Get­ting the right man­power in gar­ment fac­to­ries some­times is a chal­lenge. Spe­cially, in a coun­try like Bangladesh where over 4 mil­lion work­force is churn­ing out gar­ments day in and day out, the chal­lenge is even big­ger due to the rise of au­to­ma­tion.

Stitch World - - CONTENTS -

In 2014, Bangladesh set RMG ex­ports tar­get of US $ 50 bil­lion to be at­tained by 2021. How­ever, with the cur­rent re­sources, tech­nol­ogy im­bibe­ment and ca­pac­ity build­ing, the gar­ment ex­port in­dus­try of the coun­try presently stands at US $ 29.21 bil­lion and the in­dus­try is very scep­ti­cal about the ful­fil­ment of this tar­get. The Delta Group, led by Engineer A.K.M. Faruque Ahamed, Chair­man & Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor, is one amongst such groups which is con­tribut­ing sig­nif­i­cantly to take the coun­try’s vi­sion for­ward by set­ting up new gar­ment fac­to­ries, cre­at­ing new jobs and adopt­ing au­to­ma­tion. Team StitchWorld goes deep to find out the com­pany’s vi­sion and strat­egy for the fu­ture.

In or­der to sus­tain and then be­come prof­itable, the gar­ment in­dus­try needs to defy all the con­ven­tional busi­ness prac­tices and old method­olo­gies. The Delta Group– a US $ 190 mil­lion group– is fol­low­ing the same mantra as it has de­vel­oped it­self as a com­pos­ite group hav­ing knit­ting, dye­ing, fin­ish­ing, sewing, print­ing, em­broi­dery and wash­ing units – all un­der a sin­gle roof. The Group is al­ready pro­duc­ing knit­ted gar­ments in its sis­ter con­cern, The Delta Qual­ity Fash­ions Ltd., whereas its highly au­to­mated denim fac­tory The Delta Qual­ity Den­ims Ltd. will be­come fully op­er­a­tional by June 2018. Ac­cord­ing to Ru­pak Chakraborty, Di­rec­tor (Op­er­a­tions & Mar­ket­ing) of both the com­pa­nies, most of the denim fac­to­ries in the coun­try are old. “It’s tough for them to change in­te­ri­ors, switch from man­ual op­er­a­tions to au­to­ma­tion and im­prove the in­fras­truc­ture sub­stan­tially in the same premises. But, we are prob­a­bly one of the few fac­to­ries which has laid the foun­da­tion of a whole new au­to­mated denim set-up by chal­leng­ing our­selves,” shares Ru­pak. With the in­stalled tech­nolo­gies, Delta has re­duced hu­man in­ter­ven­tion, salary bur­den and has im­proved the flow of pro­cesses to a great ex­tent. The in­fu­sion of the lat­est au­to­mated tech­nolo­gies is also help­ing the com­pany to main­tain the qual­ity de­sired by the buy­ers and that too at a much lesser cost than the mar­ket price. This makes Delta a trusted com­pany in the mar­ket in an era where most of the man­u­fac­tur­ers are crib­bing about los­ing or­ders due to their fail­ure at keep­ing the unit prices of gar­ments low and, at the same time, to be able to main­tain a high qual­ity level.

As we are a new en­trant in denim, it was im­por­tant for us to have ad­vanced tech­nolo­gies, oth­er­wise we won’t be able to com­pete with the renowned and al­ready ex­ist­ing denim fac­to­ries.”

- Ru­pak Chakraborty

Ac­cord­ing to Ru­pak, the en­tire op­er­a­tions, right from cut­ting to pack­ag­ing, are au­to­mated in the newly de­vel­oped Delta Den­ims. The cut­ting di­vi­sion has spread­ers and cut­ters used are of BOK which is a lead­ing Chi­nese player in this seg­ment, mak­ing the cut­ting process both ef­fi­cient

and ef­fec­tive. “Though, in the mar­ket, there are other renowned brands too in the cut­ting seg­ment, my de­ci­sion of opt­ing for BOK is pay­ing div­i­dend to me as I am able to save at least 30 per cent cost in cut­ting di­vi­sion to­day,” claims Ru­pak.

