Bangladesh has huge opportunities for further development, this is the right time to convert your gaps to strength- Fabien Bertrand Liautard, Country Head, Jeanologia

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Jeanologia is an innovative and multicultural company with long experience in the development of sustainable and eco-efficient technologies for the finishing industry. The company was founded in 1994 by Jose Vidal and his nephew Enrique Silla, with innovation and human values as the primary columns. With a background in denim finishing consultancy, Jeanologia soon became a technology provider of sustainable textile solutions. Today Jeanologia leads the transformation of the textile industry with its disruptive technologies (laser and eco systems) that enhance productivity, reduce water and energy consumption and eliminate damaging emissions and waste, guaranteeing ZERO contamination. Jeanologia has their own office in Dhaka headed by Fabien Bertrand Liautard, Country Head, Jeanologia. Recently Team Denim Focus had a discussion with Fabien Bertrand Liautard regarding a recent business scenario. Key discussion points are mentioned here for our readers-

Photo: Fabien Bertrand Liautard, Country Head, Jeanologia

Denim Focus: In the pandemic situation, what is the recent scenario of Jeanologia business?  

Fabien: Our priority is the business growth of our customer partner and we are putting all our effort into it, especially in that pandemic era where any kind of investment is challenging.  It is obvious we are all in certain pressure and limitations for the price but the common point is everyone wants to consolidate business and overcome this challenging time. To match this price pressure, rather to reduce our quality machine, team, support and confusing the market to cover this gap like some suppliers do, we have increased our team globally to provide faster support, invested in strategical hub like in Hong Kong and Miami, and did huge investment in R&D  to upgrade all our technology to provide more productivity per machine  and thus less cost per garment without increasing price of the machine. This is our commitment, duty and responsibilities to maximize our customer benefit, financial return and profitability and this is precisely what we are doing. It is important market understand that the best proposal will never be the cheapest 

Denim Focus: How do you see the denim & jeans industry in Bangladesh?

Fabien: I have been in Dhaka for 06 years. Earlier I was in the Europe and Africa market, so I can give you a clear comparison. To be honest, Bangladesh is the Top. You have the most developed factories in the world, you have the mindset for long-term investment and focus on future, professional manpower. If you compare Bangladesh with other countries, Bangladesh is in a very fantastic position. This market has the opportunities to go to the next label and to make the brand “Made in Bangladesh” in the world. Price and volume are your strengths. You are in a better position comparing China, Vietnam, and Myanmar. In terms of competition, your biggest competitor is Pakistan. Price and volume are your strongest attraction. Moreover, transparency, clarity, sustainability and speaking to the market is the challenge for this industry. 

In terms of volume nobody can beat Bangladesh. You have huge opportunities for further development. This is the right time to convert your gaps to strength. Now you need to work together with suppliers, technology, man force, innovations including all types of the supply chain- from mill manufacturers, chemical suppliers, buyers, machinery suppliers to work together and try to make better products, greener projects, more sustainable projects and to ensure that everyone is winning. If you are doing those you will be number 01 and “Made in Bangladesh” will be a symbol of excellence.  

Denim Focus: Brands are focusing on sustainable products, what’s is the latest innovation of Jeanologia for sustainable washing?  

 Fabien: We are world leaders in sustainable and eco-efficient technology development, recently launched Handman the new technology that revolutionizes the jeans industry allowing it to reach the next level thanks to automation. 

  • With this milestone, we make sustainable production scalable.
  • Two people with two robots and eight lasers are able to produce 10,000 pairs of jeans a day sustainably.
  • Handman changes the relationship between brands, retailers and producers allowing them to be more strategic and interconnected.

With Handman, we achieve a new milestone by making sustainable production scalable. This technology is the beginning of a new era with a completely automated, sustainable and digital production. 10 years ago, introducing its technology, we started the biggest transformation that the Blue Jean industry had ever seen. But this was only the beginning. The industry still has deficiencies and continues to use archaic and polluting production methods. Only with automation is it possible to have clean and scalable manufacturing. Jeanologia has taken its inspiration from other industries that have been adapting to new times and technology innovations. For example, in the telecoms and the automotive sectors, people and robots are already working together.

Denim Focus: In this hard time, how do you see the Bangladesh market & What are the challenges you are facing? 

Fabien: Challenge for Bangladesh to reduce lead time. Now the technology and design are changing rapidly and orders are fluctuating. For this, the main challenge for the industry is Lead Time and competitive price. At the same time, the industry must ensure diversified design, shorter processes, manage local fabric suppliers, process optimization, and adopt the latest finishing technology. Good thing is that the Government is working on more development projects i.e. Padma bridge, Metro Rail, Infrastructure developments etc. Another challenge to maintain transparency in every step of work, especially mid-management, the right selection of technology and products. 

Denim Focus: According to industry owner’s day by day product price decreasing but machine price increasing, how do you evaluate this? 

Fabien: Owners are thinking that this is a very hard time to invest capital right now. Whatever the amount you have to take the proper decision. Competitive price, proper information, need to ensure more benefits from minimum capital investment. Why the owner will choose our machines and technology because -lower capital investment, less cost, less space, better services. It’s all about maximizing profits, benefits to the customer and moreover trying to ensure profit with quality. I can understand that management is confused as there are so many suppliers, technologies, agents, promoting the same brand. The most important is to only believe what they see, to check in the long run, not in the short term. Moreover, as the technology is changing, after 02 or 03 years who will give the support and services? We are losing some orders because of price. This is a fact, but believe me, they are losing the opportunities and we have some customers who changed their existing technology and are coming back to us again. The COVOD-10 situation has made a big issue in the market in raw materials and electronic components. Raw material price is high and there is a huge shortage of electronic components in the market, not only in Bangladesh but all over the world. How can you maintain the same quality at the same rate? What we are doing to support the industry is that we are providing more financial support to the company for long credit facilities. 

Denim Focus: What is the future business plan of Jeanologia specially for the Bangladesh market?  

Fabien: Same as before, keep investing in our customers. If our customers are successful, we will be successful, this is a win-win situation. Our technology reduces the cost per garment and increases profits. The industry needs more machines from Jeanologia. We have our full phase office to support the industry. We want to keep investing in “Made in Bangladesh”. The next step is to start a collaboration with the future generation. We want to invest more in collaboration with the universities. We want to train some future generations and to present them to the industry so that the industry can get some skilled graduates. The young generation is very confident, they have the mindset “Mad in Bangladesh”, commitment to sustainability and they think out of the box. We are still investing in our team.  We believe Bangladesh is our biggest market and it will be a bigger market for us. 

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