Apparel sector eyes new markets | Sunday Observer

Apparel sector eyes new markets

Sri Lanka’s apparel sector is positive that it could achieve the value target set for the year and is exploring the possibility of expanding its global market to meet this end.

“We are confident that we will reach the US $ 6 billion mark this year and we will make inroads into new markets. Measures will also be taken to increase export volumes in our markets. While focusing on captured markets, we will enter Japan, Australia and India in a big way to meet targets,” Managing Director DMS Garment Technologies (Pvt) Ltd., Ruvan Ratnatunga told a business meeting in Colombo last week.

Emphasising the fact that speed to market is essential to expand the customer base, he said that automation is the way forward for the apparel industry.

“The automation process has become a global phenomena and it important for the sector to adopt to this technology-driven process to take the industry to the next level. Sri Lanka should seriously explore the possibility of automating its delivery process and this will also help to overcome the skill and labour shortage in the industry,” he said.

The global apparel industry has been revolutionised by digital technology and new ways of designing clothing, such as 3D images, has taken the industry on a new path. However, data accuracy is integral to benefit from this technology, he said.

"We will be witnessing a digitally-driven supply chain shortly as the digitisation process will come into effect in the apparel industry in the near future. The 3D image will play a key role and the industry is shaping to become a technology-driven process with less human involvement.

“The country needs to focus more on widening its global reach as a revolutionised apparel industry will have a different set of needs and demands. The industry should be geared to meet these challenges and remain competitive in the global market as emerging countries such as Bangladesh, Indonesia, Thailand, India and Vietnam are having many advantages over us including cheap and excess labour. However, Sri Lanka could capitalise on its resource pool and educated workforce which has become an asset to the industry,” Ratnatunga said.

The government should take the apparel industry more seriously and support it as a means to generate foreign exchange. It should provide the industry with a policy framework and a conducive environment to move forward. It is important to be mindful of the strong competition from the new entrants in the global arena and find the means to contribute to the economic growth of the country, he said. 

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