Bangladeshi entrepreneurs aren’t lagging behind in this age of artificial intelligence (AI). A venture named ‘Kinship AI’ has already crossed the national borders, making its way into Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia, and India. Kinship AI is a unique platform with a special chatbot, created for the management of the workers in the garments factories. It connects workers and employees to digital technology, thus adding sustainable development and transparency to a supply chain.
Kinship AI started its journey in 2016. Boutaina Faruq, the daughter of Golam Faruq (Chairman of SQ group), was trying to build a new platform to communicate directly with the workers, take their feedback and thus increase the quality of their life. They owned 5 factories in Bhaluka and Maona. Her husband Rameez Haque helped her. The result of their joint effort was the new communication platform of SQ group, an app named ‘Kutumbita’. The Kinship AI is an initiative to connect the ‘Kutumbita’ app to the global platform.
Some garment factories of the country, as well as international brands like Zilingo, have already shown their interests in the Kinship AI platform. Alvi Awal, Shahriar Rahman and Shafkat Alam joined Boutaina and Rameez in 2017. Alvi and Shahriar look after the business aspects, whereas Shafkat is currently working as the Chief Technical Officer. The company headquarter is situated at Gulshan, Dhaka. Its global activities are conducted from the Singapore office. Currently, there are 12 people working in this venture.
Alvi, the head of national operations, joined this venture after completing his studies from the USA. Rameez and Boutaina currently handle the global management of Kinship AI from Singapore. Their platform is ready to launch in several factories in Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, and India. The venture has also received funding from some big multinational companies.
Impact on the garments sector
Seema Begum (alias) works at a garments factory in Savar. She told that she can now apply for a leave of absence from her phone, through an app on her android phone. The HR representatives of the company can then immediately respond to that application.
Johan Ahmed, Deputy Chief People Officer at SQ group, has informed that they use the Kinship mobile app to easily communicate with the workers. The current user base is estimated to be around 17 thousand factory workers. This app can be used for both giving useful information and gathering their responses. It can also operate as a survey tool. It has made communication between the workforce and management a lot smoother, especially in case of reporting any harassment incident.
Kinship CEO Rameez Hoque claims it to be a unique and ultra-modern workforce management platform based on artificial intelligence.
He reports that it is currently serving 30 thousand workers across 10 factories in the country.
Shafkat Alam, the CTO, says that the use of this platform automates the office management, reducing the management cost. Kinship AI works in three different modes- Kiosk, SMS and App. Workers can respond directly through the Kiosk. The use of artificial intelligence makes tasks easier. Workers can use this platform in both Android and Feature phones.
How Kinship works
There are different modules in the Kinship platform. The easy connection module is named ‘Connect’. There is a provision of automated engagement or response in the ‘Engaged’ module. Chatbots can be used for direct surveys or polls. ‘Mobile HR’ can make human resource management easier. Information given by the users is analyzed through artificial intelligence to predict behavioral patterns of the workforce. The platform can generate forecasts of the worker’s risks, contentment, health as well as attendance.
Last year, they received funding from the Techstars’ Impact program in Austin, USA, as well as from an Omidyar network named Humanity United. Alvi further informed that the Kinship Kiosk has been implemented at two factories in GEEBEE (Savar EPZ) and Hoplun (Gazipur). A UK based company named Gain uses this platform to monitor nutrition programs in readymade garment factories. But Kinship isn’t limited to being a communication platform, it now operates as the workforce management platform of the whole garments sector.
The biggest brands in the world have taken to artificial intelligence-based platforms to head into the age of the fourth industrial revolution. A domestic venture like Kinship creates hope among entrepreneurs of our country. Responses from several big international brands have set them on a path towards success.