Technology upgradation in the apparel industry is absolutely crucial to remain competitive in the global market, said Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) President Faruque Hassan.
"Use of modern technologies, tools, and software are predominant when it comes to enhancing productivity and quality," he said while speaking at a webinar titled "AI & Robotics: Global Implication of Artificial Intelligence" on Sunday (14 November).
Other panelists in the discussion were - Ariyan M Kabir, co-founder and CEO, GrayMatter Robotics Inc; Professor Dr Genci Capi from Hosei University, Japan; and Dr Patrick Meier, co-founder and CEO of WeRobotics. Professor Dr Lafifa Jamal from the Department of Robotics and Mechatronics Engineering, University of Dhaka moderated the session.
The webinar was organised as a part of the World Congress on Information Technology (WCIT) which was held from 11-14 November in Dhaka with the participation of experts from more than 75 countries.
In his address, Faruque Hassan said technological innovations are imperative not only to enhance competitiveness but also to make business sustainable.
"There is no alternative to technologies to ensure sustainable use of water, energy and other resources. Sustainability and digitalization are interlinked and greatly complements each other," he said.
He also said that automation and technology up-gradation would not impact employment adversely because all the processes required to make a garment cannot be replaced by machines.
"Rather we see this as an opportunity as if we can improve efficiency and cost competitiveness, and reduce lead time through the use of technologies, we will certainly have more business, which means more employment," he added.
The BGMEA president further said: "We should train our people with the right skills to operate new generation technologies. We need to turn the challenge into opportunity through re-skilling and up-skilling of our workforce. This will enable our industry to be more competitive, and allow more quality jobs."