Fur­ther, the com­pany has carved a niche for it­self through a gamut of Euro­mac jeans au­tomats as Delta’s pro­duc­tion floor con­sti­tutes 88 sewing lines and each line has around 54 ma­chines. “We have a ca­pac­ity to pro­duce 2500 - 2800 pieces of jeans per day per line,” shares Ru­pak stat­ing that with man­ual in­ter­ven­tion, the com­pany would have needed 65 work­sta­tions with at least 14 helpers while cur­rently it is op­er­at­ing on just 54 work­sta­tions with just 4 helpers, sav­ing the cost of 11 work­sta­tions and man­power which is com­mend­able.

Delta Den­ims has au­tomised the pack­ag­ing di­vi­sion too where fi­nal pack­ing of the gar­ments is done by blow­ing air in poly bags. Hence this di­vi­sion of the com­pany is also sav­ing the cost in­curred on hu­mans.

Be­sides, Delta will in­vest US $ 1,00,000 in ERP in or­der to strengthen its pro­duc­tion and wash­ing plan­ning of 88 sewing lines.

The ben­e­fits that Delta is reap­ing to­day are surely go­ing to in­crease its two new gar­ment units to be­come fully op­er­a­tional. How­ever, in­stalling tech­nolo­gies and bring­ing the best out of that has never been an easy task for the com­pany. Ex­plain­ing the com­pany’s view point of in­vest­ing so much in au­to­ma­tion, Ru­pak com­ments, “As we are a new en­trant in denim, it was im­por­tant for us to have ad­vanced tech­nolo­gies, oth­er­wise we won’t be able to com­pete with the renowned and al­ready ex­ist­ing denim fac­to­ries which are more than 20 years old in Bangladesh and plenty in num­ber.”

Un­con­ven­tional yet en­tic­ing shopfloor prac­tices mak­ing Delta surge ahead

With the way busi­ness is shap­ing up in Bangladesh, the fac­tory own­ers are in­clin­ing more towards the con­cepts which help in im­prov­ing shopfloor man­age­ment as well as ef­fi­ciency. Go­ing one step ahead, Delta is util­is­ing the avail­able data in the most op­ti­mum way as it be­lieves that the sys­tem­at­i­cally ar­ranged data can help the com­pany be­come bet­ter in pre-pro­duc­tion plan­ning stage, and thereby in the sub­se­quent pro­cesses.

Tak­ing a dif­fer­ent route from the con­ven­tional prac­tice where a mer­chan­diser han­dles the data en­try task of a new gar­ment or­der, Delta has hired a ‘Busi­ness An­a­lyst’ to en­ter the data in its ERP soft­ware. Ru­pak, in a con­fi­dent tone ex­plains, “Sup­pose you have the fol­low­ing data – 10,000 pieces of In­di­tex, Bot­toms, SMV 15 min­utes, de­liv­ery date 60 days from to­day. As per stan­dard prac­tice, the data is fed in the soft­ware and then we know if it is telling us the right time slot of ac­com­plish­ing the or­der within the next 60 days. It will tell us the avail­able time slots as well as the ways we can man­age the or­der amidst the al­ready run­ning pro­duc­tion. Even if we are over­booked, the ma­chine will sug­gest to dis­trib­ute it on mul­ti­ple lines even if it’s just a work of 2 lines. I will lose ef­fi­ciency here. Hence, we need a busi­ness an­a­lyst who will un­der­stand the busi­ness right from the start to the end and will know how to play with this data so that I do not lose my pro­duc­tiv­ity.”

