Celebrating 25 Years of Partnership | The Daily Star
12:01 AM, October 28, 2014 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:53 AM, March 08, 2015

Celebrating 25 Years of Partnership

Celebrating 25 Years of Partnership

Inaugural Address

It is a memorable day. We have a brilliant audience from the country and abroad. We are really thankful that all of you have accepted our invitation and joined us. Today we have gathered here to celebrate Coats Bangladesh's 25 years of glorious success which have been achieved through commitment, support and cooperation that we have received from all of our valued partners.

As you all know that with a rich heritage dating back to the 1750s, Coats is the world's leading industrial thread business with 20,000 employees. In its journey of more than 200 years, Coats has established its manufacturing plants in more than 70 countries and extended its business operation in over 150 countries worldwide. Coats' pioneering history and innovative culture ensures its continuous leading role around the world providing complementary and value added products and services to apparel, footwear and zip industries. It has been applying innovative and creative techniques to develop products in new areas such as aromate, tracer threads and fiber optics. We are extending our offers in new markets as well as online.

Coats Bangladesh Ltd. is a subsidiary of Coats Ltd. Uk which is recognized as most trusted and recommended thread manufacturer and market leader in supplying industrial sewing thread around the world. In 1990, Coats expanded its business horizon in Bangladesh and started its operations as Total Thread Bangladesh Ltd. In 1997, Coats Ltd. UK and Total Thread merged to form today's Coats Bangladesh Ltd. At present, Coats Bangladesh Ltd. has two state of the art manufacturing facilities in Chittagong and Dhaka with world class distributing centres in Bogra and Gazipur. Coats Bangladesh is one of the finest examples of enriched human resources with over 1500 employees. It was the pioneer in achieving ISO 9002 certificate in the textile sector. In its continuous thrive for excellence Coats Bangladesh has recently achieved ISO 9001 2000 certificate. It has also been certified for its eco-friendly products. Even the best can be better. The drive of Coats continues with focus on extending relationship with customers and ensuring enhanced product quality and valued services with every upcoming year.



Ranjan Chakhaiyar
Ranjan Chakhaiyar

Ranjan Chakhaiyar, Managing Director, Coats Bangladesh

It is a proud moment. It is a great privilege to be celebrating  our silver jubilee in Bangladesh. Coats as a company got long heritage over 250 years in the UK, over 125 years in the subcontinent and a good 25 years in young Bangladesh. In Bangladesh, the process of industrialization started somewhere in 80s. A little more than 25 years ago garments manufacturing started in Bangladesh. In1989, Total Thread and AK Khan group decided to set up this joint venture. In the  space of last ten years garments manufacturing industry has developed into almost 25 billion dollar garments exports employing over 4 million people. Now, their ambition is to move up to a $50 billion industry in the 50th year of Bangladesh's independence. It is a cherished dream for the nation and that is what really puts Bangladesh on such a good position especially for garment as well as leather and footwear industries. Coats is a good partner in this development. We like innovating and bringing products to support this kind of growth in the industry. 

About 25 years ago, this joint venture got setup and it has really flourished.  Recently we had our global leadership conference in Vietnam and the theme of the conference was "Great Partnerships Accelerating Performances". Two of the best examples of partnership were Coats Bangladesh and Coats Vietnam. We salute this spirit of partnership. We cherish strong partnership with our customers in Bangladesh. That's why we are celebrating together silver jubilee of Coats Bangladesh Ltd.  



Paul Forman
Paul Forman

Paul Forman, CEO, Coats plc

One of the values we have in Coats is openness and honesty. I was visiting our North American Operation and a lady who came up to me and said you know that you look so much better in real life than you do in video. You can tell that culture lives in breathes.

I like to tell a bit about Coats and what have been achieved through this fantastic 25 years of partnership. I would also like to talk about how we see some of the trends in the next 5 or 10 years. Coats is a big company but not lot of people know about it. We operate in 150 odd countries. We have covered four-fifth of world contractors and four-fifth of world brands. We have revenue of $1.7 billion. We serve those customers through 27 million individual transactions on 48-72 hours lead time basis and through over 70 factories and over 100 warehouses.

One of the good things about being part of Coats is that if you ever do some sort of conversation which I regularly am then you can actually sight some of the very interesting facts that really take the breath away. For instance we make enough thread in every three and half hours to go to the moon and come back on the earth. And another way of putting which might slightly easy to understand is that in every 11 minutes we make enough thread to circle the equator. So quite breathe taking statistics.

