With the reopening of major clothing retailers and brands in the EU and US, the inflow of work orders at Bangladesh garment factories has been on the rise, albeit on a limited scale. Most of the local factory owners are running at 80 per cent capacity as buyers are coming back with work orders. Large units have been receiving a handsome volume of work orders but the country's small and medium apparel companies are still suffering. There is a nearly 30 per cent gap in receiving work orders this year compared to last year, says KM Rezaul Hasanat, Chairman and CEO, Viyellatex Group, a leading garment exporter. The volume of confirmed work orders is likely to further reduce from September, said MA Jabbar, managing director of DBL Group, another leading garment exporter.
However, suppliers sending garment shipments to Germany faced less order cancellations in March, April and May. There is also a steady inflow of work orders to their factories even amid the Covid-19 pandemic as the German economy has been comparatively less affected by the virus till date.
Mahmud Hasan Khan Babu, Managing Director, Rising Group, said he has an adequate number of work orders for knitwear items but in case of woven items, he could not take orders because he needed to import fabrics, mainly from China. So currently, he can execute 85 per cent of knitwear orders and use 60 per cent of the capacity for woven, Babu said.
KI Hossain, President. Bangladesh Garment Buying House Association, said local buying houses were facing a crisis of work orders as most retailers and brands did not prefer to travel to factories or hold meetings either virtually or any other third destination, except Bangladesh.