It’s a fact that ma­chine re­quires data to be fed into

it and this is where Delta has im­pro­vised. “Now what we do is ei­ther we pre­pone all book­ings and ap­provals or reshuf­fle all the lines so that we don't lose money on new or­ders and on the other hand, we also do not de­crease pro­duc­tiv­ity on al­ready run­ning or­ders. This is what an ef­fi­cient busi­ness an­a­lyst can do for us,” boasts Ru­pak.

How­ever, im­prov­ing pro­duc­tiv­ity does not just de­pend on data man­age­ment. Sens­ing the fact that man­ag­ing a fac­tory is a very com­plex game, both ver­ti­cals (gar­ment di­vi­sions) of the Delta Group are ex­ten­sively work­ing to lower the im­pact of crit­i­cal el­e­ments such as buy­ers’ pres­sure of re­duc­ing mar­gins that can break or make a fac­tory. Delta Fash­ions has ded­i­cated some spe­cific num­bers of lines to the spe­cific prod­ucts. 10 lines have been ded­i­cated to chi­nos whereas, car­gos are be­ing man­u­fac­tured on 15 lines. In­ter­est­ingly, no other prod­ucts are ever di­verted to th­ese lines nei­ther are more lines as­signed to th­ese prod­ucts in or­der to bal­ance the lines and the pro­duc­tion of other prod­ucts. “Our strat­egy also in­cludes the line al­lo­ca­tion and, ac­cord­ing to us, this is the only way to sus­tain in busi­ness else you are out,” as­serts Ru­pak.

Fur­ther, the fac­to­ries have im­ple­mented proper qual­ity sys­tems as per stan­dards that have helped Delta re­duce the re­jec­tions. In fact, the De­fects per Hun­dred Units (DHU) at Delta cur­rently stands at just 4 per cent, which is quite an ap­pre­cia­ble fig­ure. “Gen­er­ally, peo­ple have 7 per cent DHU which is not at all rea­son­able. Right plan­ning, right tools, right SCM...are keys to bring the DHU down,” ex­plains a pos­i­tive Ru­pak.

Train­ing of man­power plays key role in growth

Get­ting the right man­power in gar­ment fac­to­ries some­times is a chal­lenge. Spe­cially, in a coun­try like Bangladesh where over 4 mil­lion work­force is churn­ing out gar­ments day in and day out, the chal­lenge is even big­ger due to the rise of au­to­ma­tion. In this sce­nario, Delta be­lieves to hire only those peo­ple who are at least diploma hold­ers and ma­tured enough to han­dle the ex­pen­sive sewing au­tomats. “I do not as­sign sewing and mon­i­tor­ing task to the op­er­a­tors who are not diploma hold­ers as it can cost se­vere dam­age to the ex­pen­sive ma­chines,” says Ru­pak fo­cus­ing on the com­pany’s be­lief that it’s a ‘Right Man’ be­hind the ‘Ef­fi­cient Ma­chine’.

Fur­ther, once the em­ploy­ees are hired and have spent some days in un­der­stand­ing the mech­a­nism of jeans au­tomats pow­ered by Euro­mac, Delta sends them to Euro­mac’s of­fice in China for one month so that the ma­chine’s in­ven­tors can guide and train th­ese man­power in the cor­rect di­rec­tion. Con­sid­er­ing that train­ing is a nec­es­sary ele­ment, Ru­pak con­firms, “If I in­vest in ma­chines, first I should know how to run them. I can­not de­pend on the tech­nol­ogy providers to come to our fac­tory and guide us. I have bought the ma­chines, so it's my re­spon­si­bil­ity to run them and fix them up.”

