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Special series : Bangladesh

Special series : Bangladesh
The management strategy for the next 25 years is
reviewed every 5 years.
Targeting the nurturing of multi-skilled operators.

The Cotton Group:
Director & CEO, Mr. M. M. Rahman
Executive Director, Mr. Mir Azizul Karim
Vice President, Mr. Paresh Chandra Debsharma
“The sewing machines from JUKI are the most suitable machines for our plant. We are looking forward to the next ten years as being a WIN-WIN period for both us and JUKI to grow.” Says Mr. M. M. Rahman, director and CEO.
“The sewing machines from JUKI are the most suitable machines for our plant. We are looking forward to the next ten years as being a WIN-WIN period for both us and JUKI to grow.” Says Mr. M. M. Rahman, director and CEO.

Mr. Mir Azizul Karim, Executive Director.
Mr. Mir Azizul Karim, Executive Director.

Mr. Paresh Chandra Debsharma, Vice President.
Mr. Paresh Chandra Debsharma, Vice President.

Front view of the plant.
Front view of the plant.

The spacious plant is well illuminated and clean, and a comfortable working  environment has been created by the introduction of a water cooler system.
The spacious plant is well illuminated and clean, and a comfortable working environment has been created by the introduction of a water cooler system.

Sewing machines are 100% JUKI, mainly consisting of the overlock machines.
Sewing machines are 100% JUKI, mainly consisting of the overlock machines.

High speed cylinder-bed 3- needle top and bottom coverstitch machine, the MF-7823.
High speed cylinder-bed 3- needle top and bottom coverstitch machine, the MF-7823.

High speed 2-needle overlock machine, the MO-6714S.
High speed 2-needle overlock machine, the MO-6714S.
The company started with 32 sets of imported sewing machines.
They export 100% of their products, with 60% going to Germany.


“In Bangladesh, the industry for sewn products, knit products in particular, is very active, and the competition among knit sewing plants is getting stronger and stronger. We consider “quality” to be the strength in winning against such stiff competition, and we intend to thoroughly pursue the improvement of our technical capabilities. Operator training is one of the efforts along that line.” says Mr. M. M. Rahman, CEO of the COTTON GROUP.
Our current plant has a floor space of 75,000 m2. The ground floor is used for cutting and finishing processes, and the first floor is used for sewing. A total of 3,000 people are working in the building. Because the shop is getting too crowded, an additional plant is being constructed next door.
This company was established in 1991, having started as a small plant called Cotton N. Cotton Garments Industries in the northern part of Dhaka. There were only 32 sewing machines. “In those days, there was no JUKI distributor in Bangladesh, so we bought the machines from a distributor in India. After that, when the machines reached 400 sets or so, we needed more space and moved to our current location in Mymensingh.”
The plant manufactures knit products, and they make fashion T shirts, polo rugby shirts, trainer sports wear, wind breakers and parkas in addition to standard T shirts. They export 100% of their output.
The biggest export customer is Germany (60%), followed by France (20%), Switzerland (10%) and Canada (10%). While there was almost no export business to the USA in the early stage, the company eventually started to receive orders from Wal-mart and other customers in the USA. The company expects that their exports to the USA will grow in the future.
When a business grows and competition gets stiff, securing manpower, highly skilled operators in particular, is indispensable. Fortunately, the turnover rate is 2~3% per month in this company. That means more experienced operators are staying,resulting in accumulated technical capabilities.


The company employs a fixed salary system, but the salary increases along with the skill level.
New employees go through a six-month training period.


It is said that the industry average for turnover rate is 20%. One of the reasons for the low turnover rate for this company is a salary system that is unique to this company. The salary system is linked to the skill level, which is a great idea for enhancing the motivation of the employees.
New employees go through a six-month training period. During the first three months, their monthly salary is 1,200 taka. When they learn techniques that are at a level high enough to be able to provide assistance in the production line, the salary will be raised to 1,800 taka. This stage continues for six months. After nine months, the salary will be determined based on the capabilities of each individual.
The basis for calculating the salary level is a unique point system which is linked to the difficulty level of the work. The salary of an operator is determined by taking such points according to his/her assignment into consideration.
“It is also important for the operator to learn higher skill levels and strive for more difficult work. We are providing a system where by the operators will be motivated to acquire higher skill levels.” Says Mr. Mir Azizul Karim, Executive Director in charge of operation.
An operator will advance starting from a trainee to average skill operator, skilled operator, multi-skilled operator and supervisor according to his/her skill level. A multiskilled operator who can handle multiple processes will earn 4,000 taka a month. It is the goal for most operators.
Because of such a salary system, operators generally make an effort to stay with the company on a long term basis to acquire skills and earn a higher salary. Currently, our total operators consist of 30% multi-skilled operators, 20% skilled level operators, 30% average operators and 20% trainees. Some of them have over ten years of experience. The system is benefiting both the company and the operators.


The new plant will be expanded floor by floor until 2010.
The company is aiming to be an integrated knit production plant.


The current production line is situated such a way that a high skill level can be recognized, with a line consisting of 34 sewing machines with two supervisors, two QC personnel and one manager.
The company is constructing a new plant next to the existing one. But they are not in any hurry. “Our target is to add floor by floor until 2010 with the eventual goal of an eight storied building. The ground floor will be a knitting plant, the first floor will be a print plant, the second to the fourth floors will be a cutting and sewing plant, and the fifth to the seventh floor will be a spinning and dyeing plant.” According to Mr. Paresh Chandra Debsharma, vice president of the company.
Now our monthly output is 1 million 200 thousand pieces. When the new plant is completed, the monthly output will be increased to 2 million pieces due to additional exports to the USA. When the new plant is completed, the company will become an integrated manufacturer covering from material to end products.
“It is important for a plant to grow steadily. And for that purpose, the key word is honesty”. It is more important to sustain a steady growth over a period of time rather than making a rapid growth. We are implementing a method whereby the management of the company is planned for the next 25 years and to review the plan every five years. During the next 25 years, we would like to continue our growth on a WIN-WIN basis with JUKI.” Says Mr. Rahman.
As they used the word “honesty”, the company is strictly complying with the requirements for “no child labor”, “ergonomic working environment” and “sanitation for staff and workers according to ISO standards”. The company, it would appear, is a good place to work for its employees.

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