The impact of the RMG industry on our national economy has been mostly positive; at least on the surface. Implementation of relatively new technology like data science and machine learning is shifting business practices today.
The RMG sector might be in for big changes. And they might be vastly different from your expectations.
How it has worked
RMG and textile industries in Bangladesh have been mostly local in the past. They were efficient at the time, based on the nature of customer demands and buying behavior. And the production schedule matched the seasonal buying behavior of consumers of apparel in the country.
The business model has worked so far so well based mostly on the lower wage demands. The mixture of these few factors, along with many more variables created a favorable environment for textile businesses in the country. And the subcontinent by extension.
How RMG has changed
Automation brought on the biggest string of changes in the textile industry in Bangladesh. We moved on from hand sewn products to a more mechanical approach. But the dexterity of workers in operating machines remains an important factor to this day.
However, the workers are not dexterous enough it would seem. While we remained productive in comparison to our neighbors; hourly productivity remains relatively low from a global perspective. This in addition to rising wage demands and global competition is making our RMG industry less lucrative.
In addition, customer behavior is evolving. We have moved on from seasonal buying to more intermittent strings of purchases. This is driven by online presence of companies and prompt response times of platforms like Daraz or Aliexpress. We want things fast, and we want them all the time.
Factors of the next big change in RMG
Data analytics and AI is shaping the business environment and taking all business across the world in different directions. New supply chain designs based on Big Data about consumer behavior is shifting processes to a more predictive direction.
Businesses are forecasting demand patterns in consumers and filling demands before they are made. This calibrating of customer demands is affecting textile and even fashion industries by extension.
In addition, machine learning and AI is taking fashion modelling and textile demand in newer, weirder avenues. And all things point to the next big change in textile being brought on by data science and machine learning. By the way, check out this neat article on AI doing funky and potentially kinda bad stuff.