“Diversification of Products and Customer Base is Key to Business and Industry Growth” – Maheer Mannan

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Shangu Tex Limited is a leading woven apparel manufacturing company founded in 2001, providing dedicated manufacturing solutions to world-renowned brands for nearly 20 years. Shangu Tex Ltd. is one of the pioneering woven manufacturers in the RMG industry in Bangladesh.

Recently, Mr. Maheer Mannan, Deputy Managing Director of Shangu Tex Ltd. had a chat with the team from Denim Focus and shared his visionary thoughts, plans and business strategy for the woven sector growth. The conversation with this second-generation, young entrepreneur is drafted below for our readers.

Denim Focus: What are the challenges for the growth of the Woven Sector?

Maheer Mannan: Woven products mainly comprise outdoor and office wear. The pandemic has heavily affected the purchasing patterns of end consumers. In addition, Knit fabrication has a higher preference over Woven fabrication when it comes to indoor wear products demanded by consumers around the globe. Furthermore, buyers have drastically reduced the order quantities, and are reluctant to place new orders, given that their previous season’s stocks still remain unsold.

The backward linkage of locally produced Woven fabric lags far behind the current capabilities in Knit and Denim fabric production, hence the continued dependency on imported fabrics in the woven sector.

However, post-pandemic, with changing consumer purchase patterns, it is predicted that there will be an increase in demands for woven products, perhaps a leapfrog from the pre-pandemic demand trends. Changing fashion will also influence consumers to make these choices.

Denim Focus: How can we overcome those challenges?

Maheer Mannan: To begin with, I would advise purely woven factories to explore the plausibility of product diversification within their current capacity. At Shangu Tex, we have already started our Swimwear production. We must have the capability to manufacture diversified, value-added products to mitigate and counterbalance order shortages for any particular season.

Denim Focus: What are the product strengths of Shangu Tex?

Maheer Mannan: Our core product specialization is Men’s Shirts. Over the years we have expanded our capabilities in the production of Ladies Tops, Swimwear and Children’s Wear also. We take pride in our quality standards which we ensure for our customers. Our sourcing capability is well-spread worldwide and our partnered foreign and local fabric mills exceed the fabric standards expected by our customers.

Denim Focus: What are the future plans for diversification?

Maheer Mannan: We are focusing on Industry 4.0 smart manufacturing for the future, to transition from a labor-intensive production system to a more machine-intensive one. In terms of product strength, we aspire to be a multiproduct manufacturer, going forward we would like to expand our capabilities in Woven Bottoms, Outerwear Jackets, and Blazers. We continue to adhere to compliances, ethical sourcing, to add more global accreditations and certifications, as well as incorporate sustainability in our products.

Denim Focus: As a young director what is your expectation from newly elected BGMEA second-generation directors?

Maheer Mannan: This was my first BGMEA election as an enlisted voter representing Shangu Tex Ltd. as the legacy bearer after my father’s passing. We have great expectations from the new board amidst the ongoing upheaval within the RMG industry and related industries, hence, now more than ever, is the right time to bring in reforms that will be beneficial for the industry and the economy as a whole.

I believe the second generation board members are a dynamic group of individuals with versatile capabilities, intellect, and immense creative thought processes. I am well networked with all of them, we learn from one another and promote collaboration across the industry. We have learned a great deal from the first generation and continue to look up to their wisdom and leadership. This time around we also have the opportunity to hear the voice of the future leaders, adding further dimensions to board decisions in terms of business strategy, technological integration, product innovation, sustainability, leaderboard trends, social responsibility etc.. Looking forward to greater unanimous initiatives within the industry.

Denim Focus: Any Message to the Industry?

Maheer Mannan: The way to take the industry forward is to stand united and strong in representing our manufacturing strength, business ethics and rights in the global apparel industry. Would like to call all industry leaders to action towards this thought process.

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