The Team Group, a leading apparel maker in the country, has managed to increase its production up to 12% with a digital solution called 'Nidle' that comes with a compact manufacturing execution system.
Bangladesh, despite being the world's second-largest apparel exporter, has one of the lowest productivity rates among apparel-exporting countries and such a solution can be a game changer for the industry.
Using this smart solution, factories can track, optimise, and digitise their operations in a real-time dashboard, from any location, to enhance efficiency and quality, and reduce production waste.
Abdullah Hil Rakib, managing director of Team Group, said, "Factories in Bangladesh usually follow manual systems for assessing the productivity of workers. As a result, supervisors have the scope to manipulate the productivity data of workers and they often get involved in nepotism to determine workers' salary grades."
"Moreover, the manual data shared by supervisors does not provide any in-depth line-wise information, which is a major hurdle for a factory in achieving optimum production and quality targets on time," he said.
By digitising the process, Nidle has solved the said problems while improving the productivity, efficiency and transparency of the apparel factories of the Team Group, said the managing director.
"In Nidle, we have inserted IoT devices [computing devices with the ability to process and transmit data wirelessly] in each sewing machine from where we get real-time data regarding the productivity of the workers and the production line's bottle-neck related critical information without any human intervention," Abdullah Hil Rakib said.
"Nidle allowed us not to depend on the manual data for understanding the skills matrix of workers. It also enabled us to transparently find out who are the skilled workers and provide them with higher salaries while organising training for the unskilled ones," Rakib added.
The Team Group first piloted Nidle in its LEED Platinum-rated outerwear manufacturing unit 4A Yarn Dyeing Ltd in 2020. Nidle contributed to increasing the efficiency of 4A Yarn Dyeing Ltd by 10% to 12%. Subsequently, Team has also been implementing the solution among other apparel concerns of the group.
In the production floors of RMG factories, each line requires a dedicated input man to ensure on-time raw materials into the sewing lines. This manual process wastes at least 3-4 hours per input man per day just for moving across different sections to get things done on time.
Production managers and industrial engineers strive to achieve line-wise productivity targets while maintaining quality and it becomes difficult for them to achieve the targets due to a lack of real-time information.
In 4A Yarn Dyeing Ltd, input men submit the material requisition into the Intelligent Input Management System of Nidle. According to the inputs, respective sections (cutting and warehouse) receive the requirements and prepare bundles for input men. With the Intelligent Traffic Light System of Nidle, input men can track whether the materials are ready for pick up.
The system also generates an auto alert and escalates to the production manager in case the materials are not provided to input men on time. The system helps Quality Control (QC) managers and production managers to track the production output along with defects and reworks. A live hit-map of the system helps the quality manager to identify the processes which are producing defective outputs.
Thus, the solution helps the production manager to track floor capacity vs productivity on a real-time basis, which makes the decision-making process much more efficient.
"As we have benefited from the solution, we do not want to hold it among ourselves only. We want to spread this device across the industry," said Abdullah Hil Rakib, who is also director in-charge of the recently launched BGMEA Innovation Centre.
"In the face of upcoming challenges, the RMG industry will not be sustainable in the long run without a pragmatic solution like Nidle. The industry needs new innovation to enhance productivity and efficiency to survive in the competitive landscape and challenges of technology disruption," Rakib added.
Team Group's IT concern, Intellier Limited, has already taken an initiative to commercially distribute Nidle in the apparel industry of Bangladesh.