The failure to diversity products and explore new markets are proving to be a major factor behind the loss of competitiveness with other exporting countries. – Md. Shamsul Huda Sarker, Director-Marketing, Fabian Group

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1989 was the year FABIAN Group took its birth in Bangladesh, fired by the spirit of coping up with the growing demands for garment accessories in this part of the world. FABIAN Group has a strong presence in the Apparel fraternity with Fabian Industries Ltd, manufacturer of “FBN” zippers, the 1st zipper manufacturing industry in Bangladesh, producing all types of zippers, i.e. Metal, Nylon, and Plastic etc. Its current capabilities of being able to produce “Special Type” technology, smooth-and-sharpness-free, metal zippers are well-acknowledged and appreciated by the entire bottoms manufacturers in Bangladesh. Growing demands for sewing thread, Polyester and Embroidery, are met by Fabian Thread Limited with its manufacturing facilities at Chittagong. A multi-color polyester thread is the latest addition to this product range, which serves the purpose of fashion and function, particularly for ladies’ garments. Recently Denim Focus editorial team talked with Md. Shamsul Huda Sarker, Director-Marketing, Fabian Group. Key points of the discussion are mentioned for our readers.

The failure to diversify products and explore new markets are proving to be a major factor behind the loss of competitiveness with other exporting countries.

Md. Shamsul Huda Sarker, Director-Marketing, Fabian Group

Denim Focus: Please mention the overall scenario of the sewing Thread & Accessories Business.

Shamsul Huda: Bangladesh is producing only some ordinary counts that are mainly using in producing knitting garments and plain type is woven garments. But in world garments market is now using fancy yarn, core yarn, and slub yarn etc. modern types of yarn for making more attractive apparel. Bangladesh also has demand for Nylon thread for leather and shoe factories which are mostly importing. But Bangladesh still now doesn’t introduce this high technology in their product manufacturing system. As a result, Bangladesh is losing to create a new potential market.

Currently, there are more than 35 sewing thread factories in Bangladesh. Major six factories – three of them are a foreign-local joint investment (Coats, Amann, A&E ) and the rest three are locally owned company( Simtex, Well Thread &  Etafil ) – are supplying 70%~75%  of the current demand.

Factories import RAW thread under bond, as per current policy, to make shipment need L/C, UD & UP Where numerous banks, BGMEA and NBR is involved. It makes the sewing thread delivery process length & customers dissatisfied. This is a major t area where the concerned authorities should take some initiatives to make it easy.

Since the backward linkages industry is connected with the RMG sector, it is obvious that the impact of COVID-19 will fall on the accessories industries. China is a global HUB of raw materials but their production capacity still lower than the pre-Covid level and to ensure on-time material the importers are ordering more ahead of the Chinese New Year Holidays in February, which is another reason for the price hike.

The prices of Raw materials are going up at a time when the exporters are facing several challenges such as price cuts by the global buyers, less work order than capacity and work orders hold/ Cancellations.

To make Bangladesh more competitive in the global arena, the government should provide additional and financial benefits to the locally produced raw materials. Then this sector will be more self-dependent.

Due to Covis-19 some of the RMG factories could not pay the outstanding invoices to the backward linkage factories, which may have a drastic impact or even damage some of the businesses of the backward linkage.

There seem to be no alternatives available to the backward linkage players to recover the accounts receivables during this crisis. Most factories are underutilized or about to be shut down, especially as there are limited or no orders now.

Denim Focus: What was your observation of Covid-19 of the RMG Sector?

Shamsul Huda: We have passed over 40 years in RMG exports but still we have been producing and exporting low price category products. Bangladesh Mainly exports five items: T-Shirts, Sweater, Trousers, Jackets and Shirts which together constitute more than 70% of our Orders. We have failed to draw the attention and trust of buyers about the fact that our capacity in all respect has now reached the level to produce high category products. Our competitors like Vietnam, China, Cambodia and India are still making the high-priced category of product.

We have to strengthen our negotiation skills with buyers for better pricing. The failure to diversify products and explore new markets are proving to be a major factor behind the loss of competitiveness with other exporting countries. Due to Covid-19 when orders are less in the market. We are badly competing with each other and offering less price to buyers.

Recently we have seen some GO-political tensions between the USA and China also Between China and India which might open up further exports and joint venture opportunities for Bangladesh. Bangladesh can seriously think of its next best export destination as china. This is also stirred by the recent declaration of Chinese authority about the Zero Tariff Access to 97% of its goods imported from Bangladesh.

As nobody knows when the world might be free Covid-19 we must consider the situation and make business strategies. The Pandemic spread throughout the world is providing the opportunity for Bangladeshi Garments manufacturers to produce products essential for the Covid-19 Pandemic. Since March   some of the foreign buyers canceled their original products and re-ordered a protective product like masks, PPE, Glove, gowns for medical staff etc

Denim Focus: What are the Specialty of Fabian Group as a Bangladeshi Manufacturer?

Shamsul Huda: Fabian Group of Industries commenced its journey with Fabian Industries Ltd (FBN) the first zipper manufacturing unit of Bangladesh in 1989, FBN began with only a handful of machinery producing a single kind of zipper aiming to assist the newly found apparel industry in the country. Today Fabian group of Industries is one of the largest local garment accessories manufacturers and stands proud of its decades of experience, growth and goodwill that has been earned through its loyal and hardworking employees and well-wishing customers. Fabian Group (Fabian Industries Ltd, Fabian Multiplex Industries Ltd, Fabian Thread Ltd, Fabitex Industries Ltd) now producing Zipper, Meta/Shank/Snap Button, Eyelet, Rivets, Printed label, Woven Label, Offset Printing solutions & Elastic. FBN complies with industrial compliance and also certified with Oeko-Tex, ISO, TQP. Quality that excels U.K, E.U, USA Including CPSIA standards and requirements. All FBN factories are outside EPZ, which helps us to give better support to customers with Minimum documentation.

FBN (Fabian) nominated accessory supplier of many international brands including H&M, C&A, Kohls, Matalan, Regatta, Ikea, Inditex, Sears, K-mart- Australia, Kiabi, Carrefour Auchan OSTIN, SOLS  etc. Now a day’s sustainable products are trending among the buyers, to fulfill the buyer’s demand FBN acquired GRS Certificate and supplying Sustainable products

Denim Focus: What are the Challenges and Opportunities of accessories Business?

Shamsul Huda: Bangladesh holds the 2nd position in apparel Export, right behind China. However, when it comes to accessories, Bangladesh is far behind. The main reason behind it is our lack of proper branding of our production capacity and product rage. When it comes to China, almost all buyers know that China has a huge capacity and can produce wide range of products. not only does this result in China getting the nomination from buyers but also getting good price for their products.

Bangladesh has huge potential for accessories business, we must try to promote our products to main buyers to get nomination or approval from them. Furthermore, to meet the demands of the new products we should have an R&D department. To ride on the market wave need to bring product diversification. Now a day’s green products are trending among the buyers, so we must focus of this new product.

The Government of Bangladesh can also do a huge favor by allowing a few stalls for displaying our accessories in various international trade shows of RMG products. This will help to familiarize our product to foreign buyers.

Even a few years back, most of the country chiefs of foreign buying offices were foreigners, However,the tables have turned now and the country chiefs of some major buying offices are Bangladeshi, as for example H&M, Carrefour, Puma, Celio, G-Star, Kiabi, Gloria Jeans etc are led by Bangladeshi and if these local leaders can help us promote our products, it will result in great progress.

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