Ef­forts towards be­ing a sus­tain­able gar­ment unit are ex­em­plary

Bangladesh’ gar­ment in­dus­try is rapidly and per­pet­u­ally evolv­ing as far as sus­tain­abil­ity in the gar­ment op­er­a­tions is con­sid­ered. Be­ing a part of this evo­lu­tion, Delta is also strength­en­ing its re­spon­si­bil­i­ties towards achiev­ing sus­tain­able goals by mak­ing its gar­ments’ wash­ing eco-friendly. The wash­ing unit in Delta Den­ims has a stag­ger­ing num­ber (90) of wash­ing ma­chines

“Be­ing the top tech­nol­ogy provider in the mar­ket does not mat­ter. What mat­ters the most are the re­cent trends. Un­less and un­til you go to fairs, you re­ally don’t know what’s in the mar­ket. I went to China to at­tend some fairs and got to know that I have used every A-level ma­chines, whereas I could have cho­sen B-level too which pro­vides the same qual­ity at a much lower cost. Then I con­sulted in the mar­ket. Peo­ple who were us­ing B-level ma­chines, were quite sat­is­fied with their ef­fi­ciency. There­after, I re­con­sid­ered my bud­get to bring the cost down,” says Ru­pak Chakraborty.

in­clud­ing renowned Yil­mak (Rain For­est), Tonello and Jeanolo­gia. “I be­lieve I can­not buy ev­ery­thing that is best. But I bought best in jeans wash­ing as be­fore wash­ing, jeans is just a dead in­digo fab­ric. Qual­ity of a bad denim fab­ric can be en­hanced if treated on the right ma­chine,” shares the young Di­rec­tor (Mar­ket­ing & Op­er­a­tions).

It is per­ti­nent to men­tion here that the wa­ter and colour ra­tio in Delta Den­ims is 1:3 as com­pared that of 1:6 in other denim fac­to­ries in Bangladesh. “We have wash­ing floors which are al­most dry and this puts a stamp on our ef­forts towards sus­tain­abil­ity,” speaks Ru­pak proudly.

The Delta Group is aim­ing to be­come a US $ 300 mil­lion Group by 2019 and it be­lieves that, by 2021, it will touch US $ 500 mil­lion turnover.

Fur­ther­more, the fab­ric wastage in Delta is col­lected at a cen­tralised place only to burn it and con­vert it into steam. This steam is then reused for gar­ment dye­ing and pro­cess­ing. “We know how to make the best out of waste and this is help­ing us to re­cy­cle the wastage, thereby, sav­ing cost to a great ex­tent,” in­forms Ru­pak.

Projects in pipe­line

Since Delta Den­ims is plan­ning to be­come fully op­er­a­tional in June 2018, a few of the op­er­a­tions which were not in the pipe­line to be car­ried out be­fore are now be­ing given their due fo­cus. On top of th­ese op­er­a­tions is the fin­ish­ing di­vi­sion. Delta is look­ing to buy tun­nel fin­ish­ing ma­chines from China by June. Also, it is es­tab­lish­ing 36 lines of shirts and Ru­pak is in talk for the same with MAICA, the Ital­ian pi­o­neer in shirts’ au­to­ma­tion and Ngai Shing, China’s shirt fin­ish­ing giant. “With so many tech­nolo­gies and so many brands, we are proud to claim that we are gen­er­at­ing a good busi­ness for us as well as for the tech­nol­ogy providers,” avers Ru­pak.

Spread in a mas­sive area of 2,56,332 square feet, in­clud­ing two 6-storeyed, one 5-storeyed and one 3-storeyed build­ing, the Delta group is aim­ing to be­come a US $ 300 mil­lion group by 2019 and it be­lieves, by 2021, that it will touch US $ 500 mil­lion turnover.

“To­day our gar­ment busi­ness stands at US $ 110 mil­lion and we are pro­pel­ling it to clock more than US $ 350 mil­lion fig­ure by next 3 years,” con­cludes the young Di­rec­tor con­fi­dently.

The Delta Group team vis­ited the Ngai Shing booth dur­ing Gar­mentech ’18 as it looks to di­ver­sify in shirt man­u­fac­tur­ing

Delta has in­stalled laun­dry ma­chines pow­ered by Tonello and Yil­mak

Engineer A.K.M. Faruque Ahamed (L), Chair­man and Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor with Ru­pak Chakraborty, Di­rec­tor (Op­er­a­tions & Mar­ket­ing), The Delta Group

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