Three organisations have undertaken a project to increase the productivity of garment factories in Bangladesh by at least 15% in only one and a half years by ensuring professional protection, health and skill development of workers.
The project, "Network to Integrate Productivity and Occupational Safety and Health Improvements (NIPOSH)", was launched on Monday.
BGMEA, the apex body of ready-made garment owners, Ahsan Ullah University of Science and Technology (AUST) and the University of Southern Denmark, in collaboration with the Danish Embassy, are implementing the project.
In order to keep pace with the world and survive in the long run, garment factories should focus most on raising productivity, according to people engaged in the project.
Moreover, ensuring skill development and professional protection of workers is a great tool to increase productivity, they noted.
"We have already collected a lot of information about it and are analysing where the problems actually lie. We will work on these now," said the Project Leader, Professor Sarwar Morshed.
"By implementing our guidelines, it is possible to increase productivity by at least 15%, which will help to take us another step towards sustainable productivity."
However, the good intentions of and participation by the top management of each factory are essential in this respect, Sarwar sounded the caveat.
Already the project work has started before its inauguration. A network of 20-30 factories has already been built.
However, the project will cover factories listed with the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA).
Other activities of the project include training of workers, imparting experience of one factory to another through networking, determining how much skill development is useful, and giving ideas about new innovations.
Speaking as the chief guest, Winnie Estrup Petersen, ambassador of Denmark in Bangladesh, said it is a necessity to ensure the professional safety of workers.
"We need to accelerate productivity along with the ongoing work for green productivity and economic growth. It is also required to develop new varieties of products."
BGMEA President Dr Rubana Huq said Bangladesh has done a lot in the last five years to improve the working environment and create environment friendly factories. "But, sadly, we lag behind in terms of productivity and innovation."
Increasing productivity by ensuring workplace safety and health protection to workers amid Covid pandemic is a big challenge, she stated.
Dr Rubana Huq said BGMEA is working on new product development. To attain sustainability, the entire garment sector must work alongside BGMEA.
She emphasised the need for cooperation from apparel buyers and the government too.