Going all-out to do the best
DBL Group plans to double its workforce to 30,000 and raise turnover to $600 million by 2016, aiming to become a leader in the country's business domain, said its top executive.
Mohammed Abdul Jabbar, managing director of the Group, said they have devised a detailed expansion plan that will also make a visible contribution to the country's gross domestic product.
DBL Group, one of the largest 100 percent export-oriented composite knit garments and textile manufacturer in Bangladesh, began its journey in 1991 with 37 sewing machines and less than 100 people in its garments units. It now has a strong backward linkage with facilities for spinning, knitting, dyeing and finishing, garments, washing, packaging and printing.
Under the dynamic leadership of Jabbar, DBL Group now has 19 subsidiaries in areas of garments, textiles, telecommunications and ceramics, with turnover coming to around $243 million in 2012. The number of employees stands at 15,700.
"We had long-term vision. From the very beginning of our journey, we have been rigid in maintaining quality and on-time delivery. We marched forward with strong team spirit and commitment," Jabbar said.
As overseas orders started flowing in, the Group reinvested profits in setting up state-of-the-art backward linkage industries. The Group has also invested in a washing plant, printing, garment screen printing and corrugated carton factory.
Jabbar said the strong backward linkage industries have helped the Group control its quality strictly and shorten lead time, resulting in higher growth.
The Group exports apparel items to 42 countries in Europe, North America, South America, Africa and Asia and has customers such as H&M, Wal-Mart, Esprit, Puma, G-Star and Decathlon.
"We provide good quality products, at shorter lead times and at competitive prices. This helped us gain the confidence of our buyers, resulting in higher revenues," said Jabbar.
DBL Group is using trans-border financing from DEG, a member of Germany's KfW Bank Group, and International Finance Corporation to source modern capital machinery and equipment from countries like Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Greece, Scotland, US and UK, for its dye house named Colour City.
The Group is implementing the Colour City project to set up a European standard fabric and yarn dyeing-finishing project. It is also implementing DBL Ceramics, a fully automatic ceramic tiles factory, and Mawna Fashions Ltd, a 100 percent export-oriented garments sewing factory.
The Group will expand its garments and panel printing facility, spinning, knitting and accessory manufacturing in the coming months.
A European diplomat, who visited DBL factories last month, said the Group has one of the most eco-friendly facilities in the country.
Jabbar, who has a degree in computer science from the University of Texas, urged the youth of Bangladesh to be focused and committed, to think global and be ethical. They should incorporate corporate social responsibility into their business and never compromise on quality.
Jabbar, now 52, sees a bright future for Bangladesh's garment sector, provided all stakeholders are committed. The government should come up with necessary infrastructure, policy and regulatory support, he said.
"We feel, by 2025, garment exports from Bangladesh can reach $75 billion."
He said the fire at Tazreen Fashions and the collapse of the Rana Plaza building have severely affected the image of the sector. "At present we already have several challenges and the two incidents have further pushed us into crisis. Bangladesh is likely to lose lots of business contracts. The small factories will suffer the most."
“For safety and labour standards, the first requirement is awareness and mindset. To improve the safety and labour standards in the factories, we need to do a gap analysis within the factory, based on the country's legislation and buyers' standards.”