International Conference on the Apparal Industry from 7th Feb to 9th Feb

Productivity Improvement, disruptive innovation and leadership of  the Apparal Industry will be discussed in its International Conference held in Colombo from 7th Feb to 9th of Feb.

It is organized by Monash University, Australia with the support of a number of local organisations and sponsors.

It is a collaborative effort of Monash Business School, Monash University, Australia, Joint Apparel Association Forum (Sri Lanka), WMG, University of Warwick (UK), University of Moratuwa (Sri Lanka); Postgraduate Institute of Management (PIM), University of Sri Jayewardenepura (Sri Lanka); University of Dhaka (Bangladesh); Institute for Manufacturing, Centre for Industrial Sustainability, University of Cambridge (UK); and Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.

Globally, 60 million people are employed in the apparel or garment industry, with around 15 million employed (largely women) in factories located in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.  

Asian manufacturers supply a very large proportion of the garments imported by retailers in developed countries.

Competitive advantage for the Asian apparel industry has been primarily based on cheaper inputs, low cost production due to cheap labour and strong traditional skill base.  However, this is beginning to shift to now developing a competitive advantage based on rapid responsiveness to meeting specific customer needs, high levels of productivity and innovation capability.

Productivity improvements, disruptive innovation, effective leadership, sustainability and ethical production have become key concerns not only for manufacturers and their major global customers but also for other stakeholders involved with the apparel industry including governments, NGOs, investors, logistics and supply chain solution providers and other members of the global apparel supply chain.

Transformation of the Asian apparel industry is crucial for it to move up the value chain by incorporating more value-added activities in terms of front-end design, research and development, etc.  The application of advanced manufacturing, communication and supply chain technologies is essential for the future.  The apparel industry needs to recognise the challenges and opportunities with respect to ‘Industry 4.0’ and what the industry will look like in 10 years’ time.

This conference is designed to bring together researchers, practitioners (retail executives, manufacturing executives and first/second tier suppliers) and policy-makers from around the world to focus on the following topics (among many other topics):

Day one of the conference (Wednesday, 7th February 2018), was held at the Cinnamon Lakeside Colombo, with four main sessions including  Current status of the global apparel value chains and productivity improvement, maintaining productivity and agility (customer responsiveness and business model agility) in a digitized world and case examples as well. 

It was enriched with panel discussions and presenters included Prof. Jan Godsell, WMG (Warwick Manufacturing Group), UK; Mr. Faruqur Hassan, Senior VP, Bangladesh Apparel Manufacturers and Exporters Association; and Mr Shakthi Ranatunga, Director - Group Human Resources, MAS Holdings, Sri Lanka, Ms Vidiya Amrit Khan, Director – Desh Group of Companies, Bangladesh; Mr Felix A. Fernando, Chief Executive Officer / Director of Alpha Apparels Ltd. and Sirio Ltd. and Director - Omega Line Group; Ms Mariella Noto, Linking Threads, The Netherlands; Ms Sharika Senanayake, Director of Sustainability, MAS Holdings and Mr Suneth De Silva, Central Sustainability Team, MAS Holdings; and Mr Rajesh Paramjeet Jain, Principle Associate, TATSAT VENTURES, Advisor, National Handloom Development Corporation, Ex-CEO, Biba Apparels Pvt Ltd., India.

Mr Dai Forterre, Australia Post and Politecnico di Milano; Mr Samath Fernando, Chief Information Officer, Hirdaramani Group; Prof. Shibli R Islam, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh; Prof. Edward Buckingham, Monash Business School, Monash University, Dr Mark Johnson, Warwick Business School, UK; Ms Sadaf Saaz Siddiqi, Director, Eske Clothing Limited, Bangladesh and Mr Ishan Dantanarayana, Group Chief People Officer, BRANDIX, Sri Lanka participated as panelists for panel discussions. 

Day three of the conference will be filled out with the same excitement, tomorrow (on 9th).

Further details on the conference including registration details can be found at:

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