‘SL needs national program on apparel sector automation’ | Sunday Observer

‘SL needs national program on apparel sector automation’

A section of the audience at the conference. PIC: CHAMINDA NIROSHANA
A section of the audience at the conference. PIC: CHAMINDA NIROSHANA

Sri Lanka does not have any national movement on apparel sector automation and this will hamper the industry progress in the long run. A national program completely focused on apparel sector automation will be required for the country to be competitive in the global market, an industry expert said.

The key challenges of the apparel industry in Sri Lanka will be labour shortage that will result in higher cost of labour and high turnaround where high mix, low volume order quantities shrink product price points. It is also evident that the mass clothing market is going down as the global market is changing. This has created some key demands of the modern customers such as customization, high-end quality, speed and impact and sustainability awareness, Centre for Excellence for Robotic Applications CEO Dr. Ashan Amarasinghe said.

The Apparel Industry Suppliers Exhibition (AISEX) and the Fabric & Accessories Suppliers Exhibition (FASE) which concluded yesterday at the Sirimavo Bandaranaike Memorial Exhibition Center at BMICH conducted a conference for the first time under the theme ‘Helping local brands & manufactures compete in the South Asian Region’ held alongside the exhibition at the BMICH.

“The challenges faced by the solution providers, retailers, producers and manufacturers in the apparel sector to meet this shift in mindset have led to the creation of highly integrated global demand. The production which could be categorised under mass, craft and lean is moving towards more customised process and a combination of all three methods have created the ability to manufacture tailored products at the highest quality while continually driving towards cheaper, faster and cleaner means,” he said. It is important to establish industry connectivity in the context of smart industry. The automation, customer intimacy, value chain participation, flexibility, improving quality manufacturing process, digitization, productivity and efficient use of resources will result in connectivity, he said. “There are various tool kits to carry out production optimisation. The value streams are interconnected and can not considered in isolation.

The productivity measures include output, manufacturing cost and waste. A holistic analysis of production process is important. However, it is very challenging that SMEs to go in to automation process due to the cost factor,” he said.

Held biannually since the year 1998, the 8th edition of AISEX & FASE 2018 showcased a wide range of stakeholders, big and small, focused on the development of the industry together.

The latest in fabric, accessories, cutting edge apparel related technology and productivity improvement were the focus of the conference sessions. Top Sri Lankan personalities shaping the industry and several speakers from overseas made presentations during the conference. The organisers hope that through these conference sessions the next generation of Entrepreneurs, Designers, Innovators and Trend setters were inspired while in turn inspiring current industry leaders with visions of the industry’s future.

The AISEX and FACE exhibitions were organised and managed by Lanka Exhibition & Conference Services in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Apparel Institute.

The event has secured endorsements from the Joint Apparel Association Forum, Ministry of Industry and Commerce, National Chamber of Exporters and the Sri Lanka Apparel Exporters Association. The Organisers vision is to make the bi annual event a platform and launch pad for the Industry.

Pix by Chaminda Niroshana