There are lots of interesting statistics for those aware of historical bent. Thomas Edison used our thread in the first light bulb. But most interesting and relevant statistics is that we are the second largest global manufacturer of zips in the world and we are the fastest growing one. It is our privilege to serve many leading global brands.

We are a critical component of fiber optic cables. If you have heart surgery there is very good chance of we holding your chest together. So be nice to us. And we also cover things like accessories. So it is a very wide range of products. That's the Coats commercial break. Let's talk a bit about what has been achieved in these 25 years. What is Coats Bangladesh Ltd?  It was previously called Total Thread and Coats bought it in 1990. Our joint venture started on October 21, 1989.We have two manufacturing sites: one here in Gazipur and one in Chittagong. We have wide range of products, some of which are unparallel in the market. Now, we have flame retirement thread. So we have thread you can use in fireman protections. We have high elongation thread which is useful either in sports equipments or jeans.

How Coats Bangladesh Ltd. has done in the last 25 years? You can see our growth has been very significant in the last 10 years. We have tripled in size. As Ranjan mentioned we have over 1500 employees. Health and safety for us is vital. It is our number one priority. The fact that Coats Bangladesh has been recognized with health and safety award due to the fact that it went 5 million man hours without any accident. You can not just do it through process. You have to do that through mindset and I have talked with several brands in Bangladesh and they all recognize that mindset is changing throughout the industry. If Coats Bangladesh can do it then there is no reason why whole Bangladesh garments industry can not move towards those standards.

We have employee engagement survey on global basis. We asked every single one of the 20,000 people how happy they are to be in Coats and what make them even happier. We have roughly 95 per cent response rate. Coats Bangladesh is in the top 4 -5% of all manufacturing companies in the world.

What we see as important in the industry for the next 5 years: productivity and cost efficiency. The reality is that pricing that we achieved from the customers will go up less than cost. That is the uncomfortable but true reality. The only way therefore we can grow profitability is through increasing productivity and that is the challenge which this industry is facing increasingly.

Now if we look into supply and demand trends we will see Bangladesh is in the southeastern hotspot. Vietnam and Indonesia are equally well positioned.  I think Cambodia and Myanmar will be the next wave.

So, Bangladesh is one of our priorities. We are the first component supplier in Bangladesh. And Bangladesh is one of first countries where we have introduced supply code. This is a device by which we can check four categories such as compliance, environment, rights and safety. It is to ensure that our suppliers do the right things and thereby providing security for our customers that there is no weak link in the chain.

In the age of information, internet is becoming increasingly important for our business. There are three key elements in the digital state of our business. First is our portal that is the source of information. We started it less than 2 years ago and now we are getting 50,000 heats in a month. It is the most widely used and most content rich source of information. We have free advice and FAQ. It is really exciting.

We have e-commerce service that means if any customer orders any product it directly goes to our manufacturing process. It will save huge time. It also keeps digital record of information. So there is efficiency throughout the supply chain. Another successful digital venture is Coats Colour Express that can automatically match colours in labs. It reduces lead time by 75%.

Another notable improvement is our services. We now have an advisory business called Coats Global Services. It is working with companies to enhance their productivity. Now, we can help people who can source new market.

The great thing is that we have chosen to invest in Bangladesh. Within six months, we are going to produce zips in Bangladesh for the first time in the history. Why is it? We are the number two in zips and Bangladesh is the number two market for zips. We are building our strength. So Coats' optic zips are coming to Bangladesh.

What we always prefer is stakeholder management. Please keep telling us what can we do to be the market leader and valued and indispensable business partner. I am personally privileged for last four years with the opportunity of working with two Mr. Khans.  It has been a fantastic relationship and a model relationship. Thank you very much for that.


Salahuddin Kasem Khan
Salahuddin Kasem Khan

Salahuddin Kasem Khan, Chairman, Coats Bangladesh

It is a moment of great pride for us to celebrate silver jubilee of Coats Bangladesh Ltd. I recall the first board meeting of the company was held in Sonargaon Hotel and our founder Chairman AK Khan presided over the meeting. Indeed our relationship has been generational. 25 years is a long time but in the context of 250 years of Coats plc it is only about 10 percent of that time. However Coats being a global leader in thread and the second largest and fastest growing zip company in the world we are really privileged to have been here. Coats' commitment to set up zip factory in Bangladesh is their commitment to long term growth of Bangladesh's RMG sector.  We are extremely pleased that not only Bangladesh but also Coats Vietnam is also celebrating its 25th anniversary. This shows that Coats have been able to have long term partnerships. 

