, and financial parts of a business. That is where I feel the country should have a correct strategy in place – to get the correct number and to get the correct finances. Apart from that, I believe that the people of Bangladesh are very skillful in terms of manpower, mid-level manpower.

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