Pakistani textile and garment SMEs.

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Dilawar Khan

Pakistani textile and garment SMEs have to be smart enough to survive in competitive business environment. Competition does mean within the country rather their competition is with other countries of the world. As I observed owners of SMEs are operating their business in a very casual way and on ad hoc basis. They don’t even try to reduce their unnecessary expenses in the factories. To cope with the needs of the time, Owners of small garment and textile industry should get professional training on business process and operations.

Generally these business owner don’t spare their time to design efficient and effective operational layout. Most of the factories and operations have been designed inappropriately and they waste both energy and time of their workers. For example in some factories I noticed workers are bringing fabric rolls from third floor to ground floor on their shoulders for cutting purpose. Likewise some other common issues are inappropriate storage of material and machine sequence.

Core production process (cut to pack) is handed over to third party contractors and workers of these third party production contractors are generally much undisciplined in terms of time management and cleanliness at workplace. Workers think that we are not time based employees therefore we don’t have to come in the factory on time. Every day each worker wastes approximately 50 to 60 minutes on average. Time is wasted at the time of shift start, tea breaks, lunch breaks and at time of leaving the workplace. Hence a factory of 250 workers daily wastes approximated 250 man hours and they have to do work in overtime.

Owners of the garment and textile SMEs do not fully concentrate on Human Resource Management. Employees/workers’ knowledge and competency is not checked at the time of hiring, very few SMEs provide ongoing training and do performance appraisal and management. In short, I can say that there are very limited relations of employers and employees. This results in less involvement of the workers in business processes and high turnover rate. Therefore SMEs unconsciously not able to retain productive employees/work force.

Another area, which is ignored by most of the SMEs, is occupational safety & health at workplace. Productivity and efficiency cannot be achieved at unhealthy workplace environment. In most of the SMEs following occupational safety & health issues exist.

1.            Lack of proper ventilation

2.            Unhygienic drinking water

3.            Unhygienic toilets facilities

4.            Electric shock risk

5.            Falling hazards

6.            Open moving belts and chains on machines

7.            Dust and fumes

8.            Chemical exposure

9.            Ergonomic like elbow height, back seat rest, anti-fatigue mats

10.          Others 

Following recommendation can be considered to survive in global competitive business environment.

1.            Owners of SMEs should attend training on productivity and cost reduction and keep themselves updated on modern business needs and customer expectations.

2.            SME should hire at least one industrial engineer to design appropriate operational sequence

3.            Established proper HR and employees’ relations department to ensure hiring of right person for right job and to retain skilled and productive work force.

4.            Get help of occupational safety & health consultants to conduct occupational safety & health risk assessment and provide training on safety requirements.

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