We believe that a successful partnership will be built on the principal of transparency, integrity and mutual respects. We personally see these are the areas of strength of Coats. It has been able to develop a world class management team that has brought Coats Bangladesh the 4th best position in the business group.

Congratulations to managing director of Coats Bangladesh and his dynamic team. Today I must thank Paul Forman for being here in Bangladesh within his first quarter of appointment as CEO in January 2010.  Previously, it took many years to see a group CEO but here we have Paul Forman. This gives you a lot of confidence within your buyers and to your supply chain people particularly people who are working for Coats plc. So thank you Mr. Paul Foreman for making that effort to be in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh is nearly self sufficient in neat fabric. But there is a huge gap in oven sector. We can supply 40% of the need of the RMG sector. We are looking very seriously into more downstream activities in the textile sector. Tonight I would like to thank all of our customers and supply chain partners who are building the industrial future of our nation that provide largest employment for the country people.

We need to accelerate our GDP growth to 8 per cent plus to reach middle income status. This will happen only if we can increase our overall investment from 25% to 35% by 2015. To close this gap Bangladesh has to attract huge FDI. AK Khan Group has been trying since '80s to bring FDI in Bangladesh. Till today, we have been able to attract over $400 million through FDI. Our target is to attract another $600 million FDI.

Our strategy is to tie up with multi national companies to access global market. We are extremely pleased that you are setting up state of the art zip factory in Chittagong which will facilitate Bangladesh's RMG sector as well as footwear industry. I hope it will open in 2015.

This is a great milestone to inaugurate 25th Anniversary of Coats Bangladesh Ltd. It also demonstrates long term commitment of Coats plc. to Bangladesh. 25 years is a long time but we like to see Coats for more 25 years.

I will end up with words of Roman historian Ptolemy. Thousand years ago he complained that citizens of Rome had been spending all their gold for importing Muslin from Bengal. Today BGMEA's annual export creates same kind of environment after thousand years. Thanks to the RMG leaders. I hope Bangladesh will become a middle income country by 2021 and a developed one before 2050. The RMG and garments will be the spearhead of this transformation. Let us all work together towards this goal.


Zulfikar Hyder
Zulfikar Hyder

Zulfikar Hyder , Director,  Human Resource , Coats Bangladesh

I,on behalf of the management committee of Coats Bangladesh Ltd., extend a heartfelt vote of thanks to all of our guests for their kind presence. My heartfelt thanks to all dignitaries present here for making their time out to be with us today. My special gratitude to our industry leaders, our valued customers and higher government officials who have taken the trouble to join us today to honour the celebration of 25 years of Coats Bangladesh Ltd. I must pay our deep sense of appreciation to Paul Forman, Group CEO of Coats plc. who came all the way to host this occasion and extend all his cooperation and support to make this event a success. Our special thanks to Rajiv Sharma, CEO, Industrial Division for being here to grace the occasion.

I would also like to express our deep gratitude to our board Chairman Salahuddin Kasem Khan for his valuable speech and other board members A.K Shamsuddin Khan, Ashoke Mathore and  Anil Dais for being here and support us to make this event a great success.

Our special thanks to Ms. Runa Laila for making this evening precious and memorable with her spectacular performance. Ms. Azra Mahmood and her team deserve a special mention to stage the fashion show to grace the occasion tonight. I thank all the media personnel, both electronic and print media,  to cover the programme and carry out the message of celebration to public at large. I want also to thank Radisson Hotel authority for their all out support. I would like to place on record my gratitude to our MD and all the members of the managing committee, without whose help and guidance this evening would not have been possible to be implemented. I would like to express my deep gratitude to all my colleagues who worked day and night to make this programme successful. I appreciate the support we received from our agency the Creative Communications Ltd. who worked together with us to make the celebration programme a great success. Well done and congratulation to the entire team. Thank you all.

The entire programme was organized and managed by Director and Event Consultant Ms. Bilkis Mansoor and her team from Creative Communication Ltd.

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